But in the end, in the end one is alone. We are all of us alone. I mean I’m told these days we have to consider ourselves as being in society… but in the end one knows one is alone, that one lives at the heart of a solitude.
Too many of my friends regard a quote such as the one above as depressing. I don’t see that at all. Looking back over my life span, I have felt alone, even while in the midst of rich relationships. My recent reading of Harold Bloom has opened so many avenues of thought, that I find it fortunate to have some “alone time” to sort through them all. And I like it. In the final week before Christmas, I will introduce my Philosophy class to the thought of Paul Tillich, a philosopher/theologian who had much to say about the qualities of being alone. He called the positive aspects of alone-ness “solitude” and the negative aspects “loneliness.” I can appreciate that difference, and have known both worlds.
The part of my life given to making art, reading and writing is a solitary enterprise, as far as I’m concerned. And I find those moments to be sublime, not lonely or depressing. When reading Hemingway’s comments in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech (“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.”), I’m saddened to think of those who suffer loneliness when engaged in creative acts.
Above, I have posted a photo of my classroom gallery that I set up the final two weeks before dismissing for the Christmas holidays. When the gallery is in place, I stay in my classroom until 4:00 every school day. Since I finish teaching at 12:20, it makes for a long and solitary afternoon if no one comes into the classroom. But that is time well-spent as I catch up on my reading and sketching.
Thanks for reading.
I make art in order to understand.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself I am not really alone.