Creativity Needs Solitude...
This might be what is wrong with society today...we do not know or even try to spend time alone. Even our alone time is pushed out onto every social media outlet crying out, “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! I am overhear doing nothing with myself!”
People are still creating. Books are being written. Songs are being sung. Music and art are being made. But to what end? We live in a world that incessantly demands us to be plugged in. And interested in mindlessly swiping through humanity and apps for satisfaction.
I cannot hold my children’s attention for one minute without a device being used. People do not seem to know how to conduct conversations anymore, at least not ones that create intimacy. It feels like it is all posturing. A grand positioning of oneself closer to whatever fame looks like, or what we think that looks like.
I feel like we live in a world where everyone is alone but is totally terrified by this fact. We are born alone, die alone why should the middle part of life be different? But we avoid the aloneness with everything we have.
My generation is the last generation that knows what life was like before cellphones. We didn’t have instant anything and had to wait for things, for life to teach us things over time, instead of being able to look it up on google immediately.
We are time consumers, eating up the time so that we can spend more time, consuming advertisements so that we can buy products to make us better, happier, more fulfilled. I am becoming inured to it. I am interested in moving away from it. But there is that fear of missing out. I don’t know why this is such a thing, most especially for me...If I really believe that all that is supposed to come to me, will. Why am I concerned?
I don’t write to become famous or get a book deal. That is really none of my business. I write because I seem to need to do it. It brings me pleasure, not because of anything you all say back to me (although I do like your comments and engagement so keep them coming), just because I like getting to know myself every morning, to pay attention to the things I think, and feel, and say. I want to help you also, but I know that there is nothing unique or new that I can really offer you. It really is all about timing. You needing what I am offering at the right time and place. That is all.
Life is just this series of chance encounters that bring upon more chance encounters. One after another until we are dead. Sometimes, chance encounters are in fact deadly. But for many, we get to live on through them, glancing off of this one or that one. Coming to a rest only when forced to or because we have lost the will to move forward.
I am in one of those, “what does it all mean” moods. And I am scared of the answers I am coming up with. I am struggling to find meaning in today’s world. I know that it is there, but I am missing it, at least that is how it feels. I feel adjacent to life, adrift in a sea of my own making, unsure what I am doing and even less sure why. Life is hard right now. Maybe life is always hard. I find that people are struggling with something unexplainable. It is this pervasive feeling of dis-ease. There are moments of sublimity. Moments of grace, but we seem to return to our constant state of arousal and discontentedness, almost happy to return to that which we know, we don’t like it, but we know it and that is somehow preferred over all else.
I am not sure what it all means. I feel scared, alone and locked out of normal life. Like I am retreating and calling myself out at the same time but I can’t seem to stop the pull back. I feel incompetent to live, but I don’t want to die. I feel failed as a parent but I am not done parenting yet. I feel devalued as a worker, but I am not yet employed again ( well as of yesterday I am! So progress!).
I feel unmoored and perhaps that is the best thing that can happen to a woman like me. I am creative. I have ideas, thoughts, ambitions that have nothing to do with anyone else. Things I want to write, things I want to do that more and more become solitary things that involve no conversation, no dialogue except with myself. I find the life I used to live unsatisfactory and paltry to the inner life that feels bursting and robust. But still I long for connection, but it seems that all the I do is feel more disconnected the more I try to connect.
“Creativity needs solitude “said Mary Oliver. I think she would know. She almost unparalleled in her creativity, her active, supple mind, working over words and phrases, until they fit and feel good, and right and true. How many hours did she labor alone? How many things did she turn down and away in her pursuit of this inner world that her willingness to write them down, gave us entrance to her queendom?
I want it all. I always have. The love, the things, the kids, the career, the down time, the alone time, the me time. I want it all still but I find that the more life I live the more I need and want to disappear from the rat race of more, and more and more. To find a place where I have enough and I am ok right as I am. In this body, in this spirit, in this mind.
Do I have to stop all the social things to get the solitude? Am I destined to live the life of a recluse? What will I have to give up to get that life. To be able to access the creativity that seems to need release from the prison of my mind.
Do I have to give up on love? Do I have to stop seeking an understanding partner? Do I have to find my way without forever?
How much did Mary give up in order to give us what she did? Was it enough? For her? For us?
I know her writings have changed me. The attention to the details of natural life, life affirming for me, giving me the willingness and sticktoitiveness to bear the onslaught of another day.
Must one surrender to the art of your soul to ever be happy? And does the soul always have to be such a taker? Demanding time away from life itself to create this thing that seems to take on a life of its own the moment it hits the screen.
I feel my creative pangs have dogged my footsteps for years, and I am artful dodger, busied myself with chasing men, and friends, and shopping and dining, and all the things made possible by polite society. But as my age advances, I want less and less of all that. I care less and less about those things. And find myself happy in my own company, finally willing to obey the master that rules within.
WRITE she says.
READ she says.
TAKE A FUCKING NAP IN THE HAMMOCK she says
PET THE DOG she says
She is incessant in her chatter but is growing louder and more bold with each passing day. She demands and I am too tired to evade anymore. Instead I lie down in quiet supplication to her and begin to write, to read, to take that fucking nap with the dog.
And life feels good again...maybe she does know something after all?