Me and the Solonely Sisters

home alone with a clean driveway

home alone with a clean driveway

The storm that walloped the Maritimes left a carpet of slush covering the considerable driveway here at my Antigonish home. Not enough to write home about, but enough to blog about. I pushed it aside with a nice blue shovel my landlord kindly provided, ploughing from the house to the side of the driveway, probably thirty or forty times. It wasa lot like using an old fashioned typewriter, rather than swimming lengths in a pool, because I kept walking back to the house to start a row rather than shovelling from the side where the last row ended. Not very efficient energy-wise but i didn’t want to pile snow against the house, because i didn’t want it melting and running over the driveway and freezing. My friend is driving up from the South shore on Tuesday and I wanted the drive to be as safe and ice-free as possible.

I liked shovelling the slush. It was warm and damp and envigorating, and not too much, just enough to prime me for a walk up to Cathy’s to put some poetry in her mailbox. Two boys next door to her were building a snow fort using buckets to shape the blocks like sand castles. It should have been a sign to me, that they were able to do it– that they weren’t building a slush fort instead. As I continued walking briskly around the block, it got cooler and drizzly and I felt the lack of mini windshield wipers on my glasses. I was glad to come home and put mincemeat pies in the oven!

A good day is one in which I don’t eat too much, get some exercise, and write some. Today was one of those, a three star day, the kind of day I hope most days will be. A four star day would be one in which I manage 500 words on the novel (not much I know but it seems to be my limit at one sitting) as well as a bit on the other projects I’m working on… and go for a long walk or a swim (still waiting to try the ST FX pool) And the much-coveted five star day… well, I will leave that to your most fecund imaginations.

I have been enjoying the solitude, when not lamenting the loneliness. Actually, just yesterday I learned to shake hands with both of them. They are like conjoined twins- the Solonely Sisters- you can’t have one for tea without the other. Solitude and loneliness are two faces of the same being, an entity that has become like a companion to me. What I mean by that is that it is something that exists outside of me, whose needs I need to think about, pay attention to, attempt to address. When solitude is talking to me, loneliness faces the other way, staring out the window. But when solitude turns away, loneliness is there, ready for a tete-a-tete. Over Christmas I didn’t like loneliness, tried to avoid conversing with her; but I am beginning to appreciate her, and not just as the price I need to pay to enjoy the company of solitude. Embracing loneliness is on the way to my becoming a free-standing, free-wheeling, neuroses-free, and just plain free human being, or so I like to think.

Still I would like to try to live with other human beings again. That time may be coming sooner than I thought, and what it will do for(to?) my writing I am not sure. I won’t be ale to sit at the kitchen table with my laptop and a huge mess of keys, books, paint brushes and pill bottles in front of me. Will I be able paint in the kitchen, talk to myself in the shower and use the bedroom floor as my desk? That remains to be seen. I once thought I could live with anyone, but I am not sure that anyone can live with me… me and my mess, me and my soloneliness.

21 thoughts on “Me and the Solonely Sisters

  1. Glad to hear you had a three star day. Mine was the same.
    Yes, the Solonely sisters are just aspects of the same thing, the difference is in our perception. I’ve just finished listening to The Mindful Way Through Depression and was thinking of you, Anna. I’m going to start prescribing mindfulness to my patients. It’s more powerful than any drug.
    Sending greetings from green Vancouver.

  2. yes i am supposing mindfulness is helpful to many people…but someone told me she had seen research sdaying for people with psychosis it can be problematic… I know when I am ill it is not something that would help, but when i am well maybe… anyway the Solonelies and I are doing fine togeher for the time being….

  3. Hi Anna, this is Susan, Kathi’s creative friend. ( I also have a travel blog on WordPress )Kathi sent me a link to your blog.
    What a wonderful way to clarify a problem that all creative types have. There is always that quandary for me also. I have to be on my own to create, but end up feeling lonely if I’m on my own too much. Finding that balance is a challenge. I like your idea of embracing the loneliness as I often resist it.
    I’ve also begun writing and have found that to be such a rich and wonderful way to connect and communicate with others – thus feeling less lonely.
    Just a little feedback – I found myself transferring your story into the present tense part way through and really liked the effect!
    Good luck with your winter ‘sabbatical’

    • hi Susan.thanks for the comments on my blog. I see yours is about your road trip!will be an interesting read i am sure. I am not sure but i think most people who are alone a lot must struggle with the issue… artists or not. Right now I am struggling to keep my eyes open so think I better have a nap! All the best for you, your writing and other creative work in 2013!

  4. Hi Anna; Top of the year to you! Just finished doing a Church walkway myself. First snow removal of the season for me. I feel about 101 years old right now:)

    Back and forth and back and forth,
    Anna shovelled the snow.
    Back and forth and back and forth,
    Winter is here. I know! 😉

    Cheers to 2013!

      • Well Anna; We have met on several occasions. I do remember you calling me your rhyme master on one of them.
        Remember now? 😉
        Cheers to the world of creative writing Anna!

      • I’m doing OK now Anna! thanks for asking!
        Pretty well recovered from having a brain tumor removed about 3 1/2 months ago now. Hopefully on the mend.
        Sounds like you are having an interesting Winter so far?
        20+ below last night.
        Must be lots of creative juices needing to escape in words for us to mind enhance with welcome receptions?
        What you wrote so far in this thread and maybe what you might write next and next,going to try to incorporate into your book you are working on?
        Shame such vibrancy and everydays can’t be read by your book viewing audience as well?
        Writing has to be fun!
        Writing on a schedule is very difficult and when not fun,those vibrant and creative mind juices won’t flow near as easy as when there is fun in the air!
        Maybe pretend you are writing a chapter each day just for this audience with fun and meaning instead of a future book with maybe not the charm it would have if you did not know your audience and no critics and encouragers?
        Those chapters don’t need to be in order and can still be edited and proofed?
        What do you have to lose when you have hinted that you struggle to write your quota each day when writing to us will flow so easy and so quickly?
        Very few if any have done so in this way of writing?

        Just a thought Anna?
        Conversations back and forth give rise to many inspirations!
        Why write a math book when it is boring with only numbers when writing romantic equations with those very same numbers have so much more meaning and will capture the reading audience ten fold?

        Cheers to your book no matter what styles you use and what contents you choose to use!
        Best wishes for a successful launch and sales!

      • george, well sometimes writing is work, no getting around it! but mixing it up a little is good.. I am doing a bit of freelancing too…all good… wow hope you are ok post brain tumour! that’s major. something to writ ebaout for sure!

      • george, well sometimes writing is work, no getting around it! but mixing it up a little is good.. I am doing a bit of freelancing too…all good… wow hope you are ok post brain tumour! that’s major. something to writ ebaout for sure!

  5. I have fairly active imagination – and I can’t imagine much of a better thing to do than to celebrate a friend’s three star day. I always enjoy every word you write…. and every word I hear you speak Anna. Thank you. Bri

  6. Anna! I’m very comforted to read your daily routines from your blog. It makes the distance from Vancouver and Antigonish seem only a pebble throw away… I have always enjoyed your thoughts and musing. Keep it up! If anything, it certainly gives me thoughts to ponder…

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