Wednesday, February 11, 2009


"Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away."                                                             -Barbara de Angelis
       One of the most difficult aspects of touring is the lack of time I spend alone. Maybe from all those years home-schooling--waking up to an empty house, readying my cereal with only the cats for company, reading Dear Abby in peace and quiet--maybe that is why I just love waking up to silence.
        Unless of course, it is a silence broken by Drew.
        But on tour that is generally not the case.
        Wish to God it were. 

        Anyway, I have a lovely roommate whom I adore, but still--I do so love my privacy. Walks by myself.  Filling my time with just me and the piano, playing my feelings, transcending the monotony of life with a song.  Scrawling the outline of my life into my unsuspecting journal religiously. Reading the Bible and trying to gain wisdom, trying to read God's heart in those ancient words.  

         But all of this can be hard to do on tour. Long, solo walks aren't the most practical when you are literally staying on the side of a highway, with homeless people milling about nearby. The hotel in which I am now staying "used to have a piano," the woman at the front desk assured me.

         The past tense of that sentence was painfully clear.

         Journalling and reading can be disjointed at best when your roommate generally likes to keep the television on. 

          So, this is me trying to say that I am making solitude more of a priority. I want to turn off the noise, the distractions, of a world that is all too happy to compete for my attention. A world that is all too used to winning my attention. I want to hear my thoughts and understand how I am feeling; to sift through the parts of me that have nothing do with the fact that I stand 5 feet 8 inches tall or that my eyes are brown and have everything to do with my spirit and mind--my heart.  The things that aren't seen readily, that aren't perceived from a distance because the truth is they are the stuff that you get to when you dig down deep.

           And no, I couldn't stay there always, true. Sometimes a girl just needs to be made happy by the recent purchase of a $130 dollar jacket for the sensible price of $30. You need to come up for air with a little bargain hunting.  

            But it's a balance of remembering who you are apart from what you do. And that might just mean getting away and just being. Thinking. Praying. Writing. Walking. 

           Did she really just make that a verb? you're wondering, aghast. Yes, I did just make that a verb--and spellcheck is trying its darnedest to keep it from staying in it's current hybrid form. Well I am keeping it. And feeling a little like Dr. Frankenstein--only, you know, swap the dangerous monster creation for an innocuous word creation.   

           Not that exciting done my way. Which is probably why Mary Shelley did it her way. And I bet she spent a lot of time in solitude spinning out the plot in her head, deciding on the characters, writing and re-writing a fitting ending; doing what needed to be done and in the process, reminding herself of who she is and glimpsing someone who she hoped to become. 
           Which is why I want to follow suite. 


semi anonymous said...

Beautiful, and a nice counter balance to your last post. You are definitely preaching to the choir on this one. I love my children with all my heart and am so lucky to have them in my life, but I make no apologies for the fact that my favorite part of my day is right after they all go to bed, I haven't, and the house is quiet. I would go insane without it.

P.S. I have total bargain envy.

Mom said...

This is from Mom because I'm on Jen's computer right now. What a wonderful post.....I even love the word solitude.

It seems like I have to have solitude to hear from God. I literally have to go somewhere in my home where people can't find me. or won't think to find me. I love hours in the morning reading the Bible and studying it. It somehow brings lots of life to me and makes me happy.

Anonymous said...

jess. i loved your's so you and miss ya!

sarah said...

that was me..sarah altemus:)

Jessica Latshaw said...

aw, thanks, Sarah, It's always wonderful to hear from you:-)

and S-A, I don't blame you one bit for that being your fave time of the day. I think part of being the best mom/friend/wife/employee, etc, is taking care of yourself and making sure you aren't going and going without rest.

Mom--You have always been an example to me in the way you get away and take time for solitude.

Pop said...

Keep making up words. Language changes, right, so somebody has to create new words. You're a gerundive inventor. "Solituding" is very cool. How about the Disney special, "imagineering"? Very picturesque.

Adore your writing--but you know that.

Love, Pop

kathiek said...

I need time alone, too. I remember when I went to Alaska to visit Keith & Patti with my mom a couple years ago, we were all (or almost all) constantly together. One day I just automatically shut down, as it were. I wasn't sad, or upset, or anything, I just didn't want to keep to myself and be quiet. I didn't know what was going on at took me most of the day to figure it out. I finally realized that I usually have one or two hours to myself when I come home from work, until John would get home from work. If he was away on business, of course, I had even more time alone. I realized I was missing that time, and I automatically went to "screensaver", in a manner of speaking. It sometimes seems the louder, busier, crazier, and more populated my day is, the more "down time" I need. Case in point, my job is very stressful this year and I sometimes have to make myself go back out, after I get home from work, if I have a meeting, or something...even though the meeting (or whatever) is usually something I really enjoy.

By the way, Jess, this was a wonderful post, beautifully written.

kathiek said...

"I just didn't want to keep to myself and be quiet."

Oops! That was supposed to be, "I just wanted to keep to myself and be quiet."

Jessica Latshaw said...

thanks, Pop;-)

and Kathie--I knew what you meant that first time around. And what a good analogy--going into "screensaver mode" when you haven't gotten the solitude that you need.

Nina said...

I love to make up words. And...I. Love. Solitude.

Hope you find some soon.

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