I was listening to Desert Island Discs the other day – as I frequently do (when I can remember what time it’s on), and Kirsty said (as she often does), “How would you cope with being on your own.” Naturally, I transferred the question to myself. How would I cope?
Writing is – apart from the Japanese renga and the ubiquitous writing workshop – a solitary business. Most of my poems are not written in company, but on my own. And yet, as I’m sure my friends will testify, I’m a sociable person. I like people, I enjoy company, and when I was working I enjoyed being part of a team. Most people seem to prefer a balance between solitude and being in a group.
Walking is a great pleasure, and if I can combine walking with talking, that’s smashing. I love to travel to distant places, and when I do, I like to travel with DunbarJane, because we complement each other in noticing things and drawing them to the other’s attention. But I don’t have to have a companion in the hills. In fact, when I’m hill-walking I always go alone. I vont to be alone, as La Garbo is reputed to have said. I know nothing, absolutely nothing, more refreshing than letting my thoughts wander when I’m alone in the mountains. Company would be an intrusion, thank you very much. I don’t feel lonely, and the Desert Island Discs I play in my head aren’t restricted to eight records.
What about you?