When I’m writing, I never feel lonely. In fact, I’m more likely to feel lonely, out-of-whack, when I’m not writing. This solitude is my natural state, and if I don’t have it, I lose my center. The only hope I have of writing something good is to protect my inner life, to coddle it, to treat it like the sensitive instrument it is. A violinist cares for her violin. A singer babies her voice. A sculptor finds just the right quarry. As writers, the difference is that our own selves—our internal landscapes—are our instrument. And so we must protect ourselves from that which throws us off course.