While I usually try to read the posts of my fellow potatoes in a timely manner, I was only able to read the last two weeks' entries this morning. There is so much good stuff in these posts about finding the balance between solitude and community as an artist that I find it hard to contribute much that is new. Perhaps one variation on the theme is the difficulty I have encountered, at times, knowing when I need space versus when I need to reach out to others for support, inspiration, or even just good old fashioned social interaction. I tend to naturally lean toward solitude and so I think it is easier for me to "know" when I need to lock myself away from the distractions of life. But it's important to balance this time with all the benefits that come from defying my introversion and connecting with others, like on this blog.
One thing I think has not been mentioned on this theme is the value of connecting with kids, our audience. As one who is not in demand for author school visits (since, you know, I haven't published a book yet!) I have satisfied this desire by volunteering at my son's school. Whether I assist during reading time, help lead a writing assignment, or just chaperon a field trip, hanging out with a gaggle of third-graders always sends me home with fresh perspectives and new ideas. I also find their energy contagious and their joy in life an inspiration, and though I return home exhausted and definitely ready for some personal space after each visit, these interactions are some of the most satisfying social events in my life -- not to mention what an hour or two in a classroom will do for your appreciation of teachers!!