The Alone Experiment

I’ve been working really hard on the book of essays that comes out in the fall, a book like this one, and it takes some alone time for me to do it. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a solitary writer. I think best when I’m undisturbed, and I write best when I am entirely lonely and bored. That sort of situation is hard to come by in my house, since my objective of being alone in the house is constantly in competition with the goals of the rest of the family, who don’t ever want to leave it (or me). Joe working from home for the last year has added a new dimension to the challenge, and I’ve come to really appreciate whatever time alone might come my way. At best, I could have a four or five hour workday at home, and that’s only when the stars align and everything comes together. Most often I’ve got two or three hours, and when it’s like that I I have trouble jumping to work, since it’s not long enough to achieve lonely and bored, just a sense of relief. (Imagine a small house with two adults, three teenaged girls, one phone and one bathroom and ask yourself if two hours would even begin to be enough. I’m surprised I don’t just go sit on the bathroom floor because I can.)

Enter my clever husband, who had a client who’s sort of broke. Dude wants to make a record, but he’s a little short on the traditional wherewithal. Joe happened to know that the guy’s family has a place in the woods, far from everywhere, a place where a writer could really get lonely and bored, and he worked out a trade. The guy is getting the start of his record made, and I am spending six days here:

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Here is pretty far from my home. Here is a place in the woods where I have never been so alone. Here is a place you could really get some writing done. As a matter of fact, I feel like that’s what this place was built for.

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I’ve been here almost 24 hours now, and I have never, ever been alone like this in my life. This isn’t like being alone in the city. This is Alone. If I wanted to see another person, I would need to hike a kilometre to the road, then about 6k to the store, which is one of those crazy little stores that are liquor store, beer store, coffee shop, grocery store, post office and gas station all in one small building. (The population of this entire township, if you add together all 48 towns, is just over 9000) Then I’d need to turn around and come back. That’s about 14k (or 8.6 miles) to go if I run out of anything or want to see somebody. About 14k and it’s about -30 out there, and I think I’d be a fool to try it without my snowshoes.

I do have a phone, and a woodstove, 20 000 books, and internet access, but other than that it’s me and the woods. No music, no tv, no neighbours….

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This was pretty charming for the first several hours. I looked out the windows. I made tea. I looked out at the river and listened to the ice. I knit a little bit. I puttered around. I wrote, I made my dinner. I thought about how great it was to be alone. That there is something really compelling about spending time with yourself. It really lets you think. I wrote more. I realized that this is just what I had been needing.

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This experiment in Alone was really going to be exceptional for the writing. I knit, I wrote, I ate.

Then, something happened that I hadn’t really considered. It got dark. Really dark. It doesn’t get dark like that in the city. It got crazy dark out there, and suddenly the house felt like it was on an island. I began to feel vulnerable. I began to feel nervous. I stared out the windows. (A deer’s eyes glowed back at me and just about finished the experiment.) I began to feel a little bit panicky. it started to remind me of when you’re a little kid and you’re going up the ladder to the top bunk of a bunk bed. As you put your foot on the first rung, it occurs to you that there might be something under the bed. At the second rung, you’re pretty sure there’s something under the bed. Third rung, your heart beats faster and adrenaline pumps because you KNOW there’s something under the bed and it might grab your feet. Fourth rung and it’s all over. You leap the rest of the way so that the thing that’s definitely grabbing for your feet right now with it’s long fingers and yellow nails can’t get you and once you’re safe up there you turn to look back…. and of course, there’s nothing there. Nothing but your sister leaning out of her own bunk and saying “You freak.”

It was like that. Only you know. With knitting and some deer. By midnight I was almost beside myself. I triple checked the doors. I thought about sleeping in the bathtub. (I don’t think you’re supposed to to that for axe murderer protection though. I think maybe that’s about something else.) I wondered why I’m more afraid of the empty woods than the full city, and why I at least once a week I walk through an alley in the dark, but am having an entire crisis about being alone in the woods. By 12:30 I’d poured myself a glass of wine and I was starting to think about how many horror movies start with a cabin in the woods and end in disaster. (How about The Evil Dead? I’ll never get over that one. If you want to be afraid of trees for the rest of your life, start right there.) I made it through the night, and nothing bad happened. (Double checked this morning. Both chainsaws and the axe are still in the shed.) This alone thing though? It might have a learning curve.

Do you like to be alone? Would you like to be this alone?

