Friday, June 3, 2011

The Lonely Writer

Young Woman Reading, Mary Cassatt 1876

I've heard the stories/read about the method: retreats, workshops, cabins in the woods, hotel rooms, unplugging, uninstalling...all the means of self-imposed isolation in attempts to create art.

In fact, I watched a short documentary last night and learned that Van Gogh stayed in an asylum for a year because he was able to paint daily without much interruption (and it was cheaper than staying in a hotel).

Being in a (mostly) empty college town for several weeks is not the same thing--this isolation is not self-imposed, it has been forced upon me.

At least that's my non-writing excuse. Sure, there are notecards with my character names, birth and death years now in existence. Yes, I have a strong idea for the second story in my thesis...BUT...

Why am I NOT writing?

boredom? lack of stimulation? loneliness? no schedule? no deadlines?

A combination of ALL OF THE ABOVE?

Or better yet, do I have no clue as to what I am doing? Am I lacking ideas, motivation, (gulp) talent? (Only "an artist" would say such a thing, I think I'm okay.)

I'll be back in the bluff city soon enough. Maybe the Mississippi River is more responsible for my mystical arts than I realized (Mark Twain would agree).

Then I can "force" myself into isolation--which is completely different than being bored to tears...believe me.


EDIT: All I can think about now after titling this post is THIS POEM by Anne Sexton...which means you have to go read it too.


val said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one not writing. Is it the lack of deadlines?? I think that's what it is for me. I'm always scared that means I'm not a real writer, that real writers love to WRITE, whereas I just love to read. We should give each other deadlines.

janet said...

Since I know you, I'm going to go with the term "Summer Slump" theory.

I've already got a "plan" for a "system" with a writing partner once I get back to Memphis. But yes, DEADLINES.

I'll get back to you on it.



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