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The Difference Between Loneliness and Solitude

I'm safely ensconced in the "gite" in Auvillar, at the top of the hill, in a village built on 12th century walls.  My students will start arriving over the weekend; they are coming to write poetry with me.   Meanwhile, I go through several lifetimes in a day.  In the morning, I write, and my aloneness is productive and fanciful.  That's solitude, the cherished state for a writer. 

In the afternoon, fatigued and alone, I am seized by intense feelings of isolation and even paranoia.  Why hasn't my old friend Odette responded to my note?   Did I offend her in some way?  Why isn't Lucy inviting me to have coffee?  Is she bored with me?  Has she become so utterly French that now I am the simple American and she is the beautiful blue creature from Avatar?

Then I put on my bravery mask, go out the door into the 12th century village (with a cafe, creperie, and min-mart), and knock on Odette's door.  She's home!  She's happy to see me!  Miracle of miracles, every day communion.  We chat honestly and like two women who are long-lost friends, in French, sometimes writing things down.   I am rescued by her warmth.  I had no reason to fear the loss of her affection.

I stop by Christophe's and offer him a copy of Eluard signed to him and his amie.  Tomorrow is his 50th birthday, but he doesn't tell me that.  I find out from someone else (thank goodness.)  He invites me over for drinks tomorrow night at his house.

I am being social and interacting in French.    Tomorrow I will see Cheryl, I am invited to dinner at her house.

Still, left to myself I have moments of falling off the edge of the earth.  And I think of my old friend May Sarton, of her Journal of a Solitude.   And I write.

Comments
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Marilyn, I read today that

Marilyn, I read today that Luis Bunuel wrote somewhere, that solitude is marvellous, provided you can talk to somebody about it afterwards. I'm glad you talked about it. I enjoyed the flavour of your day - the sheer intensity of connection and the other sense too, the balance so to speak. m

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P.,S.

I love the Bunuel quote!  Thank you--

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Marilyn - glad you like the

Marilyn - glad you like the quote, I knew you would. If the Ash cloud was not such a threat I might just board a Ryanair flight and hit Auvillar and join you - I could really do with some solitude! m

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You are helping me...

to put things in perspective!  Thank you!

That ash cloud is a big old pain in the ash, no?  Is slowing down the air traffic into Paris--  though I know it's worse where you are.

 Volcanoes should stay inside poems!

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I hope the lava of

I hope the lava of inspiration flows for you Marilyn - and the lucky students in your sphere! Enjoy. Salut. m

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From your mouth to God's ear, Sweetheart!

I hope the students will feel it's worth the expense and long journey (around spears of lava, no less!) 

Hope your work is going well!  xoxo

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Ready to write near a volcano

on the Big Island - Marilyn, this is your doing! I'm leaving next Saturday and I can hardly wait. I know I'll be meeting one of your graduate students, and another poet from Britain, Anthea Penne, and an artist. I am looking forward to long early morning walks on the beach, long afternoons of writing and evenings with excellent company, ending with another walk. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your poetry, your lovely presence here and on fb.

Where you are now, what you are doing, seem so incredibly wonderful - I wish I were a poet and could go on this journey with you. I cherish my isolation when I have its luxury. All will be well for you there as you already know.

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Where I am now--and Aloha!

Darling I am in Auvillar, France, teaching poetry and writing!

I'm so glad you're going to the Big Island.  You'll think you're in heaven!

You will love Jessie, and she you!

It's all poetry--- dive in!  Aloha!  Marilyn