Not much time to post lately, I've been blog delinquent. Work and life are conspiring to rob me of the rumination time needed to make the bloggy machine work.
I don't know why, but I've been thinking lately about a certain time in my life, about 15 years ago, when I experienced communal housing situations for a good 5-6 years. There was a period of time between about 1991 and 1996 when I lived in a series of big old Victorian houses with lots of roommates. Since then I've endeavoured, even conspired to try my best to live alone. Even in times of real financial difficulty, post-1996 I've made my way in little teeny bachelor apartments.
The roomates I had during that time were wonderful people - most of whom I'm good lifelong friends with, still. But the daily annoyances and demands and mess and politics sucked so much energy from me ... that time is when I learned for better or worse that I need a good portion of my time to be spent alone. Not just alone in my room, but alone in the house. Alone, like - naked singing Billy Joel songs at the top of your lungs alone.
It's such a mixed bag, the communal living thing. I do know that the most creatively ferment-y time in my life was during that period. It was a time where I discovered my art, my creativity, my great loves (it was a time of lovers, too). I met new people constantly - there was always something or someone brilliant and interesting just around the next corner. But I feel in hindsight that I was constantly trying to get away from the feeling that all of the strong personalities in these dwellings were tracing themselves over top of my personality. I felt, feel - like too much constant time living with other people diminishes me.
I do feel (almost abnormally) that I need really great quantities of alone time in order to face the world properly, with grace and openness. But I miss the creative ferment and excitement and thrill of that time, when you never knew who was about to walk through the door. A lot of really, really great people walked through the door. My ideal really, would be a semi-communal living arrangement with private quarters/bedroom mixed with a communal kitchen and shared living area. Why the hell don't we develop more spaces like this? I've done some reading in the past few years about community living arrangements like this, where there is a mix of shared and private space.
By my reckoning, between 1991 and 1996 I lived with between 12-17 different people. I remember all of them fondly and vividly and each one left something with me that is a permanent part of me - thank you all!