Five more nights.

707 thoughts on “The Alone Experiment

  1. Ummm. I dont like to be THAT alone. But I would LOVE to have five hours all to myself. In fact, if anyone knows where I can buy spare time please let me know.

  2. You have internet connection, you can always improve your hamster-launching skills… And if there really were zombies or something else out there, they would probably be frozen to the ground in those kind of temperatures.

  3. Alone. Having just one 3-year old boy, this is something I fantasize about a lot (I have a husband, too, but he doesn’t stand on the back of the furniture trying to take all the pictures off the walls). Are there any comedies on those bookshelves? That might help when it gets dark.

  4. As long as I had at least one of my dogs with me and most of my knitting stash, I would jump at a chance for that kind of solitary.
    Enjoy it. You’ll do just fine.
    Next time pack pepper spray and the 9mm πŸ˜‰ and bring one of those axes in the house and hide it under the bed.

  5. See, this is where the cat’s idea of solitary togetherness comes in handy. She’d totally warn you if there was something under the bed. Albeit by running the hell out and tripping you up on your way to the door, but still…

  6. Isn’t it a Chinese curse that goes something like “may you get what you wish for”? I love alone, until the middle of the night. There is such a big difference between daytime alone and dark middle of the night and no one can hear your scream alone!

  7. I do alone very well. One of my greatest regrets in recent history was having to move from Kingston to Ottawa, and needing to sell my lovely 3-acre paradise in the middle of no-where. It was my quiet haven and a piece of my heart will always be there.
    The feeling gets easier to live with. You’ll do fine, but boy, will it be weird to go home again.

  8. I understand. I like to be around people. Even when they drive me nuts. But, then again, I’m not getting much writing done either.
    How much knitting did you bring?

  9. Well, I am a city girl, and I thought that was all I ever needed. But lately, maybe because I’m getting older, maybe because I’m not living the partying lifestyle I used to, I’m starting to crave a little place ‘somewhere else and quiet’. Of course this place would have a fabulous kitchen and fireplace and hammock and jacuzzi, ; ) but else and quiet nonetheless. Not to leave the city entirely, of course, but a place to escape to now and then.
    But, I do understand about being skeeved out by the total quiet. Just trust in the locks, and if you want, play some good music (through your computer) softly the first few nights as background noise to help you fall asleep.
    Oh, and don’t forget, if you’re in need of a makeup artist for appearances when you’re in New York, let me know!
    -Jill

  10. Mmmm…alone. (That means yes, I would love it, but then I’m the gal who had a dream about being carjacked. My dream self beat the carjacker to a bloody pulp.) Try sleeping with a hammer under your pillow.
    How much yarn did you bring with you?

  11. i’d have to take at least a dog… because without ‘someone’ to need me, there would be too many hours in the night. i’m sure of it.
    this spoken from a woman living with: 9yoboy, 11yogirl, 12yogirl, 13yogirl, 2 dogs, 2 cats and a man – who share my space in a one bath, 2 bedroom house. i SO hear you. there’s no oxygen in that house some days.

  12. If you read World War Z, an Oral History of the Zomie War you will find that Zombies cannot function in freezing weather. Just get out before the thaw!!

  13. I live surrounded by trees on 2 acres and it was creepy my first night here. I had moved from a typical suburbia with steet lights and nosy neighbours to this quiet calm place. It gets really dark and you can see the stars better. You sleep better. It becomes your refuge. Except when it snows and no one comes to see if you are alive! But it’s great knitting time πŸ™‚
    Susan

  14. Sometimes you get what you asked for. I live alone and I like my space and privacy. However that is different than being in a house in the woods all alone in winter. It seems to me that you might have bitten off more than you can chew. Maybe you could do your alone time in smaller bits – say like a 2 or 3 day weekend. That way if you start to freakout, you know then you only have a short time until you can leave. And it make might you more productive as you know you will only be there for a short time.
    I can only say hang in there baby!
    I think I would be able to manage it better if I had a DVD player and loads of DVDs. But then, that is missing the point. Best – Hester from Atlanta

  15. I’d like to give that much alone a try. I might have trouble the first night but I think once over that hump I could get really used to it!! I hope the five more days (and nights) you have are as productive as you need them to be. Ah, the thought of watching the fire, wine glass by my side, knitting in hand….

