Loneliness and Art (Inspired by David Foster Wallace)

There’s a real loneliness in writing, more so than other art forms. Painting, though similarly solitary, forms a real, living art work before you with vibrant, tangible beauty. But with writing, all that is formed is a sea of black and white thoughts, colorless, ephemeral. You have to dive in and experience the work in order to allow it to form its provisional meaning. Whereas in painting, sculpting, even sketching, you have a piece before you that you can ascertain and experience its worth in one glance.

There is only a fleeting accomplishment with writing, if it exists at all. Soon, though, it is replaced through new thoughts and a driving, lonely need to convey your piece of existence into a form that most others will merely pretend to understand. While those that are able to will soon replace it with another work, with a more easily digestible experience. A painting. A film. A song. 


Writing asks much of a reader, it asks for their days, weeks, sometimes months of time dedicated to fall into the world and give meaning to those black and white pages. Perhaps, then, it’s more satisfying to be given a book to digest, though for the writer, they can never quite feel good about their voice because they aren’t given the immediate gratification. Or are even allowed to know how deeply, or in contrast, how superficially, they have affected another’s life. To write is then, perhaps, a selfish act because it is not dependent on another witnessing it, like a play, for it it be in full form. And though it is immortalized, as immortal as a published work can be, the writer fears they will be lost, for they already are. It is only through this fear, through a deeper sense of loneliness, frustration, and above all, curiosity, that a writer is able to do what drives them most: write. 

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