When he drinks alone, who does George Thorogood prefer to be with? I would say more, but that would require permission to use the lyrics; I’m too cheap to go there. But you know what I’m talking about, right? The redundancy makes little sense, except for emphasis I suppose. Would Zinsser or others in the editorial/writing instruction biz object? Ah, who cares; that’s not the point. Catch up with Marcus Aurelius or Henry David Thoreau to catch the drift—solitude.
Writing is a solitary pursuit, best done by oneself. Oh sure, there may be times for collaboration, but that doesn’t deny the obvious does it? Consider Sid, who Roger says had “eyes like holes . . . ” Not coal, not stars—nor even diamonds. Yet he exhorted him in reminiscence to shine on like a crazy gem. Sid was alone, but not in a way any better than George. It’s the dreams that fill a page with odd events that the conscious mind needs solitude to elaborate on. At least to make them comprehensible to readers.
Just now it is still there in today’s memory—a dream of a two weeks or more ago that must be written soon or it will slide away to the recycle bin of synaptical connections. A dream of a meeting at the State Department at which I didn’t belong (never having worked there). Classified subjects to be discussed it seems, although that scene didn’t progress. I had fake or pilfered credentials supplied by someone whose identity is already lost from the memory. The outset of the event began on a train. A conversation and an invitation. A dream that came into my night partially scripted, no doubt from a recent phone call. A friend who lives outside the county but calls unexpectedly when in-country. He’s now long-retired from the Foreign Service and planning a trip by rail somewhere. That’s enough, in itself, to plant the kernel of a dream in my suggestible mind. The mind that writes best when I’m by myself.