In front of the John Lennon Wall in Prague.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Slice of Life Tuesday: Solitude and Sadness

Today after I drove my friend, Ruth to the airport, "Claire de Lune" came on the radio. I've always found this piece by Debussy to be sweetly melancholy, and today it was the perfect music for my mood.

Now I sit in my house alone with just my own thoughts and notebook for company. I've looked forward to this solitude. The promise of this time got me through the last hectic weeks of work before summer vacation, of tying up the loose ends of the school year. But now that I have what I wanted, I wish my friend had not left.

Just a week ago at this time I was in Sea Ranch on the Northern California coast in a funky rental house on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Two of my writer friends shared this house with me. Down the road, two other houses, both filled with other friends. Nine women who had come together for our annual writer retreat. That whole week the presence of my friends surrounded my writing with love.

I remember the first time I went to camp when I was 10. I was nervous and apprehensive the whole long drive up to the campgrounds. I didn't know anyone and wasn't sure what to expect. Then it turned out to be such a glorious experience. When my parents came to pick me up after the week was over, I cried all the way home in the car. Every time I leave Sea Ranch, I think of that long-ago car ride.

Today I don't feel quite as bereft as that 10-year-old girl.  Just a little sad.  I guess it's to be expected, coming down from the exuberance of this year's experience of what my sister calls Poetry Camp. As all of us have flown off to our private corners, I am grateful for the flurry of texting, photos and emails we've sent each other. We find it hard to let go sometimes.

I know we will stay in touch over the year, but it's not the same as sitting around the table laughing and eating, writing together, or listening to each other read new work. Nothing can replace that shared community.  I'll have to wait until next June for that.


  1. Lovely. I have plans to reconnect with my writer's notebook. How do you balance what goes into your notebook and what goes on the computer? A couple of people suggested the notebook for idea collection and very rough drafts, and the computer for actual composition.

  2. Adrienne, You've posed a good question. For me, I always start out writing in my notebook. I really do believe that there is a brain-hand connection that is lost on the computer. I start all drafts in my notebook - poems, blogs, even essays. For longer pieces I may go to the computer sooner than I would for a poem, but the notebook is where everything starts.

    I know this doesn't work for everyone. However, a good writer buddy of mine is starting a new novel. She's decided to start her drafts by hand so she slows down to be more mindful as she writes.

    I'd love to hear what you decide.