Friday, March 12, 2010

Loneliness or Pleasure?

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself. ~Franz Kafka

The quote above brought back a comment a friend made to me shortly after I first began writing. "You're such a social person. How can you want to be a writer which is something done all alone?"

She was right about me being someone who thrives on being around people. I always have. In my early years I didn't like to be alone, and I think that came from being raised in a family of six that lived in a small apartment. Finding a place to be alone was next to impossible, so I didn't know how to use and value periods like that. My walks to and from the public library were the only times of my childhood that I remember being alone. I savored that time mainly because it led me to finding new books. It wasn't the 'aloneness' itself.

As I moved through my adult years, I slowly learned to enjoy time alone, but I was happiest when around other people. Now, when I'm writing, I am perfectly content with my solitude. I have an objective and a way to attain it. It's for me to do all by myself. I don't need a group of friends to help me. It's me and nobody else.

I've never felt a lonely moment when writing, and I must disagree with the second half of Mr. Kafka's quote. The part that says "...the descent into the cold abyss of oneself." He makes it sound dark and fearsome. I don't consider myself a cold abyss at all. Instead, I would rather think that I am my own best friend, so how about saying ....the warmth of oneself instead?

Writing is not a lonely activity at all. It's pleasure gained all alone.

1 comment:

  1. I grew up the opposite of you. Although I do have one brother, I spent a lot of time alone. Still, I wasn't lonely. I was a great 'pretender'. Throughout my life, I have cherished alone time. When I write, I'm not alone. I'm in the story, interacting with the characters. Perhaps that's why I like fiction writing so much. I think your version of Mr. Kafka's quote is the best.