From tiny islets to huge continents, any landmass totally surrounded by water is an island. Islands fascinate me, especially the smaller ones. Separated from other landmasses, they strike me as places of independence. I’m a fairly private person so when I see an island sporting an abode I am attracted to its cosy seclusion. I don’t imagine I’d enjoy living year-round in such isolation, but as a writing retreat it has great appeal.
There is a sense in which the artistic part of my soul is like an island, a private place hidden away with its contents made visible only when I choose to reveal them.
The writing profession is frequently referred to as being a lonely one. When I write in isolation I tend to feel cut off from others in the writing community and yet, like an island, there is an unseen connectivity. Beneath the surface we are all grounded in the common purpose of communication.
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind….”
[John Donne, 1572-1631]
Do you feel alone as you write or are you aware of a connection?
11 thoughts on “Island Isolation”
I actually don’t feel alone when I write. I feel very connected. I think to God and just to myself, and then of course, I know all of you lovely bloggers are out there!
Blogging certainly adds a community of support to the process that didn’t used to exist for me. But I still don’t share details of my novel online so that’s still a solitary part of my writing. Then again, I feel very connected to my characters when I’m working on their stories so in that way I’m never totally alone. 🙂
It’s when I’m not writing that I feel alone. When I am writing, everything is possible and everyone is who and what I want them to be.
I don’t think I’d enjoy being on an island, but I do like solitude much of the time. There is so much beauty that we miss when we are caught up in the many activities going on during the day–work, family, other responsibilities. I like a slower pace than most people I know.
I like my solitude, too. I’ve always been a bit of a loner… a private person… which is one reason why putting my writing “out there” has been difficult for me. Blogging is a good transition and I’m really enjoying the connections I’m making here.
Oh, wonderful post, Carol!! I love the idea that we’re islands because we often do really write in isolation. But we need each other and are connected in many ways that we can’t see!
We’re isolated here, in that we can’t jump in the car and go anywhere within 30 miles. For years, I love the quiet and solitude. I love being alone. Until the last 2/3 years. Suddenly, I’m yearning for companionship, friends, lots of laughter. I still love the quietness of my spot at the window, but there’s something profoundly liberating about sharing special moments with my friends and family.
Great post, as usual Carol. Your words always give me peace.
I almost never discuss a work in progress. But when I write I feel a connection to the story and to my characters. If that connection isn’t there I end up leaving it for the time being and moving on to something else.
Jody – I’m just beginning to realize that need and recognize the connection! 🙂
Joylene – I suppose an imposed isolation mightn’t be as appealling as the voluntary kind I was thinking about. It’s good to be drawn towards friends and family — sometimes I think it can be too easy for us to submerge ourselves in our writing to the exclusion of life’s other priorities.
Laura – That’s very much how I feel, too. It’s that relationship with the characters that keeps me in the story.
Two things make me feel lonely: Living in an isolated area and watching daytime television. For some reason, the latter, says “I’m bored”. Since I live in a populated area and since I’ve only succumbed to daytime television once, then I can safely say I’m not a lonely person and especially not when writing.
Unless I haven’t been feeling well I’ve never been inclined to watch a lot of television, even at night, although I do have a few favourite programs. It seems like I never have enough time to get things done as it is, so too much TV seems like a waste of it. But on the other side of the coin watching some of the better programs could be considered research for our writing, couldn’t it?… you know, examining how plots and characters are developed. 😉
I’m weird, but I’m okay with nighttime television; it’s the daytime TV that makes me feel lonely, like I’m wasting my life.