I had always supposed that loneliness was my enemy. I had seemed not to exist without people around me. But now I understood that I had always been a loner, and that this condition was a gift rather than something to be feared. Alone, I could see more clearly what loneliness was. For the first time it flashed on me that the way I had conducted my life was always to allow myself that remoteness, always protect that high, clear place that could not be shared without risking its destruction. I had paid for this over and over with moments of neurotic despair, but it had been worth it. I had somehow always countered my desire for a knight in shining armor, by forming bonds with men I didn’t like, or with men who were so off the air that there was no hope of a permanent relationship. I could not deny this. It lay, crystal clear, beneath the feelings of inadequacy and defeat, the clever, self-directed plan that had been working toward this realization for years. I believe the subconscious always knows best. It is our conditioned, vastly overrated rational mind which screws everything up.
It’s not a complaint. I come from people who have a hard time finding employment–let alone employment they dig–and it never ceases to amaze me that I get paid for what I’ve dreamed of doing since I was small. Not to mention the tremendous satisfaction I feel as a woman, even in this day and age, that I have earned every cent in my bank account (though I wish it were more). Sometimes I want a time machine just to travel back to the ’70s and assure the worried girl I was that she’s going to pull it all off.
So the look of pity my reply evokes always makes me feel both misunderstood and a strange reciprocal pity. I could never exactly articulate why until I read this passage in a Werner Herzog interview: I’m no workaholic but a holiday is only a necessity for someone whose work is an unchanged daily routine. For me everything is constantly fresh and constantly new. I love what I do, and my life feels like one long vacation.
Maybe next time someone asks about my summer, I should just sing this quote.