Poetry for Southern California


Theresa Antonia Guest Editorial










In Praise of Solitude

By Theresa Antonia

“The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room, not try to be or do anything whatever.” —May Sarton, American Poet

Some great writers have said that is necessary to write in private, in peace—that is, with a great silence. 

They say it helps our true thoughts, desires and words properly manifest themselves.

If that is true, how can one find that kind of needed solitude today, and still keep their place in our society, communities we have become part of, families we are raising, and connections we have in relation to others?

All my life, I have dreamed of a life as a “real” writer…being a reclusive person, a hermit holed up in a cabin somewhere, sleeping, reading, writing, and just plain living.  Candlelight beside the bed, books on the night stand, occasionally getting up to make some coffee, look in the fridge for some leftover lasagna, take a walk in the woods, be with my lover, go back to bed, rest some more, write. What a life, right?

Instead, as writers, poets—how often do we drown ourselves with television, iPod stuck in one ear, cell in the other, time going by, year after year this way, not being in touch with anyone, really, let alone ourselves?

When was the last time anyone really had the chance to “stroll” on the beach and think, sit in silence on some part bench somewhere and just watch leaves fall?  James Bissett Prattan, American philosopher once said,

“…every age has need of the contemplative life, and ours is no exception to the rule”.

I often wonder, when does the average person find time for this kind of time for the soul?

Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician told us,

“…almost all of our woes come from not being capable of remaining in our rooms”. 

Good advice, Blaise, but how does one do that, stay in our rooms and still survive in the world? Or is that the very key to our survival; to stop answering the phone when it rings, stop opening to the knock at the door?

All I know is this: This year, I am going to do my best, as George Herbert, British poet, once suggested, and

“By all means use sometimes to be alone.
Salute thy self; see what thy soul doth wear.”


If Theresa Antonia is not writing poetry, featuring somewhere, hosting a poetry venue, or working on the anthology from her own Mudpuppy/Projectile poetry series, she's editing the long-awaited Valley Contemporary Poets anthology, or sending in a review for Poeticdiversity.org as a contributing editor, or completing her documentary on kids & creativity.