  16. Are you kidding? I live with four children under the age of 10. If I manage to get into the bathroom all by myself, it’s a very good week (and even then, they stick their fingers under the door, moaning ‘mommeeeeee’). I’d LOVE to have six days alone – but, that said, I’d be taking my standard poodle with me. He’s always up for long walks, sleeps beside the bed, and doesn’t follow me into the bathroom.

  17. My husband and I have talked about moving out in the middle of no where. I said I was all for it as long as he was never ever gone at night!

  18. I don’t have to ask — I live in a small apartment with two teenaged BOYS with one bathroom and one phone. There is NEVER enough alone time.

  19. I love to be alone, but I don’t know about *that* alone. I think I, too, might have been in that bathtub before the night was through.
    Still, hope it helps with the writing. At the least, it ought to give you about one day back home before the crazy reinfects you.

  20. You are very brave. I am not sure I could do it. I would be too afraid of a bat. Those things scare me like crazy. Not that I have ever had real contact with one, but I can’t even look at them on tv.
    My suggestion is to walk (during the day, of course) to the liquor/grocery/coffee shop and get some more booze. Couldn’t hurt.

  21. I come from that kind of alone. I’ve been living in a “city” for three years and it’s about to drive me batty!! How do all these people live in such a close place to each other??? Give me mountains and woods and spooky deer and bear any day over taxis and busses and that spooky alley with the couch that’s been there since I moved to this city.

  22. Being alone sounds like heaven to me but I know what you mean about things that creep in the night especially without those city lights. Looking forward to your book of essays. I really loved the last one.

  23. The evil dead is a great movie. I love horror movies. Evil dead is one of my favorites
    Ah alone in a cabin for a few days would be wonderful. I am sure I would miss my kiddies and Hubby but I have not had more then a couple of hours alone since well I can not remember when. I would be happy for just a day.
    =)

  24. I like being alone. . . . a lot. . . but only for a short stretch of time (24-48 hours). Honestly though, the temptation to read or knit would basically confound any other attempts to be productive. I’m rooting for you! I know you’ll get everything accomplished that you need to. (Unlike me who didn’t get the shawl done for my friend before her baby came–and I knew she would go early too)

  25. Yes, I have been in the woods all alone and loved it. When I was about 17 (48 now) my parents for some weird reason allowed me to live at the lake house so I could ‘work’ in the area by taking their boat to the marina. No one lived close by and I really enjoyed the freedom, never thought about being alone or intruders…I don’t think I closed the curtains facing the water the entire summer. Mom would not be pleased to know that little nugget of info.
    I still enjoy being alone although the moments don’t happen much anymore.

  26. I was just alone for 4 days, but in town. Well not really alone. You see, we have this annoying dog that wants to play, go for walks, eat, you know, dog stuff. Want to borrow my dog?

  27. I spent 2 summers back in my youth as a bush camp cook. I spent my days alone in the isolation of the Yukon and northern Saskatchewan. At night I slept alone in a tent. I had trouble sleeping at night in the absolute quiet. I kept listening for bears. I got a set of earplugs mailed to me by my mother. I slept fine after that. I knew I couldn’t hear the bears so I stopped listening for them. Consider getting a set of earplugs. The real problems came when I returned to the city. The trains 2 miles away would wake me up.

  28. Does this poor client need any video editing done? I’d be happy to barter some video editing for time in his cabin. πŸ™‚

  29. Yes, Yes, a thousand times Yes! It wouldn’t scare me a bit. I am a single mom of a 3 yr old, working full time, going to school part time, and attempting to maintain a long distance relationship for the past year. The only thing I can think of that would be better than this, is this with the promise that my house would be perfectly clean and organized when I got home!

  30. So, invite us all to join you.
    Seriously, I used to live in the middle of nowhere, a half mile from any neighbor. Mostly I loved it. The worst was when I was there by myself at night, sleeping on the first floor next to a big window, and something started making noise outside the window.
    I turned on the light. The noise stopped.
    I turned off the light and tried to go back to sleep. The noise started up again. Shit.
    Repeat light on – noise off. Light off – noise on.
    I slept with every light blazing that night.
    (It was a lovesick porcupine. They sing to themselves. Also, they chew with their mouths open. Their mothers must have a fit.)
    By the way, mice running through the walls make a hell of a lot of noise, but they’re only mice. It’s when they start running over your sleeping body that I start having problems.
    Should we bring wicked bright lights along with the beer and our knitting?
    Sleep tight, dear!

