Since I have been making short posts anyway, I thought I would try to make a post via email. Evidently that is a thing that can be done that I have been missing out on doing...
Just a few minutes ago, I got back to Sherwood Cottage from the City of Thunder (muted though the Thunder was not too long ago...), where I put my wife and daughter on a train. They are heading to the Texas Hill Country to visit family and help with my wife's elderly grandmother. (The phrase "elderly grandmother" was redundant for a while. I suppose that it once was not, and now is less so than it was, say, thirty years back.) My father-in-law and his wife headed back to the Natural State on Sunday, and my folks headed up to Iowa this morning, so I am at the house alone and will be for some few days. It is not necessarily to my liking, of course; I rather like having my wife and daughter around. But I cannot say that I do not appreciate having the time to work on The Work and other things, which I cannot do when I have company over and can do only slowly while taking care of Ms. 8 as she deserves.
It will take me a bit to get back to where I ought to be in terms of the thinking that underlies my writing, even such informal writing as this. What stringing words together in some semblance of order requires is different by far from that which being hospitable and maybe even friendly requires. Writing is a largely solitary activity, even for those projects (such as the Tales after Tolkien Society blog) that work with multiple writers; each of us works alone, only coming to the others with a draft of the text in hand. Being with people, though, requires direct interaction and sustained. It offers an immediacy that cannot be had through the interchange of text, and it is valuable therefore, as well as in offering actual physical closeness and thus a range of sensation that the written word can only evoke. It is greatly to be esteemed therefore, and I do value it.
But I am also an introvert. I draw strength from quiet and expend it in being among people. My family is certainly worth the expenditure, and I do not begrudge it. Indeed, as the athlete exults in the performance despite being exhausted at its end, I take pleasure from being with those whom I love. But just as the athlete must train between performances and gain strength to be able to enact them, I need time away and apart. I have it now for a little while, and, again as the athlete, I do not want to grow stiff and cold from too much time training and not enough in the performance; I look forward to having my people with me again. Even so, I will not waste the time alone that I have.