Treading the Loneliness Line

January 30, 2010 § 26 Comments

I’ve discovered I can only read The Sun in short spurts.  Occasionally in the letters section, a reader will say they find the content too depressing, and I struggle with this too. It’s powerful and real, and it can be difficult to read.

But reading a few pages at a time works, and allows me to absorb the information slowly, and appreciate the beauty of the writing.

This month, in his Notebook, Sy quoted poet Jimmy Santiago Baca:

“I think if anybody stays close to their loneliness, they’re always staying close to the edge. So when I’m by myself, which is a necessity when you’re a writer, I have to constantly deal with that bleak, despairing feeling. It’s a funny thing about loneliness. No matter what you try to do to fill it, you can never fill it. At the end of the day it looks at you and measures you exactly. We do an awful lot of things — at least, I do — to try to escape it. But when I can blend and merge with the loneliness, there’s an extraordinary feeling of fulfillment nothing else can compare with.”

Now I don’t feel so alone, although I’ll always tread the loneliness line. Do you?


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§ 26 Responses to Treading the Loneliness Line

  • Sean Fraser says:

    I’ve enjoyed all these comments ….I’m not lonely although I live on my own……..but I do get sad when I have to say goodbyes

  • Neil Reid says:

    Maybe this is something of the edge Pamela I feel with you sometimes, including the poems you write (beautiful, beautiful).

    Me, I was raised in loneliness. (Not completely, but a lot.) I’ve struggled against it, suckled at it breast, been nourished, been tormented too, till I saw the hand on the lock was my own. Now, thankfully, it is more choice than accident. I need, for me, a very quiet, still place from which to write, yet desire to bring what comes from that into shared relationship. And I do find a certain sweet tension between being alone and that desire for conjoined intimacy to be provocative of better sight and understanding too.

    (And I’d like to apologize for being some unattentive of late. Chalk it up to my hibernation of writing more (or less) as recent. Maybe I’m too much a peas and carrots man, each one by one, not all at once.) Another good provocative post Pamela!

  • Tricia says:

    I subscribe to The Sun, too. Funny the magazine title irony. I have some issues I haven’t even read yet, but I use the magazine’s stories sometimes to get me in the mood to write a short story.

    As for loneliness, as long as I’m writing, I’m not lonely.

  • rallentanda says:

    An artist creates alone.We live in a society where any kind of pain or discomfort is seen as something to be avoided, from grief to a headache. This sanitised approach to the human condition produces a plastic wrapped existence filled with mindless activities to keep reality at bay. Depending on your philosophy this may be seen as desirable.Comatosed anaesthetised living however never produces good art.Aldous Huxley wrote about this.

    • It’s hard for me to disagree with this, rallentanda. It’s the struggle with severe pain that can push us towards anesthesia, and sometimes it’s hard to come back from that.

  • mary says:

    I love being alone and I think I even love loneliness sometimes. It’s an interesting concept you pose. I spent a lot of my childhood alone so maybe it’s solitude that I love. I agree with Linda that there is a core of loneliness inside us all. Does it break us or does it inspire?

  • Linda says:

    Interesting discussion. I am not a lonely person, but there is a core of loneliness within me, as I believe there is within every person, we just fill it differently. I write.

  • G says:

    I haven’t experienced true loneliness in quite some time, but I do from time to time, experience it while in the company of other people. Except I call it “solitude”.

    • Perfect, G. Now we have another feeling/word to add to the continuum: loneliness, aloneness, solitude.

      Do you see a difference in them?

      • G says:

        Sometimes I do, but most of the time, I find them interchangeable. For the longest time, even I gave the appearance of being an extrovert, I was an incredibly private person, so it was almost like second nature to be by myself.

        I still am to a certain degree, and still find that I need that bit of solitude/aloneness, and yes, even loneliness in order to balance out my world.

  • While I’ve always appreciated the loneliness and desperation of the tortured writer, or tortured artist, I no longer experience it myself. I have to seriously recommend an amazing book which totally changed my perceptions and attitudes. ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckert Tolle. It’s not for everyone, but just take what you want and leave the rest. Maybe they even have it at your local library?

    The thing is…you can still tap into that deep emotional vein without having to suffer because of it.

    • I’ve read that book, Scott, and think it’s incredibly valuable. Your last sentence is interesting – I wonder if creative depth or detail is lost by observing, and not suffering.

    • bschooled says:

      I’ve read that book as well, and I agree. It made me see things much differently.

      As for my thoughts on loneliness, I’m not sure if this will make sense, but there are times when I actually enjoy it. I don’t feel lonely often, mind you (if I did, I wouldn’t have the same opinion), but I find that when I do, it tends to make me reflect more on my life and what I want out of it.

  • Loneliness has little to do with the number of people in and around your life. For me it has everything to do with being involved with something meaningful.

  • I know I have been blessed, but loneliness has never been my problem. Lack of time is another issue.

    Dr. B

  • When I am alone, I tell myself that I am alone before I get to tell myself that I am lonely. One is proactive (wanting to be alone) while the other is reactive (suddenly finding yourself without another person around).

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