  31. I’m a classic introvert. I tend not to use the “L” word (loner) because people think that all loners are crazy people who take weapons to other people.
    However, I am perfectly fine with no other human interaction, although it would be nice to have the dog and cats along on a trip like yours.

  32. You go girl. You’ll be fine. I’m surprised you did that good on the first day. We get so used to our rituals and daily life that when something is a little (or a lot in your case) different, then our bodies’ fight and flight reflex decides that there must be something wrong. You’ll probably think that cabin is the best thing ever, just about the time you are ready to go home. No, really, maybe tomorrow or Saturday (my birthday!!) at the latest. I’ll be thinking of you!
    BTW, I loved that book. It is my favorite and I have read it three times. I tell your stories to everyone. Keep them coming, whatever you have to do! πŸ™‚

  33. Do you have indoor plumbing? I can manage as long as I don’t have to go outside by myself in the dark. I want to be able to see what is going to attack me!

  34. After spending 10+ years with roommates, I’m very happy to be alone after all this time. I have lived where you are (deep and dark, and in CA, where it gets so dark, you can’t quite get a grip on it. It’s odd. But it’s not bad. It definitely takes some getting used to…damn Hollywood. I went through the same panic attacks you did, but after the second day, it just becomes comforting…At least for me it was.

  35. I would love it. I’m single and I live alone but I’ve been daydreaming about spending a weekend in a B&B or an inn and just work on my writing (Structured isolation) but you just raised the bar.
    Sleeping pill before bedtime takes an edge of the neurosis. πŸ™‚

  36. Would you do something for me? On the next clear night, go outside and lie down in an open place and look up at the stars, and say hello to them for me. I get to see most of them only two weeks out of the year, when we’re in Rangeley.
    YES. I would LOVE to be that alone. Please give me your temporary address immediately. (Oh. I guess neither of us would be alone then. But you get the general idea.)
    (I presume that in addition to all of the creature comforts you listed you have an adequate supply of food, drinking water, warm clothes should you want to go outside and lie down, stuff like that.)

  37. I love to be that alone from time to time, and I try to get somewhere like that at least once a year. I find it very meditative.

  38. Listening to my 6-year old holler in the background while the 1-year old yanks on my hair and the pug crunches kibble over my foot, Alone sounds pretty darn fantastic right now, heheh. That said though, I remember spending the night at the family’s cabin years ago and taking their dog, a cordless phone and a baseball bat I named Ethel (don’t ask… it made me feel better at the time!) to bed with me because the absence of city sounds freaked me out so I can totally relate! I hope the heebie-jeebies fade away soon, and you’re able to enjoy the peace & quiet. =)

  39. Hm. The idea sounds appealing, but I’m not sure I would want to be stuck in a house by myself for six days with no music (although, if you have internet access, you do have radio). I think I would go stir crazy!
    If you’re not willing to walk so far in such coldness to see another human being, is an axe murderer really going to be any more ambitious? Just don’t let any strange people inside =)

  40. I’d give a million dollars to be that alone right now. I’m in my third week of heavy overtime at work (I’m an auto engineer) and I’m so incredibly overstimulated with the computer and assignments and people babbling at me that I’m starting to understand insanity. Take me with you!!!

  41. Well, but think a minute. If you have to slog 14 km round trip to buy tea in -30 degrees, any axe murderer would have to do the same. By the time he (or she) got to you, they would be freezing and moving kind of slowly. I think you’re safe from the average axe murderer. Now ghosts, on the other hand…

  42. Tornados. (Or ‘naders, as we sometimes refer to them down here.) Or maybe hurricanes. I think that’s when you want to be in the tub. Something about the plumbing adding reinforcement to the walls. We can’t build basements in the hard rock in Texas, so sometimes the bathroom is as good as it gets. (Although most would prefer an inside closet, no windows.)

  43. Childhood holidays in the Welsh countryside – darkness, silence (apart from the owls and the cows) but the rest of the family were there, so I don’t suppose it counts!

  44. i CRAVE it. being really, honestly alone is the only thing i still miss from my pre-married/pre-mommy life. well, that and the casual sex with strangers(KIDDING).
    i sent my husband (also a writer), all by his lonesome, up to the mountains last summer for a weekend. he didn’t finish the novel, but he moved it along. he would be beside himself with joy at the thought of a whole week alone in a cabin.

