This quote captures such expansive ideas in so few words.
First is the idea of the loneliness of writing. And “utter loneliness”. Like really, really alone!
I have felt that way at times. It's not just that the actual act of writing requires - for many of us - time without other people so that we're free of distraction. Even in a busy cafe, writers often wear headphones or are so in the zone that they may as well be on Mars. For all intents and purposes, the writer is alone when writing.
But more than that, the writer inhabits a world of her own making with people she has created. Within that story world, the writer is wholly alone.
I often feel that I spend the majority of my time with people that no one else knows in a world where no one else has been. The idea of “utter loneliness” is one I understand.
But here there is the second idea as well - trying to “explain the inexplicable.”
How does one explain the soul?
I think all artists and creatives are - attempting anyway - to do exactly that. To somehow explain whether in words or pictures, in clay or movement, the complex and nuanced ideas that well from the soul.
There is no perfection in this endeavor. The artist often looks at his canvas and sees only what did not make its way there, even when others laud the work.
The same is true of the story or poem. At my best, I feel that I've captured a fair bit of what my heart wanted to express. But there's always a feeling that I didn't quite get it all down on paper. That something is missing.
Perhaps it's that quest to “bleed on the page” - to explain the inexplicable - that keeps the writer tapping the keys and putting ink to the page.
Do you ever feel utterly alone? Do you agree with Steinbeck that the writer seeks to explain the inexplicable?