Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Writing and being lonely

Great image from Gaping Void
Because I spend so much time on my own, at my desk, writing, with nobody else in the house apart from the dog, people often ask me whether I get lonely. I don’t, usually.

This isn’t because I’m an antisocial misanthrope. I enjoy company, mostly. The reason I don’t get lonely is that I am writing. This might sound contradictory, but I came across a Julia Cameron quote yesterday that explained it well:
“The minute I let myself write, everything else falls into balance. If I get a dose of writing in my day, then I can actually socialise with a clear conscience. I can actually be present for the life I am having rather than living in the never-never land of the nonwriting writer, that twilight place where you always ‘should’ be somewhere else – writing – so that you can never enjoy where you actually are.”
Reading that reminded me of something James Thurber said in an interview:
“I never quite know when I'm not writing. Sometimes my wife comes up to me at a party and says, ‘Damnit, Thurber, stop writing.’ She usually catches me in the middle of a paragraph. Or my daughter will look up from the dinner table and ask, ‘Is he sick?’ ‘No,’ my wife says, ‘he's writing something.’”


Rachel Fenton said...

I now have an image of you as something of a Gordon Comstock figure.

I love that final quote - so much writing is done on the crumpled napkin of our brains.

Neil said...

Gordon Comstock? God, really? Wasn't he a pretentious man of limited talents and deluded ambitions who gave up his dream of writing poetry to work in advertising? Yikes.

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