“I want to be alone for a whole summer, and get to the very dregs of life. I want to be as idle as I can, so that my soul may have time to grow. Nobody shall be invited to stay with me, and if anyone calls they will be told that I am out, or away, or sick . . . Wouldn’t a whole lovely summer, quite alone, be delightful?”
That is what the narrator of The Solitary Summer wants, she being the fictional alter ego of the author Elizabeth von Arnim (who at the time of publication was known only as the anonymous “author of Elizabeth and Her German Garden.” Read More→
Dear Literary Ladies,
How can a writer balance the need for quiet and solitude, with the desire for camaraderie? When I’m alone working, I feel the need for feedback; and when I’m in the company of other writers and talk about my work, I feel I’m seeking too much outside validation.
If you don’t keep and guard and mature your force and above all, have time and quiet to perfect your work, you will be writing things not much better than you did five years ago. You must find a quiet place near the best companions (not those who admire and wonder at everything one does, but those who know the good things with delight!). Read More→
Virginia Woolf famously wrote, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Leaving aside the question of what a woman writes—fiction or nonfiction, prose or poetry, journalism or pithy blog posts, just how important is solitude for writers; how critical is it to have a room of one’s own?
In learning about the writing lives of classic women authors, the universality of the issues and struggles all writers experience is striking. Finding quiet time to write and a modicum of privacy was as great a challenge for a nineteenth-century woman, especially those with children, as it is for today’s writing women. Read More→