As a writer you are free

As a writer you are free. You are the freest person there ever was. Your freedom is what you buy with your solitude.

Ursula K Le Guin

I write as many evenings a week as I can at a nearby library. It belongs to the city university, but I have taken it over piece by piece and have declared myself the buildings unofficial writer in residence. In the current season of snow, ice and mists it can take an effort of will to cross the dark park that lies between my house and the library. But I always look forward to the silent hours I spend there.

When I read the above quote from Ursula Le Guin I wondered whether it was the writing itself I enjoyed, or perhaps the solitude that surrounds it. Solitude is to joy in time spent alone, as opposed to the painful experience of isolation and loneliness. One of the great challenges of writing is managing the balance between those two very different experiences.

There is a mystical element to the writing experience. As writers we sit quietly and turn our attention to the vast internal spaces of the imagination. It’s not so dissimilar from the act of meditation or even (if one puts aside the whole God thing) prayer. The mystic talks about liberation, transcendence, awakening, rebirth. It makes a certain sense that as writers we are looking for a kind of freedom of our own.

And back on the mortal plane…

Salon Futura discuss steampunk. Listen for the super cool intro tune if nothing else.

If you are looking for Xmas presents these Fable & Tale t-shirts and sweaters are rather beautiful (hand made by the amazing Kurashige sisters).

Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Director of creative writing at UoL, published with OUP and Cambridge. Currently travelling the world and writing a book.

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