Over in That Corner, the Puppets

Jack will livestream today’s poem at 9am  on his Facebook Page here, where the video will will be saved for viewing, in case you missed it.

You may know of the Myers-Briggs test.

You take it and end up with a combination of letters that represent ends of continuums of behavioral preferences.

Usually people have preferences that can slide based on the conditions at hand. For example, one person might test out as 60/40 Extroverted to Introverted. And how they express extroversion or introversion depends on their day, who they are with, how happy their amygdalas are, what they are called upon to do, how they feel, etc.

As we all probably know, America is dominated by extroverts. In fact introverts are often understood as having something “wrong with them.” And so, in this country, introverts must learn to pass as extroverts. ‘Tis why this guy is very often misread as extroverted when actually on the test, I have no “E” at all. I’ve been faking it. Really faking it. For 76 years.

I am 100 percent “I.”

My Myers-Briggs type is INFP, extraordinarily, fiercely INFP. Only 5 percent of the population expresses this type, and I express it hard.

Why bring all this up? Because, while I understand how difficult seclusion is for those who are extroverted, (“I GOTTA GET OUTTA HERE! I GOTTA SEE THE GANG! I HAVE TO HANG OUT! I REALLY HAVE TO HIT THE COFFEE SHOP, THE PUB!”), I’m happy living as a hibernating bookworm. This life is good for me. The circumstances are terribly sad. But the sequestering is no hardship at all.

But we introverts want you to know that because we’ve been faking it all our lives, we really do understand. We’re here for you mad extroverts. We’re listeners. Please feel free to come within six feet of us at the grocers, and let it out!

Here’s a poem written for the most generous and important of poets, another introvert, one who travels the world especially to help children — Naomi Shihab Nye, The Poet Laureate for Youth in the United States. I hope you see its connection to what we are are all trying to learn to deal with.

Over in That Corner, the Puppets

Even when the weather changes,
remember to pet the dog, make
the cat purr, watch whatever

comes to the window. If you
stand there long enough,
someone will come by,

a stranger perhaps, one who
could be more, but needs
to keep walking. “Hello”

is likely all you can say.

–for Naomi Shihab Nye

–Jack Ridl

First published in Peninsula Poets

Subsequently published in Saint Peter and the Goldfinch (Wayne State University Press)

Here’s a wonderfully generous gift from documentary film maker/poet John Stanton:

“I wonder if the people you mail your weekly missives to would enjoy free access to a small collection of documentary films? I do not want to assume anything. But I keep thinking that it might give people something to do during all this self-isolation. If you think it is a good idea, feel free to send them out. All anyone has to do to see them is click on the links.”

Wood Sails Dreams (60-min) This was a film festival hit. The idea of boats made of trees and powered by the wind is a small miracle. The people who build and restore these boats are very soulful.

Oral History: Life During the Troubles, Belfast, Northern Ireland (20-min)

The Last Bay Scallop (30-min) The tradition of dredging for bay scallops runs deep in coastal southeast New England. But are the last days of this cottage industry on the horizon?

Memories of the Aud (45-minutes) In the last week before the closing of the Buffalo Auditorium we spoke with people for whom the sports played there gave them a sense of community.

One Man’s Vietnam (8-min) This might be my favorite. Peter Sylvia is a friend of mine, who was drafted a few weeks after he graduated from art college in 1968. As an act of catharsis he painted what he saw, and then simply put the canvasses in his attic. This short film was made the day he took them down from the attic.

The Pandemic may put the reading at The BookNook & Java Shop in Montague online, and we will let you know about that.  It had been set for 7pm on April 28 in the store, along with friend and poet Mark Hiskes. When we can return there, I guarantee you will love the place along with its good food and beverages. Many thanks to owner and arts promoter Bryan Uecker.

Jack’s Homily, “The Devil Went Down to Douglas” is here for those of you interested in marking the occasion.

Don’t miss subscribing to this podcast.  And Then Suddenly is the brainchild of the kind and brilliant Angela Santillo, whose path I’ve crossed once before while working with CavanKerry Press. Her podcast has a brilliant premise…  Describe a moment in your life that changed… everything. She’s had that moment, and from it she has made this podcast. Here’s the conversation we had recently.  I hope you explore many of the episodes. Because they will change you. In a good way.

There will be an outstanding Writers Conference held at The Grace A. Dow Library in the Dow Gardens in Midland on July 21 and 22. Each date has a 1-4 afternoon workshop and a reading in the evening along with a Q & A. July 21 features Desiree Cooper and John Mauk. July 22 features Anne-Marie Oomen and me. The workshops are capped at 20 people.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Jack on And Then Suddenly podcast by Angela Santillo.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

30 thoughts on “Over in That Corner, the Puppets

  1. INFP is also my domain. I am also thriving right now. But I have my most extroverted child home with me now, and she is struggling. I think she feels the same need to escape from the isolation as I feel when I am in social events.

    • That is the perfect description–that about social events! How did you survive that service you came to??????
      And clearly you learned how to be an extrovert.
      Have you read Quiet? You’ll like it.

  2. Thank you, dear friend Jack, for your continuing words. I related to this latest especially as Myers-Briggs had me about in the middle of I E category quite a few years ago. Bob was surprised but my eldest daughter said she wasn’t, knowing me better. Now think Bob wouldn’t say that, as I’m content in this situation, although very sad for all those experiencing hardship in ways we aren’t. Bob continues with his cancer immune therapy but now I’m not allowed to go with him. It’s having a positive effect. Other than that we are totally physically isolating. Greetings to Julie. Mary


    • Of course! Of course! Who is more beautifully balanced than Mary!

