Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hermit or Broad Minded? - Donna Alward

I'll admit, I could probably be a hermit very easily.

When life gets hectic, there's nothing I crave more than quiet, and space, and peace. We're moving soon, and while I may not have a travel budget for a while, I've said many times that the ability to sit on my deck in the morning, listening to the birds, drinking coffee and booting up the laptop will be a teensy bit of heaven. Lucky for me, that's in the cards for the future as we're moving to a whole new part of the country and have bought a lovely house where I'll have room to breathe.

So perhaps it sound strange to think that I'm also very broad minded. I have a lot of interests. And I can do both - just because I don't want my life "cluttered" doesn't mean I'm not curious, or intrigued by things.

I think this is a common plight of many writers. Many of us are introverts - we get our energy from solitude, rather than crowds. It's why we're good people watchers. It doesn't mean we're shy, or don't like people at all, it just means we don't need the hustle and bustle to be happy. Even when I was a stay at home mom, I never got cabin fever. I loved being in my little corner of my universe.

At the same time, there are so many things I find interesting. I'd love to own a restaurant. I'd like to learn to ride a motorbike. I want to see and learn new things. The problem is, with interests that varied, it would be impossible to actually DO it all, wouldn't it?

Well...this is why writing is the perfect profession. I can explore all those new things without necessarily having to leave my home. Even doing research first hand, it means an afternoon or day or two away, not a whole career change. I get to meet new and exciting people, and I truly do enjoy talking to them about what they do. Closeting myself in a room and working on a book doesn't translate into me putting all my eggs in one basket, just the opposite! What it does is gives me the freedom to explore rather than doing the same job day after day after day. It spawns ideas, sometimes so many I can't possibly keep up.

I go to my office and write each day, but one day I might be a single mum trying to do her best for her daughter, like in The Soldier's Homecoming, or a widow running her own business, like Maggie in Falling For Mr Dark and Dangerous. I can be a reluctant Princess determined to have one last bit of normalcy in her life, like in my January 09 release, The Rancher's Runaway Princess. The first book I ever had published - The Girl Most Likely with Samhain - let me explore how fun it would be to own a restaurant. I can be a rancher, a soldier, or a Marshal...I can be anything, as long as I put myself in the shoes of my characters. The very idea of going to work and doing the same thing day in and day out simply terrifies me! What other profession lets you live quite so vicariously?

I suppose the exception would be acting, but luckily I can work in my yoga pants and hair elastics and not have to worry about my looks as it's all in my mind, lol!

Anyway, my point is that the craving for peace and quiet does not mean a still fact I'd argue it's an overactive mind needing the quiet to balance it!

What about you? Are you a hermit? (Please don't tell me I'm barking mad!) What's your perfect prescription for that balance?



Tracy Deebs said...

Oh, Donna, do I know how you feel! I have three boys, plus I teach and write. So I don't get quiet often, but when I need it, I need it. My prescription is locking myself in my office with a good book to help me unwind, or diving into the bathtub with an old favorite. These stolen moemnts mean I've had to learn to work with chaos all around me, but the good thing is I can now write with everything but a nuclear bomb blast going on around me without even noticing ;)

Unknown said...

OK that is the best example I have read of what it is like in my head. Although I wouldn't classify myself as an introvert, I do crave time to myself and the thought of doing the same job every day would likely send me doolally!
And the research... I love the thought of research, I love research *sigh*

Pat Cochran said...

I was so busy for so many years in
volunteer work that my husband
calls me a "professional volunteer."
Then I was so involved in providing
care for my grandchildren for some
years. Now, it gets so quiet here
that I sometimes wish for the noisy,
hubbub of those days!

Pat Cochran

cheryl c said...

I recently retired from 30 years of teaching kindergarten and first grade, and right now I am enjoying the peace and quiet. I guess in comparison to my "work" years, I have become something of a hermit. I can now enjoy reading, doing projects around the house, and blogging. I am sure as more time goes by, I will venture out more and become involved in outside things. Right now, though, I just need time for me.

Donna Alward said...

I love volunteering! And I'd probably get a lot more lonely if it weren't for my online community. Contact with like-minded people is only a click away! at doolally. And I knew we were similar creatures. That must be a reason for champagne! (any excuse)

Tracy...aint that the truth. Having a deadline over Christmas holidays is a true test, and I've done it twice now!

And Cheri - I TOTALLY get that. It's exactly what I'm looking forward to at the new house. That and slushy drinks as I float around the pool in my inflatable chair! LOL

Michele L. said...

I wouldn't say I am a hermit but I do love my peace and quiet. I like to be around people sometimes since I work at an office/art supply store but then I love coming home to my husband and just spending quiet time with him. We don't have children but we lead very busy lives. So, I would suffice it to say, my house is my zen place filled with peace and quiet.

Michele L.

Margaret McDonagh said...

I'm most definitely a hermit, Donna. And I love to escape into my characters' worlds, as well as have them do all kinds of things I'll never be able to - like Cameron & Ginger going whitewater rafting in One Special Night. That was fun!!

I wish you a trouble-free move and many happy years in your lovely new home.


Michelle Styles said...

getting your energy from solitude -- what a wonderful way to put it.

I like people, but I need my time alone. There is something about being on your own that can be life enhancing. I love my family dearly but I also love it when it is quiet.

Gigi said...

Pat, you sound like me when the girls were younger I was always at the school volunteering. Now that I think about it I should have gotten a paying job there. lol

I would have to call myself a hermit but I dream of being broad minded and doing things that I don't usually do.