  45. When I was yonger we had a camp. It was in a camp ground and there were other people there at night so it was never that alone, but I miss the outdoors, I miss that away from the city feal. Where there are no street lights and you can see the stars, and a lake. I miss being on a lake. The winter really adds to the solitude, bet you if it was summer it wouldn’t feel as solitary. You could always invite the dear in for a cup of tea.

  46. As with all else, I’m guessing there is a balance point between alone and not alone. You have swung the pendulum all the way. It does sound so tempting, but I feel your midnight fear. Lock the locks, pull the curtains, make tea, play music and knit. Or write. Certainly, this is one of those experiences that bring about inner personal zen, and about the time you get there, you’ll have to go home!

  47. Steph – you are not feeling alone, you are feeling vulnerable. The place you are in is isolated and that is a new experience. Frankly, I’d feel less vulnerable in the cabin alone than on a rocky outpost in a sleeping bag with friends(as you experienced last summer). Savor the eperience. Look at the stars, watch for Northern Lights, listen to Nature in Winter – the sounds and smells are different from the ones you experience in the Summer. Let Nature dictate your rhythm, relax but be aware. You can always e-mail a response to every comment if you get really bored. Knit on!

  48. I also work from home, and have 3 children – they are 12, 9.5 and 14 months. The 14 month old is trouble. She wakes from her nap to nurse in the middle, and is otherwise the world’s worst sleeper, and nurses almost hourly overnight. How I’m not dead from fatigue I do not know. I attribute it to Ben & Jerry’s. And blame it for my inability to lose weight (it’s true – studies show that sleep deprivation, stress, and weight loss are all linked – I don’t believe the study addressed the chocolate intake variable).
    In any event, I’m rarely alone. I really love it, I crave it as well. I’m always pushing DH to go out at night so I can do my stuff without feeling guilty to ignoring him – I need that time to read blogs, catch up on reading, work on projects, etc.
    But I do double-lock the doors at night.

  49. Look at the Milky Way. You can never see it in the city. But out in the middle of nowhere, there it is, big as life, and ten times as beautiful.

  50. I have worked for a pack station in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains–taking guests on horseback into the wilderness and cooking for them. There are times when I must stay at a base camp by myself for a couple days after guests go out and before a new group comes in. My “home” is a tent and an outdoor privvy and kitchen with bear-proof boxes for the food. I grew to love this alone, just me and the critters and my writing and knitting. But it took a day or two the first time to slow down mentally and just experience being with my thoughts. Being physically tired helps with the night heebie-jeebies, so maybe do some snowshoeing even if you haven’t a destination. I do hope you enjoy it eventually, because it’s a rare and special experience for a mom.

  51. I LOVE ALONE; I CRAVE ALONE; I CAN’T REMEMBER LAST TIME I HAD TOO MUCH ALONE!!! (oh yea, right before I met my husband and when I thought I was going to die alone with my dog and my cat and that he was the most wonderful, loving, caring, sensitive guy…
    Then we got married; then we had kids….
    I LOVE ALONE; I CRAVE ALONE…
    What can I trade to get alone?
    Will he rent it out?
    Could it be a knitter’s retreat?
    I’ll bring wine and wool (and whoppers—you knew that one was coming. ;o)

  52. Yes! Alone is such fertile ground for centering and for simply “being”. If you thought you might not have this opportunity again for a long time, what would you most want to take with you (experience-wise, not burglary!) from this adventure in being alone?

  53. BEING ALONE is highly overrated. I just sent my second twin off to college. No more kids. No husband, either. (Sent him packing 14 years ago.)
    ALL ALONE. Well, there is the dog. No, I totally miss twin b’s hugs, and twin a’s chatter. Don’t get me started about the many ways I miss my daughter. She goes off to start her career on the other side of the country. Not good for me, good for her.

  54. Oh yeah, one more thing:
    White Paper
    That’s what I visualize when I’m too freaked out to sleep. Works like a charm!

  55. I know exactly what you are talking about with that little kid feeling. I get it way more than I would like to admit: when I stay at my parents home in remote KY, when I stay at my parents home in suburban OH, in our apartment when the boy is gone. Pretty much anywhere that I am solely responsible and where the true/other owner is absent. I usually just hole myself up in one of the bedrooms with knitting and my laptop. The crazy axe murderers can’t get me there…

  56. As soon as I started reading the post I thought – I couldn’t do that – I’d completely freak myself out. I’d need to take some good drugs to get to sleep….yikes…

  57. Lovely pictures . . . and I bet the deer was as spooked as you were!
    I grew up in the country and loved the alone and the quiet. You get used to it. Then when you’re home in the city you’ll complain about all that noise. I know this because I was an exchange student to a foreign city and after my 1st night there I complained about hearing “all that traffic” in the night. My host family was mystified because the nearest semi-busy street was over 2 blocks away and all their friends envied them their quiet neighborhood!

