I am on my own partly because I am trying to write. Believe, me it's hardly Proust in a cork lined room, I have the mental rigour and impulse control of toddler and spend my time staring into space, mentally self-flagellating, scouring the cupboards for forgotten industrial confectionery and being sidetracked onto the internet. I am 30% dread, 30% defeatism, 30% ADHD and maybe, on a good day, 10% productivity. On a bad day I am 100% sure of failure, of mediocrity. There are lots of those. Thankfully, there is also lots of forgotten industrial confectionery.
Some part of me obviously believes that being alone is important, having the space to think. Everyone says so, anyway, so it must be true. I think I confidently assumed I would better at it than I am, but I probably underestimate the way fifteen years cohabitation, 8 years mothering, changes your default settings. My 'normal' has been calibrated to a fairly high level of promiscuité* so I'm all at sea with this solitude. I can't focus. I think this is why I felt I need to have more of it, to get over the strangeness. This may be a bit contrary, or indeed totally wrongheaded. Also, I may lose the ability to speak, and communicate only using a series of high pitched clicks and whistles after a few weeks. It's an experiment. WITH MY BRAIN. Sounds sensible when you put it like that, doesn't it?
(This reminds me of a dorky academic anecdote (and doubtless urban legend) my parents used to relate about a 'friend' who had dedicated his PhD to his supervisor, with the barbed inscription:
"To X, for providing me with the intellectual isolation from which true creativity stems".
Academics' jokes: rarely laugh out loud funny. Fact.)
This month is my writing month, anyway, and so it's solitary confinement. If I don't get the damn thing finished in draft by the end of July, I will be utterly, and rightly, furious with myself. To this end, I am spending the second half of the month holed up by myself in a flat in Bath, possibly without the internet (did you feel the cold chill that assailed me as I typed that? Brrrrrr). And even before I go to my pretty, Georgian prison in one of Britain's most beautiful cities, I am going to be knuckling down and working like a bastard. So posting may be light. Then again, it may not, because I am infinitely weak and pathetic and I like talking to you. But just in case, that's why.
(* After extensive discussions with the internet it appears there is no English translation of this French word, meaning 'lack of privacy'. However, M did manage to dig up this unbelievably brilliant German word, meaning "stress caused by living in too great proximity to others and having insufficient privacy". Dichtestress. It challenges all my easy clichés about the English that Germany and France should have specific words relating to the absence of sufficient privacy and that we shouldn't, but there we go).