Writing sans Solitude

   Posted by: Brent Toderash   in Links, Writing Life

beatgeneration The Writer As Social Butterfly — good post at LitDrift on the value to writers of interacting with others, despite writing being thought of as a solitary task.

It should be obvious that writers, writing about society, would make it a point to immerse themselves in that society. But writers are artists, and like most artists we tend to think of ourselves as outcasts. The label is twofold; our creativity and panjandrum is admired, and our variance from normal nine-to-fives is frowned upon. But the mistake is buying into the outcast label, even cherishing it. Doing so separates us from our audience, making us bitter, and even worse, possibly leading to an aloof, chastising tone few enjoy reading.


Interesting contemplation thread that has me thinking about how writers might keep the reclusive tendencies at bay and opt for socialization. In the right circumstances, this would encourage the craft as it has done for other groups of writers in the past. Hence the photos. The upper one is of the Beat writers, clockwise from left: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Lafcadio Orlovsky, and Gregory Corso in 1956. The lower photo is the Inklings, clockwise from left: J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield. Of course, it’d be lovely to slip down to The Eagle and Child every Tuesday evening, but I must have misplaced my invitation. Or perhaps it expired sixty years ago. Either way, I suppose a writer needs an alternative these days.

Sometimes I’ll go be a camper at some local coffee house with my laptop… at least that’s out in public, even if it’s still dining (and working) alone. Keeps me from going completely stir-crazy, but I don’t think it’s quite what the aforelinked article had in mind.

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