The Solitary Wrtier

We’ve heard it all before, how writing is a lonely pursuit. Google “writer” and you’re sure of find pictures of a poorly dressed individual, alone in a dingy room, hunched over an old Underwood or Olivetti with a half empty bourbon bottle and glass nearby. Everyone seems to have a romantic image of the solitary wordsmith. That thought has been on my mind a great deal as of late.


Writing, and by that, I mean the act of sitting down and putting words to paper, is a solitary pursuit. It is the nature of creativity and art. At some point in the creative process, all artist must go it alone. The sculptor, painter, photographer, dancer, and musician all may have help along the way, but the creation still flows from one mind, one imagination.

It is the same with writers. We cannot write about life without being a part of life. Even if one writes fantasy or science fiction, the emotions, the actions, and the plot of the story flow from life, real life. The question that has been on my mind is how should the writer observe life, as an active participant right in the middle of the action, or from the sidelines?


I observed the recent Women’s March in Southern Oregon primarily from the sideline. This was in part due to the fact that Herself and I are both small. I stand 5’ 6” and she is all of 4’ 8”. We are both uncomfortable in large moving crowds. I found that I was better able to see individual faces from a stationary vantage point. Later when we join in the moving crowd, all I could see was the backs of those in front of us. True there was a certain feeling about being a part of the event that I did not experience from the sideline. There seems to be a trade-off between each vantage point. A thought I will continue to explore.


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