The Introvert’s Hangover™

Before I get yammering here, please wish my good wife and the only person left in the world who laughs at my jokes, a happy birthday. She is XX years old.

I woke up last Sunday morning feeling a little tired and cranky. This was not my usual fifteen minutes of moving my joints and brain enough to turn on the coffee pot, but a deeper fatigue, almost exhaustion. If I were still a drinking man, I would have put it down to excess, but a glass or two of wine is the extent of my dissolution these days.

It wasn’t until Anne asked me how Crime Wave went that I realized what I had was the Introvert’s Hangover™.

If you’re not familiar with it, Crime Wave is Maine’s annual writing conference devoted to crime, suspense, and mystery fiction, with panels, interviews, and a good deal of schmoozing. It was staged in Portland on June 11, spanning an entire Saturday, and for many of us, was the first  large scale in-person event we’ve been to in two years or more. You could see it in the tentativeness of hugs and handshakes, the occasional mask, even though we met outside under the tent.

(And many thanks to USM, MWPA, Sisters in Crime, and the folks who worked to make the day a success.)

But an entire day? After a couple of years of Zooming, the occasional outside walk with a friend or two? An entire day, with scores of people?

Despite what all you sociable, outgoing bubbly types might think, introverts do not dislike people or their company. Many of us like the occasional buzz of connection, conversation, and colloquy. But for most introverts, that takes much more energy, much more work than it does for more extroverted types.

Add to this the fact that there were many people for whom this was their first Crime Wave. Interacting with new people takes even more energy than reconnecting with old friends.

The whole thing bore an emotional content for me, too: gratitude for having survived the pandemic (so far), an acknowledgment of the privilege we have to expend our energy on something as essentially frivolous as writing crime fiction, and the pleasure of being outdoors on a rare beautiful Maine spring day.

So yes, come Sunday, I had a hangover. But I don’t regret it a bit, any more than any other hangover I’ve ever had, except maybe the one in 1974 from gin and grapefruit juice. The fatigues and crankiness will recede eventually and sooner or later, I should be ready to come out and play again.

In other news, yes, I have another book coming out. This one, The Last Altruist, is not an Elder Darrow book. It’s set in southern Maine and tells the story of a returning war veteran, Ardmore Theberge, dishonorably discharged from the Army for beating up a superior officer. He befriends a local store owner, under pressure to sell her building, and her mentally challenged son, Robbie. When a real estate developer is killed and it looks as if Robbie did it, Ardmore steps in to protect the boy. Here’s a look at the cover.

Not yet, but soon, you will be able to preorder from Kelly’s Books to Go or your favorite independent source.

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8 Responses to The Introvert’s Hangover™

  1. David Plimpton says:


    As an introvert, I know how an event involving personal interaction can be emotionally and physically draining.

    If you haven’t seen it, the Myers-Briggs personality typology can help clarify where one fits in (or out), especially regarding what I experience as an extroverted culture and society:

    For example, as a social event, an introvert will be happy to have an extended one-on-one conversation, whereas an extrovert is soon looking over your shoulder for the next person with whom to speak, which I have learned not to take personally.

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. jselbo says:

    Dick –
    Excited to read the Last Altruist – and yes – totally get the hangover. I left the fabulous Crime Wave to spend 4 days with my husband’s family in Southwest Harbor. When I got back to Portland I had to binge on tv show London Kills for a full day and do pizza delivery. And talk to no one. Yes – the social time is worth it but recovery is necessary.

  4. John Clark says:

    The book sounds great. I’m what you might call a selective introvert in retirement…Once I’m peopled to a certain point for the day, that’s it.

  5. matthewcost says:

    Crime Wave was great. But I don’t know how anybody could NOT be exhausted after a full day of hobnobbing with so many terrific people. Write on.

  6. Brenda Buchanan says:

    Happy Birthday to Anne!

    I am so keen to read The Last Altruist – cannot wait.

    Crime Wave was (a) wonderful and (b) wore me out, too, and I’m an extrovert! (Or at least I used to be, pre-pandemic.)

  7. kaitcarson says:

    Happy birthday to Anne! Twenty is a great age, or did you mean XX for roman numerals????

    Glad you had a great time at Crime Wave. Hope to join you (and other Maine mystery writers) next year. May the force be with us. Looking forward to The Last Altruist!

  8. Kate Flora says:

    It was a nice gathering but I know what you mean. My tolerance for other humans (family excepted) is about two hours.

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