Isolation and the Writer

This post by Cyrus Keith has got me thinking. A common meme in the world of writers and other creative types is that of the starving artist spending long periods of time in their favourite coffee shop or bar. Almost by definition, creative acts are solidary endeavours where isolation is a fact of life, and yet here we have a theme that requires these same isolationists to interact with other people on some level.


Having said that, I will be the first to admit crowds make for a great place to be alone. They can also be a painfully lonely place to be if no one notices or cares about you.

But back to the coffee shop meme. As a regular you will develop connections with other patrons. Even hidden in the corner behind the screen of your laptop someone is bound to draw you out with a familiar hello. At other times you must either interact with a waiter or join the lineup to refill your beverage of choice. All little things that force us out of our shells to engage in some level of interpersonnal interaction. None of which would be necessary if we stayed in creative caves to do our work.

Even those who take regular get-away-from-it-all retreats return to places where they must interact with other people on a semi-regular basis.

For that matter, I don’t know of any creative types who don’t eventually want some level of exposure for their creations, and, even if by proxy, themselves. While I’m sure there are exceptions, the very existance of the meme I’m working from suggests that they are just that, the exceptions.

We may or may not be social butterflies, but social is part of all of us on some level.

  1. #1 by Eileen on 17/11/2014 - 00:48

    That is so true. I find my best sketches happen when I am in a public place alone. Once I figure how to post on WordPress, I will do it there.


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