Writing and having no Life

July 28, 2010 at 10:17 am (Uncategorized)

“Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.”
 Jessamyn West

E. B. White (The Elements of Style – By Strunk and White)

I firmly believe that writing is a solitary existence. One reason being; that many people don’t understand your need to write. I have no choice but to write at home and try to find quiet locked away in a room…when I write, I get interrupted so many times that I made a sign and put it on the door of my writing room

“Do not enter! Writing in Progress!”

Did that change anything? NO! I still get interrupted many times thought a day. People don’t even knock anymore. I always explain that I need some privacy and do you know what my family tells me: “You’re only writing.”

Exactly my point. I am writing!!! But, they say it in the context of writing being something unimportant and unworthy of my time, certainly not worth their patience anyway. But to me? To me, my writing is everything. To me, writing is my escape, my passion, my love. Being a Christian, God does come first, but writing is definitely up there.

Writing is a solitary occupation. A writer needs utter quiet, stillness, so that maybe, just maybe the voices in his/her head will begin speaking and the muse will direct his/her pen. Interrupting a writer’s thought process is like derailing a train. Even if the writer can get the train back on its tracks, it will never be the same again, never whole, never what it was.

Anne Lamott, in her book Bird by Bird, mentions that she grew up in a home of writers and all her family friends were writers. They relied on each other and most of her family friends were single, living alone and now alcoholics. Marriages can fall apart if one person is a writer. The significant other can’t handle their partner being alone all the time, apart from them, they don’t understand. Marriages with writers may work better if both members are writers. This way both can get their alone time and understand one another completely.

Society, family and friends don’t understand a writer’s need to be alone and uninterrupted. I have noticed that my family thinks I am anti-social. I am not, but I do need my alone time. I spend more time alone with my pen and paper, laptop and a book than I do with anything else. And, I am ecstatic to be that way, but society declares that I am a loner, family gets upset and friends feel shunned.

The quote of the day for today was from Charlotte Bronte and read:

“I’m just going to write because I cannot help it.”

I do not go out of my way to be alone, but I can not write otherwise and I write because I can not help but write. Jessamyn West in the above quote was writing in saying a writer should be savage, a writer can be no other way.

Make no mistake: It is not that I have no life, it is that writing is my life.

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1 Comment

  1. Leigh D'Ansey said,

    I envy the quiet life Charlotte Bronte must have been surrounded by. No traffic sounds, no airplanes overhead, no TV or radio squawking in the background, no computer or appliance hum, no telephone ring or cell phone buzz, no microwave beeping or some other appliance beseeching to be turned off, on, opened or closed. No lights flashing their silent but urgent messages. None of the inner noise that calls to us constantly: emails, blogging, facebooking, twittering, what time to pick the kids’ up, drop them off, get to the dentist, meet that urgent appointment.

    Just the quiet swish of a broom across the floor, the flap of washing in the wind, the gentle clop-clop of a horse’s hooves. I wonder what Charlotte Bronte would envy about our lives?

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