We have been waiting for high-speed internet, which is scheduled to arrive the end of June. I’m as excited as when we got electricity a few years ago. And that thought brought back some memories. Like generating electricity from a water wheel. Melting snow on a wood stove for washing. Waking up in the mornings with blankets frozen to the wall. I also remember times when I would go into town to pick up mail and realize for whatever reason, power was out and everything dark. I wouldn’t know because I had my own little environment at home that was separate from county power.
That leads me to think about writing as a practice that requires long spaces of time in isolation. Even if that isolation is simply alone in our thoughts giving birth to a story. I’ve posted in the past about writing in coffee houses, but really, the highest percentage of writing is done alone. And yet as all writers know a conundrum exists in that besides requiring isolation we also need exposure, people to watch, conversations to eavesdrop on, experiences to learn from. We must write with a swinging door, slamming it shut while the words pour out, and swinging it wide open when the words dry up.
For me, isolation, whether in writing or in my personal life, feeds me and keeps me sane. My rough home in the woods gives me the foundation I need to let words out, so that I can then go out into the world and collect some more. At least until I get on people overload. Luckily my husband and son have the same tolerance level for crowds and noise. And luckily they understand when I need to retreat, just me and the words. And the woods, and the creek, and the wind…oh, and the occasional bear seeking his own isolation in my garbage can.