A novelist, and also a writing teacher, contemplates back on her past, as seen from her student’s lonely attitude. Read her full story on Rabbit Room.
I couldn’t, in that room full of a hundred children, run to her and throw my arms around her. And I doubted very much that she was the only one who harbored such a question in her heart. So I answered her as simply and directly as she had asked: “Yes. Yes, I was lonely. I was so shy and quiet that boys would tease me in order to see who could get me to talk. And yet in my books I found friends. As I read and wrote stories I became other people, I went on adventures, and I found out more about who I was.”
I wanted to tell her: The loneliness will end. You will find your place.
I wanted to tell her: The world is full of lonely people, and someone else is looking for the friend that only you can be.
But those are only half-truths. It would have broken my heart to speak the whole truth to her or to the nine-year-old version of myself that I saw in her eyes: You will continue to be lonely for a long time, and your loneliness is the furnace in which fine metal will be forged, and out of that place of inner fire will rise your art. For you will be a writer someday, and words will come from those places in you where speech is muffled and still.