KingMidget's Ramblings

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Maybe It’s Me

Yesterday, I shared a quote from Hemingway about writing being a lonely life.  It prompted a lot of comments from my fellow bloggers/writers.  If there’s anything I would like my blog to be it’s a place for conversation.  So, in that spirit …

Maybe “lonely” is the wrong word, although there’s some truth as it applies to me, I believe.

Years ago, my first job out of law school required that I travel quite a bit.  More often than not, I looked forward to my trips.  A chance to get away, to relax, to just do my own thing.  And when I got to my destination I was almost always bored.  Lonely.  Missing people and interaction.  I was a hearing officer.  Which basically means I was like the judge.  In special education hearings where parents are unhappy with how school districts were meeting the needs of their disabled children.  The hearings took all day.  Some times, day after day after day.  Because of my role, I couldn’t really interact with the parties.  I was supposed to be neutral, impartial.  As a result, the idea of engaging the parents, attorneys, or school employees in some real dialogue was, well not gonna happen.  I remember calling a co-worker late one afternoon and telling her how much I craved real human interaction when I was on the road.

Fast forward a few years and I discovered writing — something I had always wanted to do, but had not figured out.  One day, I outlined a novel in my head on my drive home from work.  The door was blown open that day and I haven’t stopped writing since.  The problem is that the desire to write pulls me away from those valuable human   interactions.  It’s the yin and the yang of my existence.  I love nothing better than a great conversation with a good friend.  The opportunity to share feelings and thoughts, opinions and beliefs.  My best moments these days come in one-on-one exchanges with dear friends.  But, then, there are these other times when I want nothing more than to be left alone.  To be able to sit in a corner and think and write and be away.

I referred to it today with a colleague as living inside of my head.  These stories never stop spinning there.  The desire to write the next compelling blog post is front and center up there in the cobwebby recesses.  I think of a story and how much I want to write it, and then I go to a get together, or a meeting, or to work, or work on a yard project, and want to crawl into a ball.  “No,” I want to scream.  “Leave me alone.  Don’t you understand?  There’s this story.  It’s right there.”  And, in my vision, I point at my forehead.  “It has to come out.  I’m tired of it being there.  Please.  Just.  Stop.  All of this other nonsense must end so I can get the story out.”

But, that’s not what life is like.  There’s the job.  The one I have to have to support the family.  There’s the house and its call on my time.  There’s this.  There’s that.  There is so much stuff that interferes with what’s in my head.  And that’s what leaves me feeling lonely.  Isolated.  Alone.

There are many reasons for this, but my goal in the next few years is to escape it all.  As a state worker, magic things will happen for me in terms of health care and retirement the day I turn 55.  My youngest will be 22 then and hopefully done with his undergraduate education.  Hopefully.  It is that moment when I will escape all of this responsibility.  It’s only six years away now.

I take days off every once in awhile now.  Not tied to a vacation or something specific.  Just a day off here or there.  A couple of weeks ago, I had one.  A bike ride, a nap, a little bit of writing, some cooking.  That’s a day for me.  Our garage door broke today.  I’ll have to hang out at home and wait for the repairman.  Dang.  So many choices, so little time.

Anyway, there’s something about this writing thing that has pulled me away from people.  My immediate family.  Doesn’t read my blog.  Rarely asks me about what I’m writing.  I go to get-togethers with good friends and wonder why I’m there when I could be sitting and writing.  And, then, when I have some time, I waste it with the distractions of the modern world.  Maybe though, given my family’s seeming lack of interest, it isn’t writing that has pulled me away.  Instead, it is writing that provides me with a haven.  A place to be.  Away from the deficits in the rest of my life.

Chicken or the egg.  What comes first?  Writing or isolation.  Art or loneliness.  What do you think?  Is it me?


15 responses to “Maybe It’s Me

  1. Sahm King April 29, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Loneliness. For me, anyway. That always proceeded the art.

