An old friend came to visit me this weekend.
Not only was it a joyous time spent catching up and reminiscing, but also a lesson in one of the primary drawbacks of living alone: the importance of sharing your thoughts with someone.
I moved into a one-bedroom apartment nine months ago. This is the first time in my life I’ve lived alone and while I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching TV whenever I want, leaving my dishes in the sink, and not having to negotiate taking out the trash, there are times when coming home to an empty apartment stokes a smoldering loneliness in me.
I’ve maintained a healthy creative practice, continuing to write daily, make collages, paint landscapes and abstracts, and pump out even more acoustic covers of songs I love. However, there’s much of this work that feels muddled and stifled. I’ve struggled lately with a sense of malaise that must be cut through before creating.
Catching up with this friend (who happens to have once been a roommate) served as a stark reminder of how important it is to share your thoughts with someone. Since living alone, I don’t frequently communicate what I’m thinking to people on a day-to-day basis, and as a result, can sense this in my art.
Instead of taking the time to put my observations and ideas into words for the sake of sharing in conversation, these unspoken thoughts often end up rolling back into my head, untouched and unknowable, even to me.
This certainly isn’t to say every thought is worth sharing, but I do think process of refining one’s thoughts for the sake of articulating them is important.
Of course, writing serves as one way to do this too. (As William Faulkner once said, “I never know what I think about something until I read what I’ve written on it.”) But I suppose I’m pointing to the ways we engage in small conversations that allow us to process our lives; things like talking about the music we’re listening to, the movies we’re watching, the food we’re eating, even just the daily experiences of being a person in the world.
This is one of the reasons we need other people, even if just for the purpose of discovering our own thoughts.
See Also: Great conversations with my roommates, including why failure is awesome, making your home a playground, the importance of putting yourself on the hook, and that time Landry from Friday Night Lights killed a guy.