It is strange to think of now, but at the very time that as a young man I was waking up to the understanding that what I most wanted to do was write, I became aware – like a spy who has just recognized he is being tailed – of a feeling of persistent loneliness. I cannot say that one was necessarily in response to the other, though I have always felt them to be connected the way a brother and sister might respond to a parent’s drinking, with one diving for the bottle, the other The Bible. I say strange because if one is feeling lonely, why pursue such a solitary craft? Yet to me writing remained the one pure antidote to loneliness. Not, however, in the way, say, watching television relieved those feelings of loneliness. Such distractions were little more than Novocain, the feelings waiting patiently and returning just as strong once the TV was off.
Writing answered loneliness, and perhaps precisely because I had to do it alone. Not only did I require physical isolation, but mental as well. One thought of another person and the spell of writing was ruined. But within that spell I felt the very opposite of loneliness. Within that spell, life seemed as interesting and available as the perfect lover, and loneliness seemed like nothing but a restless lie in search of an empty night to ruin.
But then I would rise from the desk and the spell would quickly fade, and in its place would be that feeling of being watched. You spot the enemy in the shadows for the first time, and there is no friend in sight. Now you tell yourself you need someone else, and so you are alone.
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