Much as I fantasise about becoming a hermit and dedicating my days and the rest of my life to writing, there is no way this can be financially viable unless I strike gold around the next river bend! In any case, social distancing and lockdown are proving to be very good for introspection and re-assessment of life goals.
Why do I want to become a hermit and digital nomad in the long run? For starters, on the assumption that I have all my provisions delivered to my doorstep and can access the internet from time to time, I would love to be a reside by the sea, with an endless view out into the blue, and kilometres of sand left and right, with not a single soul in sight. My only companions would be a large clumsy but loyal dog and a patient alpaca, while my menagerie of cats, racoons, and geese and wait for me at home, well maybe I’d throw in a capybara too.
Clubs and entertainment? No. (hence the menagerie).
Churches or civic centres? No.
Malls and markets? Definitely not. If I can’t grow it then it will have to be delivered.
I would like to be able to blast my classical or jazz music loud enough without being told off by the neighbours or having to conform to mandatory silence after 10:00pm. My garden would be filled with flowers, fruit trees, herbs, and vegetables. And I never want to have to wear high heels again or worry about fixing my hair. No need to ever run after a bus or a train again.
With nobody else to cook for or cater to, I would have little choice but to sit and write to my heart’s content. Reality check: I don’t have the perfectly isolated beach house, and my two cats don’t exactly count as a menagerie, but considering that I barely see my neighbours and look out to the water every day, I can’t really complain. You would think that the restricted movement and contact to other humans, the boredom with Netflix and Prime Video, and all the home deliveries already provide the perfect set-up for writing, and I should be hacking away at a third or fourth novel. The fact is that this lockdown has the exact opposite effect. A friend recently described it as jail time, and that couldn’t have been a more accurate description.
The difference between my hermit dream and the current lockdown is CHOICE. If I choose to be a hermit it is because I want to turn my back to the world without having to renounce my inalienable rights, and being surrounded by all my living decisions and imbibing inspiration from dawn till dusk. This lockdown, however, is a black box of despair as well as a cruel trick on mental health. Involuntary isolation does not the best novelist breed!
I will take living on a remote island any day instead of having to re-live this pandemic in the future.