In an interview with Dorthe Nors, author of books such as Days, Edge Impact, Ann Lie and Grand Master, Joe Fassler of The Atlantic explores what Dorthe Nors needs to create.
And what is it that she needs to create her work? Silence.
In the interview, Dorthe Nors states:
Solitude, I think, heightens artistic receptivity in a way that can be challenging and painful. When you sit there, alone and working, you get thrown back on yourself. Your life and your emotions, what you think and what you feel, are constantly being thrown back on you. And then the “too much humanity” feeling is even stronger: you can’t run away from yourself. You can’t run away from your emotions and your memory and the material you’re working on. Artistic solitude is a decision to turn and face these feelings, to sit with them for long periods of time.
This got me thinking, do I need solitude to create? I’ve written blogs before about my own lack of commitment to the craft of writing when I’m in a relationship, or how quiet spaces are generally the best to write and focus in, so what Nors says makes sense.
But, to truly be alone, does one really have to isolate oneself?
We’ve all been to a coffee shop and have seen people in the middle of a crowded, noisy room without any headphones on working away on a writing project.
Melanie Figueroa, co-creator and co-editor of this blog, states that she cannot work under such conditions. Allison Bellows, contributor, states that she can find a way to work in both settings. I, like Allison, find that I don’t need a quiet environment to find my writing state of mind.
For me, a loud environment can sometimes be even more isolating than being alone. Alone I can justify the loneliness. I can quantify the minutes I spend sitting there and justify logging onto Facebook or watching something random on Netflix.
Generally, when I write in a crowded loud area, I’m surrounded by things I don’t particularly want to get involved in. I really don’t care what the people at the coffee counter are ordering. I don’t listen to pop music so I tend to tune the radio out.
Being alone in a sea of people creates a greater sense of solitude for me than sitting in a room by myself.
If you’re the kind of person that can tune out in public but can easily distract yourself while alone, then maybe isolation to write isn’t your thing. But if you find that you need silence to create, then Dorthe Nors’s advice is for you.