Whilst away last weekend, I read an interesting article on solitude in The Australian Weekender magazine, by writer Nikki Gemmell. She says: ‘aloneness can have a vast restorative power … it’s a space for your mind to uncurl … in the lovely, glittery alone, a door opens to a possibility and it’s when novel ideas sneak in, titles roar with their rightness and surprising character arcs veer me back to excitement over a project that hasn’t been singing.’
Oh, oh, oh how those words resonate.
I have always been a creature as much at home with my own company as that of the world. For me, daily chatting over coffee, or going to noisy restaurants, to large parties or assemblies of people who bray and screech hasn’t really made my life sing anything like the silence of nature. And of course nature isn’t silent at all; its sounds act like a meditative mantra, lulling one into a perfectly receptive state.
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy meeting my BF’s for the occasional coffee and cookie and to hear what they have been doing in that big wide world out there; or that I don’t enjoy getting together with my husband and our closest friends for a regular 2×2 dinner for the very same reason. I do, naturally. They wouldn’t be my BF’s otherwise.
But on a daily basis, I am content to be alone (the dogs are part of that alone-ness) to achieve gently, what I want to achieve.
Gemmell said: ‘For grizzly old curmudgeons like myself solitude is never overcomplicated, stressful, loud – and most certainly never lonely.’
It’s a comforting state. I sometimes wonder if it’s essentially a state wished for only by introverts, because I am that, I know. In its own way, such a typecast has caused me no end of difficulty. But I’m now at an age where I don’t have to prove anything to anyone really, least of all that I need to constantly be a part of a society that is noise-some.
I remember jokingly remarking to someone once that in my old age I would be that eccentric woman down the road who lives with two overly communicative Jack Russell terriers. Not far off that now, I can tell you!
But back to Gemmell. She calls solitude ‘my brewing house for creativity, my Laboratrium of Wonder.’
I can’t help but agree. It’s a rare enough day that if I am ‘alone’, some tremendous idea doesn’t spring up saying ‘Look at me, look at what I can do for this story.’
* Nikki Gemmell ‘(born 1966) is an Australian author, best known for anonymously writing the best-selling erotic novel The Bride Stripped Bare. Gemmell’s narrative style has gained her critical and popular acclaim in France. She has been described as a “female Jack Kerouac“. In 2007, the French literary magazine Lire included her in a list of what it called the fifty most important writers in the world – those it believed would have a significant influence on the literature of the 21st century. She currently writes a column for The Australian newspaper.’ (Wikipedia)