Why Be A Hermit?

Many writers embrace the hermit’s life; spending hour after hour alone pounding away at their keyboard. Sometimes loving the words that spill across the page, sometimes hating them. Not for how they connect so badly, one to the other, but because they bare a piece of their soul they don’t believe they’re ready to release.

Writing is release. It’s pulling old thoughts and feelings out so we can examine them, dissect the events and our responses, and sometimes even send those feelings on their way, our mutual journey finally at an end. The moment in time for us to express an emotion is long past, yet many of us hold onto them far beyond the point where the emotions they elicited and the protections they represented have faded into a distant and long-forgotten memory. Somehow, we missed the step where we let the matter go.

Feel, Examine, Release. Repeat as Necessary.

Yet over our lifetimes, we let a lot of things go. Friendships that no longer served, jobs which sucked our souls dry, beloved pets whose time on earth was often cut short too soon. We grieve the loss in our own way and hold only the memories we can pull out on occasion and smile for the experience.

For some of us, holding onto the emotions created from pain are harder to express, harder to release. Instead of pulling them out, dissecting them, removing the good parts and trashing the pain, we worry it like an old tooth, a scab we can’t quite let heal over. We revisit the pain over and over like an old friend. We use that pain to remind us we are still alive; still able to feel.

That this behavior is dysfunction at its finest doesn’t occur to us as we’re wallowing in pain from the distant past. We fail to recognize the possibility of stepping out from behind the hermit mask and actually interacting with the world. Making new memories is not a consideration. After all, to be an amazing writer, you must dedicate yourself to the craft, feel the pain of loneliness, keep the world at bay, right?

What a crock! Sure, we could paint still lifes with our words from this vantage point. We could create shallow characters or those who only know pain such as ours. But how are we going to create real people if we hide out where none come to call? How are we going to write about the many facets of each individual human being if we don’t allow a few to touch our soul? How will we understand what makes them happy or sad, angry or passionate if we’re not in their midst? Without their touch, we are but paper dolls on a sheet of paper, uncut, untouched.

Protecting the Monster Within

Yet we continue to hide because we know that beneath the candy coating, the saccharine sweetness lies unknown potential for evil the likes of the infamous serial killers, mass murderers, and child molesters we read about with horror. But beneath that horror is also an element of curiosity about the minds of people like Jeffrey Dahmer. How their attention turned from the peaceful to the horrific. But more, how we can capture those characteristics with our words.

Yes, we are enticed not by kindness and compassion, but by horrors we dare not express in polite company, while at the same time, knowing they will both horrify and entertain if captured accurately on the pages flowing from our eager fingers.

We fear what we pursue, not because of its horrifying nature, but of what we might become should we go too far down that dark, twisty road. We fear exposing the kinder, gentler ones to influences which could spew from our throats instead of just our fingers. The moments when we become those dark and heinous creatures grow longer as we embroil ourselves in their story, their lives. We dream and we become them, waking in a cold sweat when our minds realize where we’ve gone and rear up in protest.

We hide because we’re afraid of touching the good and kind with our taint, with the stench of evil. Yet we crave the touch of humanity as well. There’s a balance missing in our lives without a hug, a smile of understanding, a shared moment. We hug our solitude and the images of our shadow life close until we can no longer live in the darkest parts of our soul.

Though we crave that spark of human kindness, we hide just a little longer, feeling our blood pulse with forbidden feelings. For just a moment, we revel in causing pain. We are spared, for a little while from facing and releasing our own.

Cleaning Our Slate With Gratitude

I typically close my posts on my blog site with 5 gratitudes. Today, I feel compelled to do so here as well.

  1. I am grateful for writing prompts which make me dig down deep.
  2. I am grateful for friends who push me to find my qualities within.
  3. I am grateful for the words that are flowing freely lately.
  4. I am grateful for help that comes unasked when I stop trying to resist or believe I’m unworthy.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, switching gears, ideas, inspiration, motivation, health (mine and everyone I love), peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author




Check out this insightful take on today’s writing prompt in A New Mother’s Journal.