Monday, January 17, 2011

I Was Not Lonely, Just Alone

So when I finally reached my home
I was not lonely, just alone.
Then for a moment I stood still,
And watched the sun surmount the hill.

That's the end to an ill-fated poem I wrote in college. It remains dear to my heart but the workshop critique for it was BRUTAL. Let this be a lesson to you undergrads out there: Iambic Pentameter is NOT HIP and will NOT IMPRESS your professor. If you like rhyme, consider slam poetry.

Anyway, I've had loneliness on my brain this weekend. Of course it's winter, a time when Loneliness is most alive. She weaves through the naked trees, skims over the snow, revels in the deep, cold darkness. This is the time of year when I find myself most vulnerable to her. She is like a friend I can't escape but who is nevertheless a bad influence.

I can't help musing over the role loneliness plays in the artist's life. Solitude is something we seek out, by necessity, in order to have a quiet, vaulted space of our own in which to create. I've been told that winter is an ideal time to be an artist, to sit in the dark and dream and weave words out of that cold darkness that cracks and heaves.

And yet.

I am lonely, sometimes. I crave solitude yet fear it, too. Loneliness is greedy. Once she gathers you up in her arms, she does not want to let you go.

So I reread these old lines of a poem I wrote years ago, and I try to learn how to be alone and not lonely. Maybe, being a twin, I'm particularly bad at this. Or maybe this is simply a constant battle that the artist wages within herself. I don't know. I only know that it is hard.

Tea helps.


  1. dude, freddy's gone all week. he's staying with my mother and going to school with her to shadow other teachers.

    have i mentioned i'm completely codependent? i can't stand being alone for even half a minute. hmm.

  2. Total bummer. I always tell myself when Curt is traveling for work, "Great! Now I'll get so much done!" But really I'm thinking, "Noooooooooo!"

    Maybe after a couple days, it'll get easier.

  3. I find your comment on how you want solitude and fear loneliness at the same time. I can completely understand this mindset! Sometimes it's not just being physically alone, but in a group of other people and feeling alone.