  2. Bastet April 29, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. My mother always said that she’d raised me as a “hot house” baby. I never went to kindergarden and had my first social contacts when I was 7. Living in a military family, means you travel alot…and you lose site of what little friendships you’ve been able to make…my adult life until the last 20 years has been a roaming from country to country, town to town…I’ve always had a lot of great acquaintances though..I like people and sharing ideas. When you pull the sum though, I guess I’ve known a lot of loneliness, only I never really recognized it as such. Reading was my first passion and I could spend days in my books, which have always been my greatest friends…writing, throughout the years has been the conversations, the memories, whatever, that I’ve shared with faceless persons in my imagination…not to say I didn’t also share them with real people, I just had more hours alone to think about things so I wrote them down too.
    My youngest son is my fan, he reads my short stories and a poem from time to time, and he’s been blogging since his early teens…my husband is an artist, and would prefer I return to graphic arts…he read some of my blogs in the beginning, and said I write very well…but…
    I have on my desktop this meme: “Only a writer…will hold converstions between people who don’t exist. We don’t talk to ourselves… we talk to the peple we created.”
    Once they said that to be an artist you had to suffer…I don’t know anything about that…usually if I’m suffering, I don’t do much creating…but as for writing, I think maybe a little loneliness can be an incentive to write, instead of just thinking about life, you tell about it…and now you can blog too and meet up with people who understand something of your life experience. Is meeting in a “virtual” plaza to talk with people any less meaningful than meeting strangers in a “real” plaza? Maybe… it’s hard to say.

    • kingmidget April 30, 2013 at 7:25 am

      So much in there, I don’t know what to respond to first. 🙂 For a long time, I didn’t place much importance in my writing. It was just writing stories. I’m a “late bloomer” at this thing as somebody else described it. Having started, with my first novel, when I was in my late 30’s. Since then, I haven’t stopped writing and it has become more and more significant. Where as the first years were filled with a lot of short stories and that first novel and then a second, lately it’s been more about blogging. I feel like the last year and a half hasn’t been very productive for me because of the blogging instead of writing. I think part of it is what you refer to as suffering. There are reasons I’m suffering and it saps me of my energy and the idea of writing — of working on one of my novels in progress, or a short story — just seems too much. So, I don’t, although I think retreating into my writing could be the best way to heal the suffering. And, that’s where most of my fiction writing is these days. Stories that I have come up with that get at the suffering and try to heal it. Suddenly, my writing has gained more significance — it’s not just about writing a story any more. There’s meaning and, yikes, maybe even a message now.
      I was born into a military family as well. Fortunately, by the time I came around, my father only had one move left, when I was one. Unfortunately, I’ve stayed in the same place ever since. 🙂

      • Bastet April 30, 2013 at 9:21 am

        I really believe that the writing as you put it usually helps…maybe the first stuff is too “sticky” but once you get past that the rest comes out and things come out better…it’s a contact with you…another blogger was saying the other day, that there comes a time when you have to have a me day…or maybe it’s me hours…she’s right. As I said, I never really felt lonely, you don’t miss what you don’t know…I’d feel sad to leave friends, but I knew there would be others…only later, when I came here and met people who had what I’d call roots did I feel that, yeah, something was missing in a way..but what’s one to do…by then I was over 45, made some closer ties outside of my family…but I just don’t have the knack. You know, the grass is always greener they say…I’ve always wondered how it would have been if I’d always lived in the same place…sigh…;-D

  3. Bastet April 29, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Reblogged this on Bastet and Sekhmet and commented:
    Is loneliness the price we pay for creativity, or is it the incentive that helps us to be creative?

  4. oliviaobryon April 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Interesting. I definitely know the living inside your head feeling. I’ve always had it, as long as I can remember. Sometimes I expect others to know what I’m thinking because I’m so deep inside my head. I think writing would feel lonelier for me if I didn’t go to a job surrounded by people all day. To be a true writer, who writes most of the day everyday sounds lonely, even if I’d love to be there.

