Retreating

Blog No. 128

I am a person who craves solitude. Even as a child, I spent a lot of time alone in my room (almost as much time as I spent watching movies and TV). It would have been nice if I spent some of that time alone working on writing, or drawing, or something that would come in handy now, but most of it was wasted living in my, then, current trials and stumbles. I relived a lot of those foible, imagining how they would have turned out if I were more confident, or outgoing, or smart, or. In a way, that time cultivated my imagination, which as a loner, and now as a writer, has served me well. Being alone does not make a person lonely. Sometimes it is a symptom, but it’s possible to be content in solitude and feel desperately alone in a crowded room. It’s more about what battles the individual is fighting and less to do with the situation we imagine for them, based on outside observations. But I’m here to talk about my more recent past, and a little less about the hypothetical.

Writing, no matter what situation your physical body happens to be engaged with at the time of the act, is an act that takes place in solitude. Sometimes the most difficult part of sitting down to write is letting go of the world around you and sinking into the story, were you are everyone and everything. I am fortunate to work with a couple of great people and to have several inviting places to go work. It makes things easier when the environment where I write has a good balance of friendly comradery and understanding when solitude is needed.

When working with Christian and Justin, I have two people to bounce ideas off of, to share triumphs and support during challenges. The solitude still exists, and has to for writing to happen, but when I come up for air, there are people like me, struggling like me, building like me, who are excited to see what I came up with, as I am excited to see their creations. Nothing is perfect when two or more distinct individuals interact, but maturity, patience, and understanding creates and environment with little conflict and where arguments can be settled with handshakes and egos unharmed. Support and encouragement, assistance and perspective make all of our writing stronger and doesn’t dilute the individual. I’m lucky to have friends and conspirators in them.

When I see the world in terms of outrageous news stories, the desire for solitude swells inside of me. I have visions of running into the woods, finding a stream, building a house, and living my life away from the people. Sometimes I’m there writing and friends come to visit, sometimes I don’t see people for years and I busy myself with living. Even when things are great and I’m in a place of blissful ignorance, I see an old man who used to be me, chopping wood in a small clearing, piling it next to his A-frame house for the winter that charges at him from the wild north. He is alone and happy, and only sometimes he gets lonely.

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