It was as if de Gaulle’s bursts of eloquence required long periods of silence to recharge his energies and store up more words, or perhaps he had decided that if he could not speak in poetry, he would rather not speak at all…He was silent or silver-tongued, nothing in between. It was maddening and magnetic, this refusal to make the most cursory effort at small talk and then to speak, on his own terms, so beautifully.
— Joe Moran, Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness
In both speaking and writing, I, too, tend to be parsimonious. As far back as I can remember, I have always preferred to err on the side of silence, as if words were a finite resource which must be vigilantly conserved. On the page, at least, I think I can occasionally muster up a burst of eloquence. Unfortunately, I have yet to speak in sonnets. Too often, my conversation resembles the most shapeless free verse. At best, I might produce a clever couplet.