NOTES ON POSTED NOTES
Solitude #1, #2 and #3
Before I give a scansion/ self-analysis of my first two Solitude verses (1 and 2) posted on this blog, I’ll give some background to all three written and posted thus far, for it is from ‘negative’ experiences that one can gain inspiration, and on the one hand, those people who play a part in it, through their corrosive personalities, or on the other, force of circumstance, has provided the backdrop to these verses (and also, in fact, for much of my writing).
Background: Unless a writer is living alone, then solitude could be regarded as a luxury. Through force of economic circumstances one is compelled to return to the nest, and that might not be easy to bear, after years of independence, of developing a persona, then, suddenly, one becomes a member of the precariat, educated, well-qualified, experienced but once again in the same situation as one was when one was 18 or 21 years old. It is particularly galling if the persons in question(relatives, parents), although they grudgingly accept a wounded-winged revenant under their roof again, possess thoroughly noxious personalities – so poisonous and vexatious they have alienated everyone they have ever been in contact with – as well as their own blood.
For a writer, having previously been accustomed to living alone and returning home from a job they dislike to the bliss of a silent flat (few of us, one expects, can stretch to a house), forced to work, or to be looking for work -which will finance their writing until the day their craft finances itself- to living under the same roof as a caustic personality makes one crave solitude more greatly than before. The writer is the rebel, the non-conformist, so naturally the vacuous critiques of those who live their prosaic, tunnel-vision, needs-of-the-market, anti-intellectual, un-think lives is the bane of our lives (as well as, perhaps, capitalism, the neo-liberal government, the neighbours etc.).
Who was it who said that the pram in the hall kills creativity? WH Auden? TS Eliot? In any event, they would be right (JK Rowling is the monumental exception). Singleness, solitude is a matter of choice, not consequence for writers such as yours truly. Not merely as an economic choice, but as a state of being, that this state of oneness is essential for one’s craft. The needs of someone else, to say something at mealtimes just for the sake of saying something rather than eat in blissful silence, or the need to put a screw in the wall lest the whole building collapses, to put down one’s pen or to log out to meet the needs of a screaming small human who, naturally, would not know what ‘silence’ means, to not be able to close one’s door to one’s own space without someone else barking and bellowing that one hasn’t put back the cap on the shampoo, or to hear the boom of the gogglebox, to hear the crap programmes that that person watches (dancing-singing talent shows , quiz shows, celebrity chit-chat, and other mindless shite); all of this, and other reasons too legion to list here, all of this is why the writer must have solitude, and silence.
One cannot choose the family one was born into (for which my ‘Blood’ verses in the Reflections series will testify), but one can choose solitude by having no attachments of one’s own if one sees one’s writing is a priority. It is not being ‘mean’ or selfish’; rather, the writer-as-rebel will argue the other party is a conformist lemming. The same applies to one’s relationships with friends, associates, and colleagues. Everyone needs one’s own space, especially writers. Not all of us possess the means for a month’s retreat to rural France, Italy, Ireland, or even a second home, or an apartment in a beautiful city in Europe in which the cultural life can provide inspiration. Hence, if one other caustic, person in one’s household can be as frustrating and irritating as sharing a house full of toddlers high on sugary products, do not be offended if your writing friend doesn’t want company.