    I used to write all day everyday some weeks at my old job– wouldn’t even speak a word to another person until I got home. That was lonely, but I also didn’t like what I was writing… When I write all day during the summer, I’m happy to be in my own little world. I kick and scream when it’s time to go back to this other dimension where I interact all the time. I find I’m more socially awkward when I’m in this space. Funny how hard it can be to switch between different worlds.

    I enjoyed this post. I had no idea you worked with families of special needs students. I’m sure that must have been heartbreaking at times.

    • oliviaobryon April 29, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      PS. Interestingly, as a quiet, inward person, I think maybe writing is the key to bridging some of the loneliness of being more of an introvert by nature. I can say a whole lot more with written words than I often can in person, (at least to people who I don’t know as well). I’ve made a lot of friends through blogging and Facebook that I may have been too shy to initiate the friendships with if we just met face to face– like I’m actually hanging out with my yoga instructor soon and it’s all because of FB/my blog. So maybe writing is a tool to escape loneliness too?

      • kingmidget April 30, 2013 at 7:14 am

        Yes, particularly through this blog, I have made friends with a huge group of people that I never would have befriended otherwise. Mostly, however, because they are far-flung. And, it’s an interesting thing, how the internet takes away some of those barriers — it’s much easier to start a conversation with a stranger here than it is in person. I’m still somewhat tongue-tied and flummoxed by the whole random conversation with a stranger concept.

      • oliviaobryon April 30, 2013 at 9:42 pm

        Agreed, so much easier to initiate conversations this way. I notice it helps people in my life connect with me too– people often come up to me and bring up something in my blog, starting conversations that never would have existed otherwise. 🙂

    • kingmidget April 30, 2013 at 7:17 am

      “Sometimes I expect others to know what I’m thinking because I’m so deep inside my head.” For me, it’s that I expect people to know that I’m in my head and they should leave me alone while I’m there. But, instead, they want to talk to me. There have been plenty of family meals where one of my kids looks at me and says something like “where are you?” to me. That’s not quite right, but it gets at the gist of their comment. I am very much a person who stares into space frequently. I wish I could have a summer where I could write day after day. It’s a thing I’ve never had and I would love to see if I could make it work. I hope you’re putting together your writing plans for this summer.
      Regarding that first job out of law school — yes it could be heart breaking. There are a couple of cases that will always stick with me.

  5. Lilith Colbert April 29, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    In my experience, writing came from HAVING a lonely life. Single mother raising a child she had no idea who the father was, sister ten years older and not around much, being sheltered because of sister’s mistakes in life, never to have friends over…. that coupled with Grandma’s cultivation of my creativity (“You want to learn, REALLY learn and know things? Go to the library, read a book!”) and curiosity, being overweight and shunned by the popular kids made me create characters that were my friends, my companions, and those companions needed their stories to be told.

    My family shows little interest in my blog, my writing, often declaring it is a waste of time. Just like they did growing up, urging me to get a “real job” instead of encouraging my goals and dreams of being a writer or singer. I’ve been belittled so much by my family for my frivolous activity that I truly never thought of being published, let alone start a blog lol! That’s why I consider myself a late bloomer, woken late in life from a spell wrought by jealousy, contempt, and misconception by a beautiful Muse that knew not what he unleashed.

    You long for your peers, your blood to appreciate your work, to be proud as your readers and friends of your talents, yet it seems the more talented you are, the more they try and squash you :/

    • kingmidget April 30, 2013 at 7:11 am

      I was not lonely and am not lonely now, except for this. The people with whom I spend most of my time — my immediate family — are people who really don’t seem to have an interest in my writing. It’s just one of those things I do that they can ignore while they watch TV. That’s where I feel lonely. But, there’s a larger loneliness at well that is “caused” more by my writing than anything else these days — the feeling of being alone in a room full of people because I’m lost in my head, thinking about a story.

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