Isolation

Photo credit: Helene Anne Fortin

So, I’m currently living in Ontario, Canada, and it’s January. What does that mean? Cold, that’s what that means, but I like it. I really like it. There’s something about this time of year that renews me. A bit of a spiritual hibernation to prepare for the awakening spring. Also, the cold, fresh air makes me feel alive, and seeing my breath actually validates that I am. Some people find winter to be isolating, which led me recently to ponder the isolation of creativity.

I was driving to work a week ago, when traffic was horrendous due to weather and encroaching darkness. I coasted along at a measly 20 km/12 miles per hour and fought the hypnotism that comes from staring at a long, steady line of red tail-lights. Eventually the traffic inched toward a median where someone stood out in the freezing cold, seemingly stranded.

One person, beside their car, wrapped in a parka, staring off into the night sky. You see, it was -22 C/-7F that night, and snow was falling at a steady, determined pace. I’m not sure why that person stood out in the cold versus hunkering down in their vehicle, but looking at them – and I had plenty of time to do so – made me think, ‘That’s exactly how I feel.’

Now, that’s not a statement that’s put out there to garner pity. I’m quite content with standing on my own little median, but there is an isolating feeling that comes with following your heart, pursuing something unconventional, and getting out of traffic.

Again, this blog is about my journey. I am not a published writer; I pursue writing, but I have found my journey to be a lot easier since deciding to brave the elements and tell people about it. “I’m an aspiring author,” I say now, and I usually get one of four responses:

– “Any money in that?” (like personal satisfaction doesn’t weigh in at all)

– “How nice for you, dear.” (this one is usually accompanied by a distant, blank expression)

– “Oh God. I’d love to do something like that. I’ve always wanted to, but I got this job and…”

– “Cool! I’m doing a similar thing. We should get together and discuss our projects.” (this latter group I now call the median dwellers)

For those of you who think about pursuing your passion, there will be times when you feel isolated – I guarantee it. The creative path is the one less travelled, but my experience has been that the further you get down the trail, the more people you’ll meet who are braving the elements as well.

Step one, for me, was admitting – out loud – that I have a passion for something and adjusting to the various reactions that came from that. I had to let go of fearing other’s opinions before I could open up to meeting like-minded people. They’re out there, and even though you may spend a significant amount of time by yourself working on your craft, you really are never alone.

I didn’t sense that the parka guy felt frustrated, scared, or alone on that freezing cold night. I kind of got a sense of ‘Well, here I am. What’s next, and I wonder who else is out there.’ I also got a vision of median dwellers only blocks apart all over the city. If we’d all just abandon the vehicles, take a few steps, and announce our intentions, we’d have all the support we needed.

Yep, that’s definitely how I feel.

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8 thoughts on “Isolation

  1. Everyone should be able to pursue their passion. Our society should value creativity, ability, and reward those who contribute to the greater good. Instead we have this huge class gap between lower and upper and most people slave for stuff they don’t need and can’t afford! ok off the soapbox now! Life is only worth living when we step back and appreciate more than just subsistence and see the art in nature and in human endeavors. So keep writing Leanna! Keep doing it just because you love it and because someone will read it and maybe it will change their life, entertain, or provide some sort of insight to life. Grassroots culture!

  2. oh man here you go again reading my mind ha,ha you;ve come along way from telling that girl in nursing school to “stop treating you like an a**hole” keeping writing you psychic wizard
    for those of us living our dream ( for me it is tap dancing at 47yrs old) don’t laugh… Keep doing what you are doing and love every minute of it

  3. Thanks, Leana. I always look forward to your posts. I’m freezing in 45-degree Dallas, hunkering down by a roaring fire every night, wearing my Olive Oyl felt slippers all day over fat wool ski socks. You Canadians probably find that ridiculous. Life is all relative. I’m a natural loner, forcing myself to put down the book, walk away from the computer, go out and make some kind of human connection. When I discovered fiction writing, I found the world that is most real to me. Probably very narcissistic to create a world instead of dealing with the real one, but for now, it suits me. By the way, I’m deep into rewriting after the NY seminar. Revision just didn’t do the trick. Hope your writing is going well.

  4. Thanks, Barbara. And I know exactly how you feel. About writing that is. Not about the cold weather. 🙂 I’m nearing the end of my revisions, and hope to submit this week. I’m anxious to move onto another story at this point, but will miss my characters nonetheless. Love keeping in touch! Leana

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