Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Bit More Mist . . . and a Few Thoughts About Solitude and Togetherness

Do you mind a few more photos of fog?  These are shots I took at Willard Beach in South Portland.  It's a lovely neighborhood beach in any weather, but I do love a good rolling fog for a walk. 

I also wanted to say thank you for all the wonderful comments and emails about my last post.  They made my week.  

I can't help it; in my head I've named this shot "The Happy Couple."

I've been writing a great deal lately, and helping clients work on their writing projects, which is a process that brings rewards of its own.  Often when people ask me for advice about how to become a writer, I am hard pressed to give them any one answer.  Of course, reading heaps of books is up near the top of my list, and writing every day--or as close to every day as possible.  But I think maybe the most essential trait a writer can cultivate is a love of solitude.  Social butterflies are not suited to the task.

When you do seek companionship, it is helpful to find others who love solitude, too.  Then you can be alone together.  They need to be people who don't fret when you wander off for hours to stare at leaves and shells and rocks and twigs.  They need to feel very secure in their own ability to be alone when you lock yourself away for hours to write. They need to not wait for you to come out of hiding.  Instead, they must have their own quiet obsessions that occupy long stretches of time.  In this way, when you do come back together, it will be out of a mutual joy in the work and play you are both pursuing.  There will be much to share, much that sustains both. 

And there will be no petty jealousy.  Each will support the other in his or her pursuits.  I'm not saying this is an easy path to choose, but it is certainly a more joyous and productive one when we can share it with like-minded spirits.  This all seems like an obvious thing to say, but I know what it's like when a writer (or an artist of any kind) tries to share her life with someone who does not understand the need for solitude.  This leads to a silent pen, which leads to loneliness, something utterly different from solitude.  The latter nourishes, the former leeches one dry. 

Are you someone, writer or not, who needs solitude?  If so, how do you find it?  I think it is increasingly rare in our relentlessly "connected" world.  One trick I have is that I don't watch television . . . at all . . . ever.  I'd love to hear some of your strategies for finding solitude.

Wishing you a week of beauty and lots of creative energy, my friends!

16 comments:

  1. Oh, yes, this is so right! I love those days when the family is off at work and school and I have the house to myself.
    Love the photos!!

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    1. They are some of the best days, no? I mean, we love them, but . . . ;)

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  2. I felt as if you were echoing my thoughts, because I do love solitude and I seek it whenever I can. Going off on long walks and just seeking my own inner peace is the way I find it.

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    1. I think long walks are my favorite way to seek solitude, Loree, especially when there's wilderness to be found!

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  3. Well said. I watch about 3 hours of television a week, so while my husband sits in front of the tv in the evenings I am in solitude. Also, I get up much earlier, so I have a couple hours in the early morning. Oh how I miss those times when I don't have them. However, I also have a need to be out around people after being alone for awhile. My heart yearns to be in connection with creative souls, this is difficult to find. But I continue the search.

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    1. I love the early morning for just that reason, Marilyn. In fact, that's my favorite time to garden. I, too, need company to balance the solitude, so it's always good to find people who understand when I wander off by myself! :)

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  4. I am in total agreement with all you said about solitude, for me it is a necessity for balancing busy family life. As an artist I have found it very difficult to explain to others the deep need to be still and quiet- Agnes Martin insisted that only in solitude could one hear inspiration speak. I believe this is true.

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    1. Yes, Sarah, sometimes it's really hard to explain this to others, so I usually don't even try anymore! :) I'm just glad that there's folks like you who understand completely and who share this need. I love the Agnes Martin quote, too.

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  5. You can post foggy photos of Maine anytime you want... I love them! Fog, the ocean and a walk along the beach all scream Maine to me and I can't ever have enough! :D I love the solitude of writing and this post put it all so well...
    Hugs and enjoy your week,
    Beth P

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    1. Thanks Beth! I love foggy photos, too. Hope you have a lovely week with a good dose of happy solitude.

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  6. I may not be a writer but I am definitely not only a lover of solitude but a needer of solitude. It is very easy for me to achieve now that I am retired and my husband is still working but we will have to work on it when he is home more. When we both worked he knew I needed my down, alone time when I got home and in the morning....what a patient man I married!

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    1. Exactly! having a partner who understands this need is key! How wonderful that you found such a great guy. I can't imagine not having those periods of alone time, and I'm so grateful my husband understands this, too. In fact, he needs maybe even a little more alone time than I do! :)

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  7. This post is well-timed for me. I've been looking for ways to achieve greater balance. I have thought many times lately that time spent alone seems to be the best way to achieve mental clarity. I will have to think more about this. Thank you for an inspiring post.

    Keri

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  8. I so love this post. Firstly because I have never thought of photographing fog (try saying that). Your pics are so beautiful and dreamy, thank you.

    Secondly I am with you on solitude and the need for it. You have inspired me to put the need into words and pictures.

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  9. I'm definitely not a writer, but I am a true loner. I need plenty of time alone and I get that in the early mornings, on long walks or drives and the best alone time is soaking in a nice hot tub! Love to you! xxoo

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  10. I've been so busy and haven't visited you in a while...but the second I clicked over I felt serenity. Thank you for your photos Gigi, I can get lost here, absorbed by their beauty.
    And yes, yes, yes...I need solitude. I need time and space aplenty to reconnect to my Center. My sense of place slowly leaks out when the pace of life picks up...this morning, I woke at 3:30..is that morning? Anyhoo, I knew I needed to sit in the stillness and reconnect. I spent nearly 2 hours on the screen porch with milky moonlight spilling across my feet, listening to a cricket or two. (And although Mike doesn't need alone time like I do, he gets it. He's not in the least bit needy and encourages me to do whatever I need for serenity.
    Thank beautiful you Gigi for the gift of your photos and your heart dear friend xo

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