Sunday, February 28, 2010

On "Alone Time"

Some people have been miffed when I shut my door to write. Mom stood at the closed bedroom door, pointedly saying, "She's being anti-social," or "She thinks she's better than her own family." In the college dorm, floormates did much the same: "I bet she's in there writing." Bored with my non-response, they soon cut it out. Later roommates interrupted innocently ("Whatcha doin'?") or not (kick open the door and yell, "You're shutting me out of your life!"). This latter person -- a blocked artist -- was hard to dismiss, because what he imagined was true eventually became so. I got intimidated. I shied. Dragged down to his level I replied just as furiously. I used other people's homes to write in. I applied to writers' retreats where I cried from sheer relief and cried when I had to go home. This escalated to his coup de grace: "You don't love me!" One day, hearing "You don't love me!" I said, "You're right. I don't."

Adults should grant other adults periods of peace and quiet. But it seems that only some are glad to make that kind of deal. Others are rendered terrifically insecure by periods of unavailability. Hey, it doesn't mean we don't love you! We are only doing the work we were meant to do.

1 comment:

  1. I think all writers know this one. My oldest son told me that he was once so hurt and angry at my obsession that he thought about deleting the file of the book I was working on (from that point on, I made sure everything was backed up!).

    Sometimes, our loved ones accuse us of making writing more important than they are. I tell them, yes, I'm sorry. It's more important than I am, too. It's not a choice.