James Dickey wrote in a letter to a friend, “When loneliness becomes creative rather than destructive, the artist is alive and in his element.”
Is that true? How does one know when one is lonely? I know it’s not the same feeling as solitude, which I cultivate. Solitude is necessary for the writing life, but it demands a high price. I lost great girlfriends because of this need for solitude. I don’t think I’m like that anymore. The old self was pretty vainglorious about this. I think I can find a balance if the opportunity ever presents itself again.
Milan Kundera wrote: “The past of each one of us can be just as easily arranged into the biography of a beloved statesmen as into a criminal.”
This might be the truest sentence I’ve read in the last ten years. It has always been true, but in the age of the Internet, it seems this “arranging” occurs much more frequently and almost instantaneously. I suppose the Internet allows a person to “arrange” one’s biography to read what the writer wants others to believe. What is real out there when it comes to truthful biography. I’ve been wrestling with that question for the past few years. I once knew someone who wanted to write my biography, and I was surely surprised by her desire, because my life hardly warrants it. But she insisted. I’ve lost contact with with this former great friend and confidante. The story of my life is certainly more interesting, considering what’s gone down.
My friend L and were walking along the South Jetty and we were talking about my personal extinction when she stopped,turned to me, and said: “I think this makes you so much more of an interesting person, to see what it did to you and what you did with it.”
I took a little step back from that quote. I hadn’t considered this perspective or seen this insight coming. But L provided it and it’s still percolating in my mind.