Writing in Isolation

Writing is an activity I prefer to perform in solitude. It is an escape from the outside world—an internal reflection documented. It is a time to focus my mind and silence everything else. The silence brings me to a place where I have nothing but my thoughts. Writing alone requires a certain type of discipline from me. I can’t let my mind wander off too much or too little. Often, I find myself staring at the page for long periods of time, but time is a very valuable thing, and time alone is certainly even more valuable. It seems that with all the responsibilities and obligations that come with maturity means that the perfect time to write cannot always be found, but sometimes it must be created. 

Now, I write this some time after waking up early in the morning, an often difficult time for me. I wake up by myself, usually around 3 am, and the thoughts come pouring. In a rare act of discipline, I document these thoughts that are racing through. It serves as a distraction but it is also an act of bravery to face these thoughts that disturb my sleep. “This, to my discomfort, is the perfect time to write,” I think. There is no better time than when I’m completely alone, with only the voice in my head and my body curled in the dark. 

Laying sideways, my arms crooked and one of them slightly numb, I type on the keyboard as if it is an instrument. I create a draft out of my stream of consciousness, accompanied only by the soft creaking of the house and the tapping of the keys. My eyes sting from the brightness of the screen, my fingers tap even slower as I struggle to think of what to write next. It’s interesting what you will come to discover about yourself when you are completely alone. I watch the words on the page develop from isolated fragments into meaningful observations. No one is watching me describe my complicated and scattered thoughts. They are my secret, my truth, and an unfiltered expression of my vulnerability. 

While my writing is best done in solitude, it is necessary for me to eventually come back out into the world. It is the only way to even gain experiences worth writing about. So I remove myself from the isolated space I devoted so much time to, and resume my normal routine. This kind of isolation, to me, feels positive. However, the feeling of isolation is so personal, and can mean so many things to so many different people, that each and every account is unique. 

As you can imagine, as the editors of this journal came together, the decision to make “isolation” our theme was nearly unanimous, because if there is one thing that everyone can relate to, it is the forced isolation that we have experienced during the pandemic. All of our lives were turned upside down as we were thrust into our homes, unprepared for the conditions a global pandemic would inflict on us. Many of us lost our jobs, were forced to relocate, and of course, became ill or saw our loved ones suffer from an illness we knew little about. 

Utilizing the universal experience of isolation, together we have gathered pieces of art and writing that exemplify this theme both in a literal interpretation and a figurative one.

Brianna Vigil, Poetry Editor