I am in heaven. For the past six days I have been on a writing retreat. I have done nothing but write and walk on the beach. Yes, a freezing cold but beautiful beach. A friend loaned me her home so I could hunker down and write like crazy for eight days.
Years ago I read the diaries of poet, May Sarton-- a woman who cherished solitude--her best known book is called, "Journey of a Solitude"about her writing life on the coast of Maine. Reading her books in my twenties made me feel sane. I had not yet found recovery, I didn't know about the Myers-Briggs Inventory, most of the time I was trying to have a life but fighting my own nature the whole time, and yeah alcohol and an eating disorder didn't help. :) May Sarton wasn't an easy woman but I "got" her and I thought she was lucky to have made a writing life.
I didn't understand then that she had, in fact, "made" that life by making very hard choices and by making a lot of people unhappy, and by suffering through the unhappiness of those who loved her. But there were some friends who really "got" her.
In one of the books she tells the story of a good friend who calls May to say she'd like to come visit on May's birthday. May reluctantly agrees--she'll be returning home from a reading that day --but this is a very good friend so she says, "yes, you can come."
Well, on that day, May's birthday, she comes home to find that the friend has been there and filled the house with flowers and delicious food and has left a note saying, "my birthday gift to you is this day with no company. Spend it alone with beauty and your self."
I remember thinking, "that is friendship". And that is appreciation of solitude.
This week has been precious solitude. I find at times like this that so much that I fuss about on a daily basis just falls away. I barely bathe, wear the same clothes, eat minimally and cherish my books and the beach. I am at home with myself in someone else's home.
This too is recovery. I am recovering my self.