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The Tree House Chronicles: Outside, an Internal Exploration of Solitude, Part Two
“The Tree House Chronicles: Outside, an Internal Exploration of Solitude” is a series created in self isolation in a tree house in the woods. “The Tree House Chronicles: Outside, an Internal Exploration of Solitude” explores my experiences with solitude. Beginning in childhood’s quiet moments, growing roots in my teens as I read the stories of lonely artists(1) and a solitary family(2), and solidifying as I confront a world altered by COVID-19.
…continued from Week 21.
Solitude Isn’t Loneliness
As the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months, every single human is faced with the new and daunting reality. The pandemic’s sheer enormity — the emptied streets, connection relinquished to computer screens and phone calls, the collective sadness and loss, the constant fear of catching the virus— thrusts loneliness upon introverts and extroverts alike.
But loneliness and solitude are not the same, as author Olivia Laing explored in The Lonely City, “By no means all people who live their lives in the absence of company are lonely”.(3) The COVID-19 pandemic creates a solitude that has the potential to connect us and pull us through these times, a solitude asking us to listen to our inner introvert, a solitude introducing us to “true solitude”. As author Michael Harris described,
“True solitude—as opposed to the failed solitude that we call loneliness—is a fertile state, yet one we have a hard time accessing. Once we do make room for it, though, we discover there are needful things hidden in that empty space, still waiting between the flash and action of our social lives.” (4)
Continued on Week 25…
*Endnotes and Resources
1 and 3. Laing, Olivia. “The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone”. 2016. Page 23.
2. García Márquez, Gabriel. “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. 1967.
4. Harris, Michael. “Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World“. 2017. Page 29.
People, Works, Terms Mentioned:
*All references and resources have been thoroughly researched prior to use.