Friday, November 21, 2008

The Pleasure of Isolation

I'm sitting at Bucketworks in Milwaukee tonight with a bunch of web geeks, and it's amazing that ever person here has two things: a computer (some of them more than one) and no problem at all sitting next to someone and not talking to them. As a writer, I've never been afraid that moment when I have to sequester myself in a room and block out all the distractions to just sit and write. That sort of isolation is not so much that (isolation) as it is putting yourself in that place of peace that allows you to function at full capacity.

Isolation is part of the modus operandi of a writer, but we thrive in community - or we should - because that sort of collaborative environment, wherein we interact with others who have a similar passion, we truly do thrive. I marvel sometimes at how my wife and I can be sitting in the same apartment - sometimes even in the same room - and chat with one another through instant messaging. It's part of our society, I suppose, but there's something in me that always longs for long conversations sitting at a coffee shop without all that digital mumbo-jumbo. To discuss writing is to bring it more fully into my own mind. My father always said that the best way to demonstrate how well you knew something was to teach it to someone else. Isolation does not facilitate that.

Moving on. I finished one of the short stories I've been working on. It was inspired by a selection of photos by an Australian photographer. I was intrigued by it and by its history and by the superstition that comes to fall on such a place. So I wrote about it. It's only three thousand words, but I'm pleased with it. I don't know that I'll be finishing NaNo, despite the completion of said piece, but I'm not disappointed as I once was. It's an accomplishment to me to be able to finish as much work as I have done so far. If I can finish at least one other short story and perhaps begin compiling some of the other work I've been doing, that will be a successful endeavor.

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