Thursday, May 14, 2009

create solitude for the creative life

The hours which I have spent alone with Mr. Edison have brought me the real big returns of my life: to it I attribute all I have accomplished.

The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room, not try to be or do anything whatever.

I am independent! I can live alone and I love to work. Sometimes it made him [Degas] furious that he could not find a chink in my armor, and there would be months when we just could not see each other, and then something I painted would bring us together again.

Talent is nurtured in solitude; character is formed on the stormy billows of the world.

Obviously, if we are to experience insights from our consciousness, we need to be able to give ourselves to solitude.

Creative endeavor requires physical and mental space; without privacy, solitude, and time it suffocates. It is not easy to be independent in a crowd and it is impossible to pursue original thought in the scattered remnants of a day or of a lifetime. . . . Finally, the creative life requires an environment which is free, open, and never so logical and efficient that it cannot be unpredictable.

*Degas, Portrait of Miss Cassatt, Seated, Holding Cards

*Goethe in 1819 - from the painting by Georg Dawe at the Goethe Museum at Weimar

*Photo of single flower substituted for unobtainable image of Judith Groch, who hides well.



worldtrendz said...

Hi Friend.. Interesting post.. Do keep up the good work.. Visit my blog and post your comments.. Take care mate.. Cheers!

the watercats said...

This blog world keeps throwing co-incidence my way, or maybe it just backs up my ideas, or maybe the fact we follow each other in the first place means we tap into similar cosmic sources..? Whatever the reason, today, just before coming on-line, I discussed with the Ronald where I could have a 'space'. We re-planned the bedroom. Recently I have been yearning for a place to sit and call my own (I would love to try and take my love of writing more seriously). The Ronald has his shed.. I want my corner! All of these quotes are fantastic! Thank you for re-inforcing what I know to be true :-)

Friko said...

The greatest enemy of creativity for a woman is "the pram in the hall".

Not for men, mind you, they just walk past it when in the throes of inspiration.

Solitude and loneliness are by no means synonymous. After a lonely childhood without "a room of my own" (after Virginia Woolf) I have made it a condition of any twosome I have ever engaged in, that I must have my own space, with a door that can be shut - not locked - just shut.

Looking to the Stars said...

What beautiful comments from wonderful people, thank you. I am a person who needs space to think and ponder. My husband calls it "going into my cave". I don't have a room presay(tho it would be nice), I use the couch when no one is around or sit outside on the patio letting the sun warm my face. I use whatever space and time I can get :)

Darlene said...

I really appreciate the research you put in writing this blog. The quotes accompanied by the photos are just fantastic. Thank you.

distracted by shiny objects said...

“Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature.” (Albert Einstein.)

What is left out of this quote is "...and you discover what idiots exist in the world." I'm kidding. Simply being a smartie-pants today. Not as smartie as Mr. Einstein, more in the idiot range...:>)

Terry said...

I really liked your post today.
It has made me want to go and find my Natalie Goldberg books and read them again . They like so many of my things are packed away in storage boxes. Have a wonderful evening.Thanks for the motivation !

Lydia said...

@worldtrendz- Many thanks for the visit to my blog. :)

@the watercats- I love the irony, or sharing the wavelength, or whatever! May you claim your space, and may your creative fire burn brightly in that corner of your world. I love the way you write!

@Friko- I think a pram is a vacuum cleaner....meant to look it up today and here I am writing comments without having done that. Women have so many more demands at home than the guys do (not distractions, demands. Your comments on loneliness v. solitude sit well with me and I truly appreciate the condition you have set well for you!

@Looking to the Stars- Sounds like your husband knows and understands your need for solitude. You are very Zen in the way you claim those moments as they come.

@Darlene- That's so nice of you to tell me that! If I had realized back in my 20s how much I love research I'd have thought about it as a career path... No matter, I'm having a great time with it now.

@Distracted- Your mood today was rather lively, and certainly not within miles,miles,miles of the idiot range! Einstein was wrong, though.....I loved solitude when I was young. It's a huge part of what makes me me.

@Terry- So glad you enjoyed it. I'm not familiar with Natalie Goldberg and always love being steered in a new reading direction. I totally understand your frustration about having things in storage. About half of my books are in a storage unit right now, and this summer is my summer to change that. :)

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room, not try to be or do anything whatever.

That, I love!

Daryl said...

Are these postcards?

Lydia said...

@Wayfaring Wanderer- May Sarton's writings are wonderful. I love this quote too.

@Daryl- No, and therein lies the confusion with my signing on at Postcard Friendship Friday at Marie's blog. Last year I started Old Postcard Wednesday at my blog. I've been commenting on Friday's at Marie's blog that my postcards run on Wednesdays, but not everyone reads those comments and they are coming here via the Mr. Linky widget. I think I should stop signing in there on Fridays! But come by on Wednesdays if you think about it...

Erin Davis said...

Brilliant. Cultivating solitude is so challenging in today's world, but truly necessary. Thanks for these!

Lydia said...

@Erin- Challenging, that's the truth of it. I also find it challenging to cultivate meditation while in solitude. My mind is really active when I'm alone so I don't naturally consider it a time to meditate. Hence, meditation slides out of the picture. Thanks for helping me to realize this via your comments!

Rhiannon said...

I love everything written in this post and I completely agree with's just how I feel too Lydia..but so many just don't seem to understand...they want you to run around all overwhelmed and hyper and multi-tasking they know no other way nor have they ever tried to just be "still" and go within and "inside" themselves to find out who they really's a shame and sad.

People actually think it's normal to be busy at all times...and yes they do make fun of me and my wanting to be "still" or have my "quiet time" but I don't's sad they don't get it. Which is why I"m so glad now to have my own place and not feel like I'm living in a subway full of people multi-tasking like crazy all in one house!...sheesh..ha ha...can drive you nuts!

Wonderful post..thank you.

Love and Blessings,


Lydia said...

@Rhi- Your comments are always so honest and giving. You have such a handle on exactly who you are, and I admire it very much. Blessings for your weekend abound. :)



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