At what stage does alone-ness change one’s life? At what stage does the change become a taint?
Does being solo change you? Or do you change because of it?
Writing is a solitary endeavor. At least, fiction is—or at least it is for me. The contemplative space of the writer’s life is vast. It leaves much time for reflection; demands the time you might not be willing to give voluntarily.
The solitariness is enough, at times, to drive one mad.
I may have already arrived there. And I’m not worried.
I have been described as quirky. Unique. Disciplined. Dedicated. Those who know me well might add other adjectives. I’m not sure that I would look favorably on all of them.
Being solo does not scare me. Not writing does.
The not-writing me looks for ways to fill hours of waking. Goes to bed early. Paces. Reclines on the sofa and watches re-runs. Goes shopping at WholeFoods as a hobby, the Imelda Marcos of organics. Has one too many glasses of wine, yet stops far short of tipsy. Asks too much of her friends. The not-writing me says that she is not lonely; believes it, knows it. The not-writing me scratches at the inside of my head, trying to get in, not out.
The Writing Me does not know what loneliness is. Or time. Or regular meals. The writing me would rather create than eat. The Writing Me’s brain is a room filled with people. None of them sees me. None acknowledges me. Yet they are as close as breath. I am fullest, richest, in that empty room.
Was I always like this? Or did the hours and hours and hours of staring into the silence evolve me into another form? Am I an E.T. in a wholly human world? Will I ever again be capable of intimate daily human relationships? Will I ever again know the strange phenomenon that is a one-on-one life with another human being? Do I even care?
I am waiting in the station for the other half of myself to arrive. The train will not show up on my schedule; it will only arrive when it’s ready to. It will bring the next book with it, gift-wrapped. I can hear the rumblings from down the track. I am beginning to see the light in the tunnel. The trick, in the meantime, is not to let the not-writing fidgets turn into something darker.
Not dead, the Writer Me. Not hibernating. Just napping. For now.