I am here alone for the first time in weeks, to take up my “real”life again at last. That is what is strange—that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened. Without the interruptions, nourishing and maddening, this life would become arid. Yet I taste it fully only when I am alone here and “the house and I resume of conversations”.
May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude
Years ago, when I read May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude for the first time, I felt a coming home. Though I would never meet her except through her words I felt a kinship, one of those moments C.S. Lewis described where friendship “is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .””.
It was around that time I started to accept the truth about myself: that I too need copious amounts of solitude, that it is a non-negotiable, and that to neglect it for any length of time is to invite personal disaster. I became intentional about protecting boundaries I established around my solitude and settled comfortably into who I was created to be.
This is one of the gifts of writing. When people like May Sarton and C.S. Lewis are brave enough to write the truth of their life for others to read it opens the door to understanding, kinship, and the possibility that one reading their words will come to understand truth about themselves more fully and, in doing so, learn to function effectively in the way they were created.
Adam McHugh, author of Introverts in the Church, advises: “Let God make you fully you. Rejoice in your God-given temperament and use it for God’s purposes.” We must come to appreciate the characteristics given us by the Creator in order to operate in them effectively in the way we He designed us.
With gifting comes responsibility, and for those given the ability to craft the written word into something meaningful comes the high calling to use it to better our sphere of influence—whether it be small or large. The writer’s responsibility—whether in fiction or non-fiction—is to gently guide the reader toward truth. It is to craft a piece of work that the reader will come out the other side of better for having invested the time to read.
I know. This is not the stated or unstated intention of many (far too many) works published today, and we are none the better for allowing this degradation. Let’s think. Let’s be intentional about the overall tone we are contributing to in the world when we hand over our credit card to purchase a body of work.
In doing so we take one small step toward changing the world in which we, and our children and grandchildren and those who will follow, live.