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Old 05-23-2014, 10:02 AM   #1
colddiesel
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Being totally alone

How do you work best, in the noise and bustle, or somewhere quiet away from it all. Can you shut out the world or do you have to shut yourself away from it.

I wondered, because about 15 years ago I discovered the ultimate retreat, and I just got back from my 5th or 6th trip there a couple of weeks back. An old aquaintance has a vast cattle lease, well over 500,000 acres in the semi desert of North Western Australia.

Gold prospectors mined some short adits into low hills near a dry river bed. They were prospecting early last century. Long abandoned, the cattle station owner built a very basic cabin onto the front of a couple of the adits and advertised. "Get away from it all - basic accomodation- If during your stay you see another human being or catch a fish, you get a 100% refund."

It's great, you walk in knowing you're carrying all your rations and your swag for the stay. There is a piece of steel to put over a fire for cooking and that's about it. You spend most days just walking in the bush and sitting around thinking -no mobile phone, no computer, (no access) no electricity, no showers, no plumbing at all. The only concesssion to modernity is an emergency beacon which you have to hit once a day to say you're ok.

The point is, that day and night for the whole of the stay (mine was 10 days) you're completely on your own. It's not just totally relaxing, it gives you a chance to think, to sort your own mind out.

Do you think an environment like this would suit you or help your writing? The station owner says that almost 20% of first timers signal to be taken out after 3 or 4 days. How do you reckon you would cope?
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:17 AM   #2
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That sounds like my kind of place.

I have a place in one of the local National Forests that i retreat to ever so often. It's not quite as remote as where you went but I've only seen one person in the last three trips I made. Not bad for being within a hundred miles of a major city.

You learn a lot about yourself being alone for a week. You also have a lot of time to think or to just vegetate, put the mind in neutral and really relax.

I love it.
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:25 AM   #3
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Solitary confinement is my idea of paradise, because I dislike people. I was raised in the woods, too, and learned how to amuse myself with no one around. My grandmother usta come home at lunch and check on me. But I ranged far, and I know how to survive....in Central Florida.
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Old 05-23-2014, 11:21 AM   #4
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I often have to work in the midst of other people, because inspiration comes when it wants to, not when I want it to. I do most of my writing on my commute to and from work on the train, and during the day on my breaks.

But when it comes time to edit and revise, and put the fragments and notes together, I have to be alone on my laptop. I can't feel that anyone may be looking over my shoulder, or that I have to constantly battle distractions. I have to be inside the story, with nothing calling me out of it.

I'd probably be able to do a month there. I love solitude. I'm constantly gunning for it.
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:12 PM   #5
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I currently receive mail in a forest hamlet in the central Sierra Nevada mountains not far from Lake Tahoe. Most neighboring homes are only occupied on weekends. Some days, no traffic passes on the rutted dirt road that is our access route. When my partner is away for some days, I am totally alone and unbothered. I get a lot of writing and thinking done then.

I have lived in more solitary situations. My favorite was an isolated shack in the central Mohave Desert near... nowhere. Only power came from the solar-electric cells I brought to keep my portable shortwave radio's batteries charged. I drove to town (40 miles) weekly for water and supplies. I had plenty of time and space to think, observe, take notes. No humans around. Yes, I would do it again.
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:44 PM   #6
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My home office is at the other end of a long house from the TV den my wife likes to hang out in (although her home office isn't far from mine). I can write comfortably and in full privacy right at home. There's no way I could write in a coffee café. In the spring/summer/fall, I have a hidden large screened pavilion in the back garden complete with WiFi, ceiling fan, and the sound of nature. I write out there into the late night five months a year.
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:02 PM   #7
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I learned at an early age to shut the outside world out. To anyone looking at me I was reading a book, and sometimes I was, but just as often as not I was off in my own private world of imagination. I can go deep. One summer in high school I was waiting for a flight at Taipei airport. A traveling companion was stuck in town and called and left a message to say they were staying another day. The airline said they had been paging me for fifteen minutes. I never heard it. Just got the message at the gate when I boarded.
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 49greg View Post
I learned at an early age to shut the outside world out. To anyone looking at me I was reading a book, and sometimes I was, but just as often as not I was off in my own private world of imagination. I can go deep. One summer in high school I was waiting for a flight at Taipei airport. A traveling companion was stuck in town and called and left a message to say they were staying another day. The airline said they had been paging me for fifteen minutes. I never heard it. Just got the message at the gate when I boarded.
My husband does that too. I blame ADD.
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patientlee View Post
My husband does that too. I blame ADD.
Yep. I tune so much out sometimes, all thanks to those three letters.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypoxia View Post
I currently receive mail in a forest hamlet in the central Sierra Nevada mountains not far from Lake Tahoe. Most neighboring homes are only occupied on weekends. Some days, no traffic passes on the rutted dirt road that is our access route. When my partner is away for some days, I am totally alone and unbothered. I get a lot of writing and thinking done then.
Sounds a bit like Truckee.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:56 PM   #11
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You'd think that in a comparatively small place like England, there would be few opportunities for getting lost for a few days (at least). But they do exist.
But I can close my (double-glazed) windows and blank out the world when I need to - at home!
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:59 PM   #12
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I need loud music so always have headphones in so the house isn't full of what my wife calls that "head banging shit"

But I can write anywhere if I am in the mood. I once wrote out a lesbian sex scene by hand sitting on a plane with a woman sitting so close our arms were touching.

