Critically acclaimed musician and writer Andy Mort – aka Atlum Schema is many things, but he's not an extrovert.
Creative Commons (CC) by Dave Shearn
Like Albert Einstein, the composer Chopin, Mahatma Gandhi, and the author J.K. Rowling Andy Mort is an introvert, someone who, rather than gaining energy from social interaction, finds the experience of mixing with others quite draining.
Their counterparts are ‘extroverts’ - people who get energy from spending time with others, who are generally considered ‘outgoing’ and often ‘the life and soul of the party’.
But Andy says that rather than being a negative personality trait, which just requires ‘being brave’ to get through, introverted people should be encouraged to be who they are – not forced into trying to be like others.
The critically acclaimed musician and writer said: “I’ve only really realised that I’m an introvert in the last year or two, but I think that really does describe me.
“There’s a lot of things growing up where you think that you’re just being shy – that you’re not quite how you should be.
“Sometimes you feel you need to put on a bit of a face.
“I think that extroversion is probably by nature prioritised because it’s more in your face, so people who are there are going to be noticed, but I think that the issue of introversion is becoming more understood, there’s a lot of people writing about it.
“Growing up I was often considered shy, I would sit there and just let stuff happen around me in the room but it was not because I was shy, but it was my way of responding to things.
“I think that shyness and self-confidence can stem from other things, but can get confused with introversion.
“We’re all social beings as humans, and it’s really important that we don’t define ourselves by those sorts of labels, like ‘I’m an introvert so I should behave in this way’ it’s all about how you re-energise and how you manage to cope with the stimuli of the world, so for parents knowing your kids and knowing how they do that is important. “
Although many introverts prefer to keep out of the public glare, occasionally artists like Andy are compelled into the spotlight because of the nature of their work.
As well as a series of albums Andy has recently released a novel – the themes of which express many of the internal struggles he has experienced.
He said: “I wrote a book to go with the last album, four seasons of an album and a novel.
“I was scared to release a novel on its own, because it was the first time I’d done that, so I thought, hide behind the music and push it out there, and see what people think.
“I am a tucked away person, I’m a hider. I have no idea what makes me do such public work, but I love creating, I love performing as well.
Everyone is an artist, everyone is creative, but sometimes that’s something that gets pushed out of us as we grow up.
“I found writing the book quite therapeutic, at the time I was living with my brother and sister in law and their two year old, and I had this shed in the garden which was my space to hide away from a the chaos, and I would go out there every morning and type away.
“It’s about an artist who is kind of struggling with what art is, and why he should be doing that sort of stuff, should he be working, doing something more valuable, that sort of thing - it’s the story of him working through that, and some other stuff happens, but that’s the under pinning theme.
“I think that my work generally comes from a place of searching myself and the hypocrisies I see in myself and in other people."
Andy's work and his regular blog can all be found on his website.
September 10th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross