Tunes for a Monday Morning
Nonsense and Foolery

Stories in the woods

Nattadon Woods

My husband is often on the road with theatre work, and our daughter is grown and living in the city, so the hound and I are frequently on our own for days or weeks at a time now. I have always loved silence and solitude, so marriage to a peripatetic thespian suits me fine -- gifting me with quiet swathes of time to sink down deep into my work...or to disappear into the woods...punctuated by sweet reunions when our tiny house
overflows with family life.

Writing, says novelist Paul Auster, is "an odd way to spend your life -- sitting alone in a room with a pen in your hand, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, struggling to put words on pieces of paper in order to give birth to what does not exist, except in your head. Why on earth would Fox by Inga Mooreanyone want to do such a thing? The only answer I have ever been able to come up with is: because you have to, because you have no choice."

But for some of us, sitting alone in a room (or in the woods) is one of the pleasures of the writing life. It's not something I endure in order to write, it's something I crave, and the writing rises from it. That's not to say I'm not sociable at other times, but creativity for me (as opposed to the collaborative nature of my husband's theatre work) is a process born from solitude, nested in silence.

"It is really hard to be lonely very long in a world of words," says poet Naomi Shihab Nye. "Even if you don't have friends somewhere, you still have language, and it will find you and wrap its little syllables around you and suddenly there will be a story to live in."

Nattadon Woods 2

Wild Words series

What about you? Are you a solitary artist? A collaborative one? Where do you instinctively go to find the stories you live inside of...?

Nattadon Woods 3

Wild Words series

Words: The quotes above are from "I Want to Tell You a Story" by Paul Auster (The Guardian, November, 2006) and I'll Ask You Three Times, Are You Okay? by Naomi Shihab Nye (HarperCollins, 2007). The poem excerpt in the picture captions is from "Valentine for Ernest Mann" by Naomi Shihab Nye, published in Red Suitcase (Perfection, 1994). All rights reserved by the authors. Pictures: Nattadon Woods in early autumn. The fox is by Inga Moore.

Comments

I need people and company. Solitude for me allows the demons of self-doubt and lack of confidence to dance rampant around my head. Of course writing stories and making pictures are by their very nature solitary acts. Email and social media help, you can reach out to others who may be literally miles away, but who, as fellow writers and artists, can give the solace of a simple chat about work and its intricacies, about its difficulties and also its joys. All of which helps to keep the demons at bay.

Alone


This is my cave,
my cell,
my womb,
the place of creation,
my light bulb
my room.
My diner
My kitchen,
my workshop,
my home
where characters
greet me.
I'm never
alone.


©2019 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

A place that I don't want to long
expect for when trees and waves and skies are
are my Nabors in tows moment I plant
my seal in seeds of imprison and crate

Jessica Bigi

Being alone is definitely something I've always been comfortable with since I was little. And that helps with my writing. I struggle to dive deep enough into the creative depths when there are others around. Although I enjoy being around people I don't find draining, my default is to retreat to my own space where I can mentally digest and sift through outside inspiration and inner thoughts.

I need solitude like a bear needs salmon, but there are a few online haunts I keep coming back to, Myth and Moor being one of them.

Knowing that there are others out there who care about the same things I do gives the isolation a sense of excitement; a feeling that even though each of us are tucked away in the folds of our own little valley or corner of the city, we're still working toward something together.

What that thing is I hesitate to put into words, but I think - I hope - you know what I mean.

Sometimes
Yvonne Mokihana Calizar

Sometimes the fact I rise from bed at all is the best tickle line, "She made it," cheers the peanut gallery of my imagination and the day rolls from there.
Sometimes the solitude is big narrative, enough to feed the physicality that can imagine the plot but wears no evidence on a page,
Sometimes the deep oceans swim me to unspeakable emotions and only when I Beach on a sandy shore with footprints can the story find Voice.
Sometimes.

Generous open post you leave for us to join in. Thanks Terri!