She kept looking down at the pad and I was glad my handwriting is really shitty
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:03 PM   #13
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Sounds a bit like Truckee.
Closer to Kirkwood.
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Old 05-24-2014, 02:10 AM   #14
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I love me a bit of solitude, when I was growing up I would happily choose to stay home instead of participating in family vacations. Now I rarely get more than an hour to myself, my best bet is to sit up all night.
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Old 05-24-2014, 06:42 AM   #15
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I don't know how long I would last in complete solitude. Not more than a week. I love dark back roads at night. I would like to grab my bug out bag, rent a smooth riding car and drive. That I could do for a really long time. Right now to write I just have to sit amid chaos and block it out as much a s possible. I can't count the times I have completely lost what I was about to write because "I'm writing" means almost nothing to a 6 year old. So, I don't sleep much and I have to start over quite often.
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:03 AM   #16
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My husband does that too. I blame ADD.
Math? You blame math? Of course you do.
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:10 AM   #17
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Math? You blame math? Of course you do.
I love math. Numbers never lie. 2+2 always equals....um....4, yeah 4!

Now English on the other hand, a comma goes after, but in this case and this case and when the participle is....

Suck at English and grammar, just ask anyone who has suffered through editing for me.
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Old 05-24-2014, 09:05 AM   #18
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"I'm writing" means almost nothing to a 6 year old.
It doesn't seem to mean a whole lot to most people.
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Old 05-24-2014, 09:05 AM   #19
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I love math. Numbers never lie. 2+2 always equals....um....4, yeah 4!

Now English on the other hand, a comma goes after, but in this case and this case and when the participle is....

Suck at English and grammar, just ask anyone who has suffered through editing for me.
Yes, but then they change numbers into letters, and the whole thing goes to hell.

Commas remind you to breathe. And sometimes I need a good, deep breath.
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Last edited by patientlee : 05-24-2014 at 09:06 AM. Reason: Fucking autocorrect.
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Old 05-24-2014, 09:08 AM   #20
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I don't know how long I would last in complete solitude. Not more than a week. I love dark back roads at night. I would like to grab my bug out bag, rent a smooth riding car and drive. That I could do for a really long time. Right now to write I just have to sit amid chaos and block it out as much a s possible. I can't count the times I have completely lost what I was about to write because "I'm writing" means almost nothing to a 6 year old. So, I don't sleep much and I have to start over quite often.
I don't think I truly appreciated how much time or peace I have to write or do anything in until I came to these boards.

So many people with little ones running around or older kids that need to be taken to sports and school functions and etc...

My daughters are in their early 20's and both on their own so its just me and the wife and as long as I "pay attention" to her before we go to bed she doesn't care if I'm shut away in porn world all night. Of course that does lead to me paying attention to....

But seriously I never take my time for granted when I see how other struggle for it.
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Old 05-24-2014, 11:06 AM   #21
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I love math. Numbers never lie. 2+2 always equals....um....4, yeah 4!
Except in base 3 math, in which case 2+2=11. Or if your computer has a certain generation Pentium processor, where 2+2=3.998787...



But I digress. I will be totally alone this afternoon after the oven installers leave. I will finish some promised edits, and add some paragraphs to in-progress stories, and otherwise let my neurons bask in undisturbed quiet. I will not need to absent myself to the middle of the Mohave Desert for this. I need merely allow my partner and sister to drive to the county seat to view GODZILLA. If I *did* head alone for the middle of the Mohave, I could write more. But I'd miss the sex.
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Under His Eyes (LW / satire) - "YOU ARE A SICK FUCK. WHY WOULD YOU WRITE THIS HORRIBLY VILE STORY. THIS IS HUMANITY AT ITS WORST. I ONLY SKIMMED TO SEE WHAT CRAP IT WAS. YOU NEED TO BE LOCKED AWAY FROM ANYONE YOU COULD HURT FOR REAL. MINUS 1 BILLION ISN'T ENOUGH. DON'T WRITE ANYMORE." -Anon

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Old 05-24-2014, 12:15 PM   #23
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As a writer, you're supposed to communicate with others. How does being totally alone help that mission?
It's when you filter and sift and combine all those human interactions and start to see the connections, the things you miss when there are constant distractions.
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Old 05-24-2014, 12:47 PM   #24
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As a writer, you're supposed to communicate with others. How does being totally alone help that mission?
You don't need to communicate with anyone else during the actual writing process, of course.
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Old 05-24-2014, 12:58 PM   #25
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Being totally alone means you start writing down what those little voices in your head are telling you.

I think I am being serious here!
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