Real talk: have you ever felt lonely? One week before the community at Louis Place opens up, we're meditating on the paradoxes of solitude, community, and kinship. We present to you, “I NEVER FEEL LONELY: a road trip conversation” (soundtrack note: the new Brandy album,
: To be honest, I never feel lonely, as in sad. It's more that I waver between being alone and being social and enjoying both. I love compromising. I love countering. I love producing something—conversation—that, on my own, wouldn't be possible.
Now I'm looking up “loneliness" in the dictionary, trying to get a handle on what it is. The Oxford English Dictionary links loneliness and solitude: “having no companionship or society; unaccompanied, solitary, lone.”
: And then there's Claudia Rankine, who writes,
But seriously, have I felt lonely? I wonder. I do love being alone. I love that feeling of being drunk on my work, of living and sleeping and waking and writing without ever leaving. Sometimes I feel like I can eat my work and breathe it, like I can create for myself everything that I need, like the way parents say they can eat their babies, a little cannibalistic. But I agree with you: I get tired of myself. I need freshness. I don't know if I would ever say that “I love compromising,” but I do welcome some friction.
: I think many writers are like me. We love studying people. We love watching what happens when people come together. I think that's why I love to host. I like reading the room. I can scan and hear and remember. I want everyone to feel seen and taken care of, and to do for them what they need.
: In her poem “The President's Wife,” Morgan Parker asks, “Is loneliness cultural?” I think a lot about the relationship between Blackness and solitude and anxiety and difference, what it means to feel seen, or to feel like you are getting what you need, what it means to be apart / “a part”? Have I ever been seen? Sometimes I feel as though I can barely remember what it feels like to be physically among friends. Six months into the isolation of the pandemic, I have been alarmed to find myself struggling to write about those parts of social life that I haven't experienced in a while.
: Yes—when I rejoin society after being solitary for some time, I find living in language challenging. I so easily forget what people have been experiencing in community, thinking about in community, exchanging conversation in community, when I am operating only by and for myself. My writing feels impoverished when I'm alone for too long.
The first monthly Orbit workshop for at Louis Place members will be held on September 16 from 6:30-8:00pm EST, and we'll be focusing specifically on what it means to be
—on strategies for building polyphony and friction through the collision of multiple voices in our work
. Our Orbit generative writing workshops are a quick series of exercises—we think of these as tools for staying flexy and limber and strong, whether you're searching for new resources and directions in a current project or building something new or just playing around. Like all at Louis Place workshops, this follow-along session is open to all members, and will be available after the fact for those who can't make it live (audio or captioned video for those who'd like to follow along, and a text PDF for those who prefer to read).
So if you're planning to join us, why not
? We're sending a series of notes and a complete September calendar this week to help our members prepare, including details about our orientation event on September 7 at 2pm EST—you'll be added to the list when you complete your registration.
(By the way, thanks to all of you who let us know about the wonkiness in our form. If you had trouble, please know that an alternate link has also been provided.)