We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will.
Henry David Thoreau
Not to be remiss of Thoreau’s meaning -that no outsider can think alongside a man in his own head so the body might as well be alone too- but I think it is melodramatically poetic and deserves to be confined to poetry. Writing can as easily be a social and cooperative occupation as a solitary one.
My best friend of many years called from Ohio to employ my brain on an essay of hers; the material was not difficult but she felt lost trying to compose a logical outline, so together we tore the subject apart and rebuilt it as easily as if we were still erecting sandcastles on Potato Lake. After she was satisfied with our production, we lapsed into busy silence; each with our own papers and the Skype call left open between us.
While this dilemma was her’s and not mine, the incident dispelled my unspoken adage: always work alone. Writing probably shall remain a Thoreauian exploit due to unavailability of willing company, however the presence of others will no longer be an impediment to my writing, rather a resource.