“She’d come to the office where Papa was, and she’d set down and turn through the magazines and papers, looking at all of the pictures. She liked to look at pictures of the mountains. Sometimes she’d look at a picture for two or three minutes. And then she’d say, “I’d like to be there.” – “Boy in Search of Something” from “Bound for Glory”
I have no idea how to be alone.
This is a relatively new development. Growing up without siblings, I never felt like I was missing anything, content to spend my time alone in my room with my books and records. The characters I met in songs and books, or concocted in my head, interested me far more than anyone I’d ever met. I was an unshy introvert – personable and friendly, but requiring my solo time, which people didn’t seem to understand.
Now, I consider myself a forced extrovert – an introvert by nature who contorted to extrovertism long enough to perfect it. It’s worked well for me. No doubt by ability to talk to anyone about damn near anything has served me well in this project, and in my life in general. But after all these months of crowds and events, coupled with having lived with my family since 1999, I’m ready for some alone time.
My friend Kate’s mother splits her time between St. Louis and a cottage in the Catskills a few miles from Woodstock, New York. When she’s in St. Louis, she lets artists and writers use her Woodstock house as a retreat. Months ago Kate brokered the details for a week-long stay for me at her mother’s. By myself. In the dead of winter.
It sounded like the most wonderful and terrible thing, being alone on a mountain for a week, finishing this project. So of course, I did it.