The new terror...of solitude
August 4, 2012
I Know. I know. I’ve been away. But isn’t that what writers are supposed to do? I think writers ought to publish something, finish a book, or a story, or a poem, or a group of poems and then disappear. Deliver your work to an audience — the world, your mom, your friends, the internet, your cat — and then disappear. There has to be time for gathering the world, for reflection, for whimsy, for play, for experimenting. I believe this is the age of “being visible.” And the great contemporary terror, as stated in a recent “Chronicle” article by William Deresiewicz — is anonymity. We are terrified of not being visible, of not being known, of being unconnected. I’ll take this one step further. I think writers need to shun this idea. I believe writers must disappear. We must turn off the television. Turn off Facebook. Let e-mails pile up in the in-box. If we are working at constantly being visible, then when are we writing? When are we gathering the world? When are we watching quietly from the sidelines so that we can make our stories? Solitude is important. This is a long and convoluted explanation for why these posts are so infrequent right now. I am writing. I am gathering the world. Watching. Reading. Reflecting. Mostly, in the past few months, writing.
I agree with this. There is too much hand-wringing over visibility, presence, blah, blah. The job of the writer is to “gather the world” and show it to the reader. I do not need my favorite authors to be accessible on Twitter. Their work is enough.