Last week, teaching at a Winter Writers’ Retreat at Trinity College at Melbourne University, I asked my students how we could show the characteristic of shyness in a character in a story.
‘She could stutter,’ one suggested.
‘St-st-st-stuttering is a neurological dysfunction,’ I answered. ‘A failure of the synapses of the brain to properly connect thought and speech. It has nothing to do with shyness. I’m not shy, as I’m sure you’ve all noticed, but I’ve fought all my life with my st-st-st-st….’
And once again my stutter defeated me.