Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Together, alone

I've been contemplating something recently. Quite a lot actually. I have been thinking about the creative ventures that I am drawn to, and the solitary nature of each. Drawing and writing, for example, are very solitary pastimes, and yet I am not a solitary person.

Sometimes I feel that if I could just have the right person or persons to come and sit with me and "keep me company" while I "do things" it would be quite all right. It sounds a bit selfish and even childish when I say it out loud like this. I mean, no one is going to come and watch me work, and then pat me on the head and say "well done" after I pen a paragraph. Life just doesn't work that way. When my boyfriend and I finally get to see each other after a long day of work, we don't necessarily want to spend it not talking as we try together to write our versions of the great american novel. No. I think I have to go it alone, at least, for the most part. I have to "man up," as it were, and try to pursue my dream and take time to devote to these solitary art forms. I don't mean to say that if a good option for writing with people came up, that didn't digress into more talking than writing, that I would turn it down, because I wouldn't. (By the way, if anyone knows of such a utopian atmosphere please let me know.)

I can certainly understand why some of the greatest writing geniuses I have ever heard of, also had a propensity for drinking or depression or both. The enforced alone time sort of lends itself to that state. However, surely it can be done with out those ends. Many have, many do; and I intend to make myself be disciplined and productive at my craft, and hopefully cheerful at the same time.

It is very strange, too, that sometimes in my life, I have read books for many reasons, but among those have been to stave off feelings of loneliness. It is interesting to think that those same books that I have gone to for comfort of that kind, were at one time originated by some man or woman, probably alone with a pen or typewriter or computer or nowadays a hand-held device like I am using right now.

Maybe knowing that helps. Maybe that is what makes the loneliness better or more bearable.

Maybe the end product that will allow us (writers) to commune with our reader, and allow us fellowship in a larger cannon of the written word makes all of those lone nights or singular coffees or postponed conversations worthwhile.


  1. when I went to a NaNoWriMo write in a few years ago (where multiple people trying to write 50k works in a month sit together and do nothing but write), it was a lot like what you described in the utopian sense. We had some instrumental music on, and no one spoke except to ask random "what's a better word for..." questions. It was extremely nice to have a little community. Sometimes you can find writers groups year round who'll do that -- if not, I'm sure you can hook up with some in November!

  2. That would be awesome Melanie! I didn't know such a thing existed! Maybe I will try to do that this November. I have always been afraid in the past, because it sounds like a lot of words. ;)