When I wrote this, I was writing alone from the beautiful Polano Serena in Maputo, Mozambique, but I've written alone
all over the world, from Yellow Springs to Pretoria to Bangkok to Cedarville. Image © Lori Gravley
Tonight, I have George Thorogood in my head, if a little altered, “I write alone, with nobody else.”
In the song, there’s the image of a tough Thorogood sitting at a bar, nursing a beer or a whiskey or both. For me, when I travel, it’s me in the evenings with a computer, my iPad, and a sparkling water. At home, it’s likely to be me in the late morning or early afternoon with a tea instead of sparkling water.
Somehow, being around people makes me feel both connected (though I’m not) and alone (though I’m not). It’s an interesting way to feel more human, half a world away from hearth and home or just down the street. The waiters smile at me, but they don’t bother me unless I catch their attention. I settle into the work while people speaking many other languages go on about their business (or pleasure) around me.
I love working this way. Not all night, but for part of the night, I’m a part of something, the swirling energy of a hotel or coffee shop. I’m also separate. I don’t know anyone. I don’t have to talk to anyone. Other people feed me and bring me drinks. And I can focus on the work.
I write alone, but sometimes, I do it in a crowd.