“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
I create in complete solitude. It is my way. It is authentic for me. It is how I play and remain in intimate touch with myself. Solitude is artistic, sensual, indulgent, intellectual, soothing and energizing at the same time, allowing me to go out into the world with more of myself than would be possible were I not to insist on ample alone time.
When I design in quiet, there is nothing to disturb the birth of an idea. No one to casually enter the room and ask what I’m doing. No intrusion from anyone’s else’s energy field or mood. No one else’s opinion, voice, vision or ideas with which to compete. No other artistic stimulus threatening to displace whatever impossible notions might rise up from the bottom of my creative well, no matter how low the water level might be at any given time due, perhaps, to a prolonged drought.
No contrary voice telling me it won’t be possible, for instance, to pull a mold off a gold Lemon Peel ring with jagged edges and a moon-cratered surface. No, stubbornly, I stick with my original instinct, ignoring the suggestions of those who carefully, dutifully, protectively, and perhaps even wisely, warn me of my impending folly – it will be too expensive, the edges too fragile, too difficult to finish and polish, its allover design will make it impossible to size, these concerned voices say. When I am alone, there are no nagging voices to whisper in my ear, “You silly woman, make it thinner and it will be less expensive, make it narrower and it will fit more people, do this, do that, change this, change that…”
Ah, Yes, solitude. There is no other way for me to create. Nor to write. I have been this way since I was a child. I talk out loud to myself, and when I do it alone I am never self-conscious, for it is perfectly normal and utterly sane to me. When I do it in the company of people who do not know me, I catch the look on their faces as my lips turn a phrase over and over out loud. I need to hear the words, their syllables and consonants, the way they fit together, the way they look splattered against the air.
I need to know that were my words whispered by spirits in the woods they would sound the same as I hear them in my head.
And I need to know a lemon would feel honored by my creative notion of it, which could never happen were I not to make my way toward it…in complete solitude.
NOTE: This post I originally published in My Favorite Conversations blog on January 3, 2013 on Google+, on which a lovely conversation between 92 comments ensued. It remains one of my favorite conversations from 7 years spent writing on and conversing with people from all over the world on Google+ and I wanted to preserve it here.