Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Hermit Creeps Out of Her Cave

I think I would make a pretty good hermit. I go through periods (happy periods, mind you, not withdrawn or depressive episodes) where I feel almost no need to have any contact with people. Historically, this used to be fairly easy, and even a smart career path. You move to a mountaintop, grow a beard (well, in my case I'd have to make do with not shaving my pits) and suddenly you're mysterious and wise, and people hike up to ask your advice. Which does sort of defeat the purpose of being a hermit, I suppose, but it must be gratifying.

These days, it is much harder to get away. Avoiding actual, physical people for a few days is easy enough. But there are so many virtual (real but intangible) people in my life – followers and facebook friends and fellow-forumites – that it takes more than a trek up a hill to escape, even for a while. It takes a tremendous amount of willpower not to check Twitter or stop by Verla Kay's Blue Boards. (Which might mean that I'm not truly in hermit-mode.) Facebook made it easy now that it has stopped sending me email alerts about everything, but the compulsion to be connected is still occasionally at war with my need for solitude.

Which is a roundabout way of saying I'm sorry I haven't posted for a while, or kept up with any of my other social media. I've been working on a few new projects, enjoying the weather, worrying about a chicken, contemplating life, the universe and everything, and so I had to step away for a couple of weeks.

It got me to thinking, though, how one goes about being a truly reclusive writer. I mean, you have to be famous before anyone cares whether you're accessible, right? Are you a recluse if no one is seeking you out? And these days, is it possible to be famous in the first place without being accessible?

Sometimes I fantasize about dropping off the face of the e-earth, deleting all accounts, and having my name appear nowhere except the covers of my books. Do you? Would you? Could you?



Anachronist said...

Hello and welcome back! Being reclusive is the utter luxury nowadays I suppose but do be careful - sometimes the walls you build around yourself become the very walls of your own private prison...

Laura L. Sullivan said...

Finding the balance is difficult sometimes. The pleasures of solitude can draw me in, and I have to remind myself there are other good things too.
Of course, I need a certain amount of isolation to write, and that makes the lure stronger. Didn't Jane Austen write with a parlor-full of her relatives and neighbors around her? I can't imagine doing that!