      So glad the immune therapy is having a positive effect. Oh my, that’s wonderful news.
      Bob and Julie should talk immune system therapies!!

      Elbow hugs

  3. I love this poem. And you. And Naomi.
    I am 49 I, 51 E … this shelter in place is good for me EXCEPT that everyone is around me all the time and I am alone less than ever!!!

    Xoxo to you and Julie,

    From: “comment-reply@wordpress.com”
    Reply-To: “RIDL.COM”
    Date: Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 6:01 AM
    To: Rosemerry Trommer
    Subject: [New post] Over in That Corner, the Puppets

    Jack posted: “You may know of the Myers-Briggs test. You take it and end up with a combination of letters that represent ends of continuums of behavioral preferences. Usually people have preferences that can slide based on the conditions at hand. For example, one per”

    • Ohhhhh that is wonderful to know. My gosh, yes, that fits wonderful you perfectly.
      No wonder you can write such beautiful interior poems and perform so engagingly!
      what a gift–to have your love of all three!
      Elbow hugs

  4. I’m INFP, too. I wonder how many of your followers are at least an “I”, if not a total match to you. I wouldn’t be surprised if a larger population of INFP’ers are represented in your audience than the usual 5%. Perhaps it’s why I always related so well to you as my teacher! ❤


    • Anne, don’t ya wonder? I love thinking about what you brought up. Thanks!!!!

      I am thrilled to know you related well to me. A teacher never can know unless told.
      My thanks are an abundance. Stay well.
      Elbow hugs

  5. YES!! i’m a huge INFP too, of course. keep up the good fight and great big love to you, julie, and mimi-oxox-shuga

    • Of course you are. And you learned to be extroverted as a performer!p Yes?
      Have you read the book QUIET? Great big love back, Shuga, from Julie, Mimi, and me
      Stay safe

    • Sandie, thank you for telling me. It matters. All of us are in seclusion. My posts go
      out alone and hope to land where they are meant to. Your telling me is sustaining.
      Elbow hugs

  6. This was a highlight of my day, Jack. I’m an INFJ and on an introversion scale of 1 – 10 I score an eleven. Really! And so, like you, I don’t miss the “small talk” and other NOISE. Yet I find that I am starting to miss the energy field that I feel in human bodies. Especially since I no longer have a dog; they have great energy fields! Namaste, Carl V.K.


    • An 11. I believe it, Carl.

      Interesting, too, that you mention the energy field. A couple weeks ago I wrote about companionship and the huge loss of it
      this has created. Or maybe it was last week. I can’t remember. Our dog saves us every day. You better get that dog!!!
      Namaste and elbow hugs

  7. Thank you for sharing this poem today, Jack! I am also an INFP, which surprises many people because now and then I am able to work up the energy to fake the “E,” and then I have to go promptly home to recuperate.

    • Yep, Deb, right home. I hope it’s okay to say that I always thought that you had to be at least INFP.
      P because you would frown and offer am alternative. The INF for sure. : )
      Do stay well. And if in treatment, I hope it’s going well. UGH.
      Elbow hugs

  8. I love this poem. Hoping to remain healthy, but coping well with the seclusion. Think I might be an INFP as well. It’s been awhile since I’ve taken the test.

    • Hi Betsy,
      How I hope you are doing okay. Concern always for those in your situation.
      And oh how glad I am that you love the poem. Thank heavens Naomi does as well. : }
      Elbow hugs

  9. INFJ here — enjoyed this post. I find many of my “E” friends are struggling. Very grateful to be my type right now — perfect for knitting, writing and the simple life!

    • Phyllis, my pal, from working with you and you work I might have ventured you as INFJ.
      I, too, am so enjoying the quiet and hermiting! Knit and write on!!!
      Elbow hugs

  10. Hi Jack,   could you add lynne.herchenroether@gmail.com to your subscriber list.  She loves your posts.   Thanks   Herk

    From: “RIDL.COM” Reply-To: “RIDL.COM” Date: Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 8:01 AM To: Subject: [New post] Over in That Corner, the Puppets

    Jack posted: “You may know of the Myers-Briggs test. You take it and end up with a combination of letters that represent ends of continuums of behavioral preferences. Usually people have preferences that can slide based on the conditions at hand. For example, one per”

  11. Dear Jack

    I keep reading your weekly postings with delight. They are food for
    thought, inspiring, consoling. This week I feel particularly touched
    since I would call myself 100 percent “I”, too.

    During the last three weeks in which we have had curfew here in Germany,
    I noticed that curfew itself is not impairing my daily life so much. I
    am aware of the fact that this is quite different for others, e.g., my
    wife who enjoys socializing much more than I do.

    What’s really bothering me are frequent feelings of uncertainty and
    threat, which I guess is the lot of the introvert who is much more prone
    to continuous introspection. Thus, your posting reminds me that I should
    do my best to take responsibility for these feelings, not to bother others.

    The news from the U.S. are worrying, and my thoughts are with your
    family, friends and all fellow Americans. Let us pray that we all will
    stand firm and united in coping with this crisis, and will learn the
    necessary lessons from it.


    Unterschleissheim, County of Munich, Germany

    • Dear Mathias,
      Yes we I folks have to do our best to refrain from telling our spouses every inner thought. I have to work at it!
      I deeply appreciate your own appreciation for the posts. One can’t know if they are helpful unless told, so thank you for
      sustaining the project. And it means a lot, your worry for us trying to live under this tyrannical narcissist. He has done
      so much damage and could do so throughout the world. we were naive in thinking that we were united in caring for one another.
      Never could we dream that there were so many people filled with hate. He has unleashed a monster and has blood on his hands.
      May you stay well and safe. Please do feel my gratitude.

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