Monday, August 13, 2007


It is so often said that writing is a lonely business, and I truly believe that. When I am feeling isolated, it seems as if words tumble unassisted out of my ‘Word Scrumble Bag’ into a sterling and meticulous arrangement. And with seemingly nothing more than a gentle tap on the ‘enter key’, the words are set in motion and ripple across the page like the smooth tide of dominoes tumbling against each other in measured sequence.

But at the moment, without that isolation, the garbage can in every room is full of feeble attempts that I have been forced to scrap. You may be thinking, “What the hell? You could have published those on your blog. There must have been something in that mess, some small tidbits worth digesting?”

But…No, that is not true. There is nothing there except reams of paper with 350 words per page that hold less fascination than smears on toilet tissue.

I mean, let’s face it. You know me well enough that if there was even a remote likelihood that something I had written might provoke thought, I would have salvaged it. Or, if any of it had done the other things I expect writing to do, I would have retrieved those bits as well.

But I seek a level of compliance. What my writing must first do is touch my own heart, mind, or soul, in some undeniable way. And then, in order for it to be passed on to you it must do more. It must be seductive, grounded, and objective. I know it seldom is, but that in no way alters my conviction of what it should be. I want it to pinch or cradle your heart. I want it to uplift or plunge your soul. I want it to enliven your mental state or calm your spirit. And barring all that, I want it, at the very least, to make you cry or smile. A tall order – but that is my conviction.

It is all so easy, when I am feeling solitary and alone cause that is when writers can really write the way they want to write.

Now the dictionary wrongly leads us to think that loneliness is all about the absence of other people. Big, bad error.

‘Loneliness’ is not the result of being in a solitary place, with no one around. The most extreme and austere feeling of loneliness more often occur in the midst of a mob. In crowded airports or busy shopping malls. I was never so lonely as when I lived in the city in a large apartment building. So, you see, it is not a solitary existence that causes loneliness. What causes loneliness for me, and I expect for most people, is the perception that no one in the crush around me, personally cares about me.

And so that brings me back to the difficulty I am currently having with writing blogs. I can lock myself in the bedroom or even take my laptop to the furnace room but I still have difficulty writing. It is because Hub is here, and in an exceptionally good mood which he has been in for weeks now. And in the midst of his good mood, through ESP, he is transferring to me a ‘caring aura’ that makes it quite impossible for me to feel isolated enough to write.

But I want to write, need to write, and since I cannot write in this climate of acceptance, love, and belonging, today I am determined it is going to end.

Now other people, in a similar position, who take their writing far too seriously, might want to piss in Hub’s cornflakes. Relax, I’m not going to do anything that extreme. Although, I am thinking about how disgusted he would be to find warm milk on his cold cereal. I’m also thinking of shrinking his favorite sweater, waking him up from his nap to talk to a pre-taped solicitor-conversation on the telephone, or putting margarine in the dish designated for butter. Not anything really nasty but still strategies that might work.

Silly, relatively harmless stuff that will make Hub cranky and impatient, and as a result of this impatience, I, being naturally insecure, will begin to doubt that he cares about me. And as soon as that doubt grips my thoughts, loneliness will be hard on its heels, and then I will go to my laptop and just write happily and unencumbered.

I mean obviously, if you love to write, and want to write, the way I do, sacrifices have to be made and drastic measures taken. Right now I am making a nice cup of tea for Hub with lukewarm water.

So chins up, out there in Cyberland, don’t blink. Cause if you do you’ll miss all those thought-provoking blogs that are going to come blasting in rapid succession into this space in the next few days.


Matty said...

You can always spray his cup with Raid like i did once to my ex. He did say it was the best coffee he ever had.
I know what you mean though. It seems ideas flow and my hands fly over the keys when I'm alone...or at least they are all sleeping.
I will look forward to your upcoming posts while I'm at the hospital with my grandson.
Just don't get Hubby too upset or venom will flow from your pen.
Have a great week!

Joy Des Jardins said...

I'm a little afraid of what we might see flowing on these pages at the expense of an exuberantly cheerful Hub. Be careful what you wish for Roberta...even if it does open your creative floodgates.

Roberta S said...

matty, I expect the Raid-thing was totally accidental. And of course you're right, don't want any venomous pens smoking charred trails across the paper.

My thoughts are with you and your grandson, matty. Hope you have a good week as well.

Roberta S said...

Hi joy, I do understand the comment you made. This was intended to be a light-hearted treatment of what prompts me to write. Still you are my friend, and I am glad that you feel comfortable enough to give me a nudge when I get a little carried away.

And joy, my dear friend, thank you too, for reminding me to appreciate Hub every single day and hour.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so Roberta gets Hub in a bad mood for a day or two. Just think of what loveliness will be written down before you have to make him chicken soup and an ice cream sundae.


Roberta S said...

Careful susan, don't be too complementry or supportive. Don't let me feel an 'aura of caring' coming from your comment. You'll damage my need for isolation and the conviction so necessary for me to write all that I promised to write. ;D

Dick said...

Well, good luck with the piss-him-off campaign, Roberta. I feel for you in your search for a little creative solitude. Fortunately, Emma has absolutely no interest whatsoever in the Patteran Pages & she retires to bed with Maisie at around 9.30. I then tuck myself into this corner & tap away in glorious elective solitude.

Roberta S said...

Very nice, dick. Nice that you've found a creative space that makes you happy.

Hub and I stay up late. Way too late most of the time. But if I seek solitude by getting up with the birds, here comes Hub. Too curious to stay in bed. Wondering what excitement has me stirring so early. It's beyond his understanding that anyone would get up early just to sit in silence and rattle the keys on the computer.

Matty said...

No wasn't accidental..I meant it.....good thing I didn't have arsenic handy! He did die later but not from my hand...unfortunately....well, fortunately for me.

Never insult the cook is a good rule to live by.

Thanks for your kind wishes. I'm sure my grandson will win the fight against cancer. He's one tough warrior.
Have a great week!