I grew up with twelve siblings, then had five sons. Grandchildren followed, but now they too are grown and gone. Finally I have long periods of time to be alone. I need quiet and solitude to do my best thinking and writing. My husband is often underfoot but usually leaves me be, a blessing. I enjoy the company of others and opportunities occasionally to write in a group setting, but my choice is to be alone, on my porch, in the garden, in the woods or by a river, where my mind is free to roam and dwell where it will.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a family of introverts, and now I live with another introvert. I have the Underground (basement) to paint and write in when I need the silence. Otherwise, outside is the place for inspiration.

To create; solitary, definitely. With people around I daren't let ideas come because someone might blunder through the precious strand before I follow it to the end and they never come quite the same way agin.
It's only this year that I've realised I am a sociable introvert. I need good company, but best in small groups or 1-to-1...and then I need to retreat, to do the work, to remember myself, to grow.

Lynn, apologies for threadjacking.
I'm Terri's new assistant and I'm trying to track Lynn McMillan who is a Bumblebee patron of Terri's, so I can send some Patreon rewards.
If this is you, please would you update your email with Patreon? Currently, your server's 'misconfigured', apparently.
Thank you!
Lunar Hine

I need solitude like I need air, and I need to work alone, too. I recently accepted a commission to write for the theater, and that kind of communal writing proved a huge challenge for me. I do my best work if I get to be in a bubble of solitude, alone with my thoughts, not speaking to anyone, for days at a time. This was doable before I had kids; now, not so much. But I try to recreate the feeling of solitude, by for instance avoiding social media. It's harder and harder to be truly alone, when you have the whole world in your phone.

I need solitude desperately and a little darkness to create.
I think you will like this artist Terri,https://www.jilllewisartist.com/new-work-2016-2017
Her instagrams a bit better jilllewis.art

Such a lovely post and responses - I've been away from Myth & Moor too long. Thank you for being here, Terri.

My needs for solitude and company are cyclical. I often find myself craving connection, but after several days of conversation or social events, my desire to withdraw is profound. Writing & music come in similar waves. I often wish I could better predict my moods and needs, but am slowing learning to let go and drift. 💙

A beautiful post. Thank you. As you, I crave solitude. A bit difficult when having kids around (2 living with us, 2 are grown ups), but luckily we live near the sea and the forest. So I go there often, sitting on the stones and the cliffs, or on the mossy beds under an old tree. Having no smartphone (and no social media) helps a lot too.

I need both, at different times, depending on what I'm working on. When I'm percolating an idea, I like to have solitude, time to sit and daydream and see what comes, and writing, poetry and songwriting definitely require quiet time alone. Even my visual art needs a quiet space without too much distraction. I could quite happily spend days alone, not speaking at all. Sadly, I don't have much chance of this, living in a very small space with a husband who works from home and two teenage daughters (not to mention a large hairy dog!), so I crave a 'room of one's own'. But I also adore working with others in collaboration, most particularly in performance, community theatre and dance, because the collective energy always works such marvellous magic in creating pieces that I simply could not do alone. There is an electric sense of building energy to the point of sparks crackling between us when a group of like-minded people get together to create, ideas flow and spring into life so quickly.

I need both, at different times, depending on what I'm working on. When I'm percolating an idea, I like to have solitude, time to sit and daydream and see what comes, and writing, poetry and songwriting definitely require quiet time alone. Even my visual art needs a quiet space without too much distraction. I could quite happily spend days alone, not speaking at all. Sadly, I don't have much chance of this, living in a very small space with a husband who works from home and two teenage daughters (not to mention a large hairy dog!), so I crave a 'room of one's own'. But I also adore working with others in collaboration, most particularly in performance, community theatre and dance, because the collective energy always works such marvellous magic in creating pieces that I simply could not do alone. There is an electric sense of building energy to the point of sparks crackling between us when a group of like-minded people get together to create, ideas flow and spring into life so quickly.

I need both, for different pursuits. Solitude for writing, song crafting, poetry and art, and collaboration for performance and theatre...and everything a bit mixed up too, there isn't a definite divide!

I need both too, for different pursuits. Solitude for writing, song crafting, poetry and art, and collaboration for performance and theatre...and everything a bit mixed up too, there isn't a definite divide! But I definitely get that 'stretched thin' feeling after being sociable for too long, and need to go to earth for a while.

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