Paper or Plastic?


I’m checked out, have been for a while now.

I received news from a friend yesterday that he and his wife were separating. These are two people I’ve known for years and love dearly. It’s easy to figure out what a “separation” is. I don’t have any stats to back it up, but I’m willing to bet that most separations don’t lead to a healthier marriage. Chances are that they’re going to get a divorce. I knew this and was devastated. It felt like someone punched a hole in my gut to reach up and grab the heart just to squeeze some life out of it. But in all the sadness I realized something: this might sound selfish, but I realized that I haven’t felt that much emotion in a really, really long time. It was like hearing a lyric from a shitty country song – “I just wanna feel soooomethin’!”

For the past half-year I’ve been in exile. Most of that time has been spent writing a novel which I’m super proud of. I love to write – I can’t think of a better way to spend time – but I’ve come to find out that I’ve isolated myself from nearly everything else I love. It hit me this morning that I haven’t seen a single friend since OCTOBER. I’ve been living in a fantasy world. Almost every emotion I’ve felt has come from a group of characters created in my own mind, now trapped in a word document on my laptop. Every problem I experienced was under my control. I could hit one button and go back a whole page or chapter if I didn’t like how it turned out. This book has been a barrier separating me from a world of real problems, I realize that now. I also realize that it’s cut me off from a world of real adventure and excitement.

Giving up writing this book isn’t an option for me so I need to fix myself. I hope that expressing this publicly will hold me accountable to take action on getting back to being a socially functioning human being; to get out more, to see friends, meet people, spend more time looking for a job, and actually live. Having found out I’m a hermit that refuses to deal with his problems disgusts me. What’s more repulsive is that I’ve used my imagination and love of writing as a crutch. I’m my own enabler.

Have I created my own world apart from the one that I used to love? I’ve been depressed before and consciously sought isolation. This isn’t anything like that. I feel content, but could I have fabricated that emotion for myself like I’ve done for my characters? Have any of you experienced this in your own creative ventures or seen it in someone close to you? It doesn’t seem like a healthy behavior, but is it normal to separate yourself like that?

Or should I put my faith in these words by Goethe: “A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself, it is a child of solitude.” He’s knows what he’s talking about, right?


18 thoughts on “Paper or Plastic?

  1. I agree with Cyn. I think a bit of isolation is necessary and healthy, but human beings are social creatures. We both.

    “Almost every emotion I’ve felt has come from a group of characters created in my own mind, now trapped in a word document on my laptop. Every problem I experienced was under my control.” Powerful stuff. Karen

  2. i get this. so hard, i get this. sad thing is that if i didn’t have a 4yo who means everything in the world to me, i’m pretty sure i’d be quite content not seeing people for six months. I’ve often envisioned living the life of a hermit. :/

  3. Well, I must say that your writing life shows in this short essay. You can write. And that is no small thing.
    All artists must learn how to deal with this need to create versus the need to live a life amongst others. You have been isolating in order to work on your novel and now you realize it’s time to get out and do more for yourself. That realization means you are functioning within normal parameters. (grin)
    So, my point is, don’t stress about it. Get out and see some people and see where that leads.
    Finish that novel and publish it why don’t you?
    OK then. Mom out.

  4. I am fairly certain it’s much easier to isolate yourself than to actually force yourself to enjoy life. I don’t mean that in a snarky way, I just know the feeling. Burying myself in my work is delicious, it seems easy to justify, and even if I am miserable, I feel like I’m accomplishing something. On the other hand, it’s unfair to do that to those who care about you. Great post, and excellent insight.

  5. I don’t think Goethe means to live isolated. I think he means that you can very well interact and socialize. By isolation he means that any creative product of value can only be created if it’s creator is working alone, singly. A single original first hand unadulterated thought process can only translate into a meaningful creation. You cant have more than one thinking over a single creation, that is just cheating, unoriginal. I hope you are getting what I am trying to convey, if it helps think it from Ayn Rand’s point of view.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s