Still Life


I ran across an article not too long ago that talked about people who are happier living alone. These are not people who hate other people. They have close friendships. They even have intimate, sometimes romantic, relationships. But at the end of the day, they prefer to go home to their own little corner of the world, to embrace solitude. I am one of those people.

I’ve never been much good at socializing. There have been times in my life when I’ve tried to be better at it, when I’ve attempted to be more present at parties and other social functions. But my essential nature is introverted and more inclined to quiet observation and introspection. When I was younger, I tended to see introversion as a flaw. Indeed it was a thing I felt needed to be corrected. Partly because our culture celebrates the extroverts among us and partly because most of us are encouraged from childhood to adopt an outgoing persona whether it really suits us or not. Just as we are encouraged to constantly seek a romantic relationship to provide us with a life partner so that we never have to be alone. In our culture, loneliness is seen as a miserable thing and there’s no doubt it can be. But for some of us, it provides a necessary counterpoint to all the noise and activity of the human world that surrounds us.

For me, the solitary life is one that fuels my creative impulse. I do enjoy getting out and about, observing what’s happening out there, spending time with friends and family. I also enjoy my online social interactions. But it is in those still times, those times of quietude, that the words begin to flow and the images begin to form. It is in my still life that I can weave perspective. It is in my still life that I read, contemplate and write. There was a time when a woman like me would have been pitied and referred to as a spinster. There was a time when I thought of myself that way. I’m so glad I have reached a point in my life where I can simply say that I’m happy alone and no longer feel the need to remedy that state.

*Note: I spent quite a bit a time yesterday afternoon trying to set up a shot for this β€œstill life” concept. I had clothes that I thought would work within the image and posed myself as part of some still life arrangement. I hated every single shot. Then after coming home from walking the dog this morning, I impulsively set the tripod up in the living room and took several shots with me kneeling behind this table. Five shots with my hair pulled back and in my ratty dog-walking clothes. This one worked. Sometimes we simply need to be who we are without embellishment.

28 thoughts on “Still Life

  1. Your best picture of many really really terrific pictures. Until reading your writing I thought it was a painting. Beautiful!

    I identify with your preference for the solitary lifestyle. I prefer being alone with my own thoughts, as opposed to dealing with the sometime outrageous and outlandinsh statements of others.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ms Karen, excellent and exceptionally insightful post; superb photograph. I haven’t gotten used to being a Widower but kind of eased into a state of acceptance of this new life path. I am my own keeper more-so governed by my own independence of thought and action instead of the outdated dictates of a polite, and socially acceptable society … well … except of course for the wants and desires of a small black and tan four pound dog …

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, sir! I’ve lived alone since I was 28, 34 years now. So I’ve had a lot of time to get used to it and to realize that it is a good choice for some of us. Though I also spent many years kind of apologizing for it, as if I had somehow failed by not finding someone to share my life with. But even though I’ve not had a life partner, I can certainly feel how hard it must be for you to adjust to being alone after so many happy years with your wife. I’m glad you are finding some happiness in your life.

      And no matter how we end up living our lives, the pups are there to give us unconditional love and much amusement, aren’t they. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t think relationships are for everyone. I enjoy my time alone and need it for creative work. That said, I’d be lost without my partner. 24 years is a long time.

    The image is superb, Karen. Has anyone told you that you look a bit like Joni Mitchell?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Rob! Yes, it took me a long time to realize that relationships weren’t for me but it was quite liberating when I did because I was able to stop looking for something that was supposed to make my life perfect. Then I could just start living instead. That said, I still sometimes have a little twinge of envy for people like you who have found someone special.

      And I’m glad you like the self-portrait. I tend to overthink both my art and my writing sometimes. One of the positive aspects of starting this blog is that it has helped me to trust my creative impulses more and just go with them.

      And no, I’ve never been told that I look like Joni Mitchell but I’ve loved her music since I was young so I’m pleased that I brought her to mind in any way. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Joni Mitchell is at the top of my list of artists I most admire. Her voice and beauty are unique.

        As social creatures we are wired to seek companionship but we are so much more than our instincts. For me, having the use of my mind is what makes my life perfect. And while I know I would feel lost without my partner; having the use of my mind give me a sense of direction and purpose.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Karen, great post and thanks for following my blog. I wanted to see what you are all about. Parents of introverts used to be told something is wrong with their child, when nothing was.

    At the suggestion of Emily of “The Bookshelf of Emily J” I read Susan Cain’s book “Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.” It is a wonderful read and not too time consuming. It blends anecdotes with a touch of psychological findings throughout.

    I think you might enjoy the read and nod in agreement on more than a few occasions. Best wishes, Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow I love this photo! You are right, many enjoy and cherish singleness. I am not one of those people (unless I was in a bad relationship, then yes). I have a deep need for romantic companionship and tend to need only one or two good friends over many. But I do understand and know that many enjoy singleness and truly value the fact that we are all different. I love the article and your message here πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Tammy! We solitary souls are a minority, I know, but I’m happy that the social pressure to pretend otherwise is not so great these days. Appreciating our differences in what makes life so interesting and nuanced I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A fantastic selfie and a wonderful smile my friend with so beautiful blue eyes !
    You are like me, i love my home and my little farm, i think is the best place for i have quiet and some peace !
    I was always a introverted person but with time had to face and communicate with many people, I was a teacher for several years and it was not easy at first, now my little space and garden are the Paradise for me and of course the Digital Art and Flickr make me in contact with the World and my great friends like you ! : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Daniel! Yes, I also had to face and communicate with people in my work life. I learned to do it but never loved it. The online communities have been wonderful ways to meet a such a variety of people and to develop friendships in spite of my introversion. And you, my friend, are most special to me! πŸ™‚


  7. I’m a solitary person as well, and always try to take time for myself now that I’m married.

    “Sometimes we simply need to be who we are without embellishment. ” I love this statement.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. First of all, thank you for following my blog. Hope that you will like some of the posts I have written.

    Personally, I am an introvert whom doesn’t have much friends. I prefer to keep my circle small with only those I trust. I rather be with the ones that have been with me through thick and thin. I always felt drained after interacting outside for for a period of time and extroverts doesn’t seemed to understand that introverts feel that way. We need to recharge our battery just by ourselves. The creative surge when we are alone is great. I think that explains why most creative talented people tend to be by themselves. Much love ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment and yes, being an introvert can be very draining at times. I think because extroverts don’t always understand that the company of others can be difficult for us to deal with at times. But I think eventually we each find a balance that works for us.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Paul! I accept. I will probably start tomorrow though. I’ve been ill for the last few days and will spend some time today caching up here. Then on to the challenge tomorrow. Thanks again! πŸ™‚


  9. i echo all the wonderful comments made above, and in this photo there is a strong resemblance to Joni.
    i spend most of my time alone, or with the dog, really, and enjoy friends when i see them, but am always happy to come home to my solitary life.

    Liked by 1 person

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