For as much as I live in the world, I live alone.
I’ve always been a loner. It’s a personality trait that fits a writer or perhaps a painter or composer. Being alone, playing alone, working alone can be very threatening for some people, but not for me. I suppose that is because most of my life goes on in my head.
Oh, I participate in the populated world, and enjoy being with other people, but not for long, and not all the time. Even as a child I enjoyed playing alone, discovering the world as I went, learning from experience. I also paid attention to others, and learned from their mistakes and successes, but by observation more than participation.
Being alone for a portion of every day is as much me as the work I have chosen for myself. Of course there were many years in which I had to work with others, wanted to work with others, but still I preferred working on my own.
Being a filmmaker is a collaborative profession. Writing is the most solitary part of the process, when research and imagination blend into a script, a blueprint if you will, for constructing a visual story. For many years I wrote and produced films. In a few wonderful instances I wrote, produced, directed, shot and edited and even voiced entire productions. They may not have been the most viewed of the many films I worked on, but they were for me the most satisfying.
Devoting myself to writing for print/electronic publication, as I have for the last 20 or so years, has brought me the most pleasure, the greatest reward (intellectual, emotional, not financial), and is what still drives me to create stories and essays. Even when I think I have cleaned out the store, so to speak, I discover that there is still more to write, and to write about. Being a solo act has spilled over into many other parts of my life.
I live, as regular readers know, in a remote part of the world, near but not in a village of a few people, in a very under-populated part of the world. There are mountains that ripple the county, and that must be crossed for food, entertainment, even visiting with friends or family. That, or do it myself, fix it myself, build it myself. I don’t mind it. In fact I find depending on myself for most things gives me a kind of strength and endurance and acceptance of life that is difficult for many more “modern” people to understand. That sometimes includes family. But I am fulfilled by doing for myself. And a long time ago I found the one person with whom I can be alone and not alone.
Over many years we have built a life and a way of living that encourages and demands a high level of do-it-yourself skills. Some would say that we are at risk, living so remotely, so away from the world. We don’t see it that way. What we do see is that we are perhaps better prepared to get through every day, regardless of what the day may have to offer. We depend on ourselves and each other.
We are not alone, and yet we are.