Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Defending Solitude

input in the discussion with Jenna St. Hilaire and Mr. Pond
"I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other. "
    ~Rainer Maria RIlke
       This week, Easter week, my time is overfull. We are eating again, with a big celebratory bonfire in the planning for Thursday, my parent’s are visiting, and Yarrow is teething. I am taking advantage of rare morning quiet to write, but the sun is up, and I can see everywhere the things I need to do. Last week, planning Easter week, I had to explain gently to three different people that, no, I couldn’t really handle having a social event every night of the week. Even with two evenings at home, the introvert within is exhausted and my writing suffers. This will be a lazy discussion week, but I hope still interesting. I want to discuss the pursuit of that necessary solitude in the wake of daily life. Most artists, it seems are somewhat introverted - and solitude is necessary in order to create, but our lives are not lived out in a vacuum, and the experiences of living are also essential to art. How do we strike a balance? How do we defend our solitude without becoming too much the recluse?

As much as possible, I try to take advantage of the darkness - the late nights and early mornings, when the whole world is quiet. In the dark-before-dawn, when even the coyotes are sleeping, but using that time requires energy I often don’t have - especially during times when we’ve been busy being social.

"The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”
 ~Ernest Hemingway

 Generally, when we have guests, or a week of busy days and evenings, I tend to count the time as lost, artistically speaking, and commit to making up time when the activity has died down. Now though, I'm seeing the flaws in this plan. Time cannot be reclaimed, I end up frustrated and overtired. This morning I realized I've been living on capital, I haven't really been seriously working for at least a week, and I've gotten comfortable in my distracting, in just anticipating solitude. Defending solitude, for myself and my family, involves actively creating spaces for solitude - hours in the day that welcome quiet and reflection, that encourage the pursuit of beauty. Collapsing on the bed doesn't actually count - but yawning over hot tea and marking up old poems does. Even when that hour could be used to regain lost sleep before the distractions of life come again.

No comments:

Post a Comment