  58. Yep! I LOVE being that alone..When I lived like that, though, I didn’t have internet…and no car..and no running water..and no chain saw…and no knitting..ARGH!! How DID I survive??
    I live at the edge of civilization now..and just got my running water from a month-long frozen water line..that was worst..not so much missing running water as lacking the ability to flush…that was nasty…

  59. I do not like to go camping. it’s not about the bugs or the dirt or the heat or cold. It’s about the unsafe ness I feel being out doors without a door to lock, the inability I feel to protect my children or family or self. I feel like easy pickins for a bad guy.

  60. The place looks familiar in the rural backwoods way, it must be a bit intimidating knowing how much of a ‘city’ person you are. I live out here,not actually right there; but out in the middle of nowhere there. Not alone, haven’t done that for a while, I like being able to see the lights of the house down the road. I would be more afraid when travelling by myself and staying in hotels in strange city..now that would be enough to send me into the bathtub to sleep.
    By the time 5 more sleeps are over, you won’t want to leave. Enjoy.

  61. I bet you get so addicted to this place that going home will be weird. You’ve done the “creep yourself out” thing, so tonight will probably go much more smoothly.
    I wouldn’t want to live that far from everyone and everything, but a week sounds like heaven!
    But the whole writing thing sounds waaay too much like “term paper due”–the bane of my college existance. Hint: don’t major in Sociology if you don’t like cranking out multiple term papers every year.

  62. Oh I’m with Presbytera on this one! I can do the alone thing no problem. Everything comes into sharper focus – all your senses, the brightness of the sun and snow, the stars, the darkness, the noises of the trees and the water, the sound the ice makes in the river (or in the icemaker?). While it will seem to take a long time to get used to, when you get back to the city you will find everything “too” (loud, bright, etc.) and you’ll want to turn around and go back to the cabin in the woods. If you need a little summer break, let me know – SO and I have a little place on a lake – not quite that isolated, but . . .
    PS – make sure you go out at night and look up at the stars! It can put your whole life in perspective.

  63. My family has a cabin in the mountains of Colorado. I adore being there alone during the day. Evening is also fine; I draw the curtains and build a fire. But deep night is when the house creaks as though someone or something is walking down the halls, and the furnace makes the most terrifying noises. Or some noise wakes you from your sleep and you lie there trying to discern what it was. One of my cousins spent a night there alone and fled for a hotel in Aspen the next morning.
    So I sympathize with you. And to keep my sanity, I try to avoid horror movies…and that segment of the evening news which informs us of the sort of evil maniacs that exist out there. The animals don’t phase me.

  64. I grew up in the woods with lot’s of alone. I’ve been living in the big city for 10 + years, and I miss the alone. If i’m in the country by myself (ok. maybe with a dog or two for company), I am more sure of life, than this city business.
    Maybe the alone time will grow on you. It looks beautiful.

  65. You’re not alone. Before my husband moved in I used to sleep with a nightlight. At 32.
    Some of us are just scared of the dark, is all. It’s not that I’m alone in the dark, but the fear that I’m not.

  66. I would like that much alone for about five days or so, yes. I would probably be happier with one of the cats along. While my house isn’t isolated like that, we do have shining eyes in the woods. Remember, deer are vegetarians. Rarely does one hear of a rampaging deer attack. πŸ™‚
    It sounds like a wonderful place to get some writing done. And the book you linked to is still my favorite. I’ve loaned it out with strict instructions that it had to come back to me…. hmmm, I’d better check up on that…

  67. Well, I think it sounds great, but I bet I would get the willies, too, if I actually got the chance to do what you’re doing. See, you THINK you want to be all alone in the woods but then you realize just how crazy opposite it feels from your normal life and it freaks you out. I bet by the third night you’ll be just fine.
    (Just don’t watch The Shining)
    And by the way, your book of essays is my favorite of all your books. I’m glad you’re writing another!

  68. That Alone sounds divine. Peace, quiet, books, kntting, fireplace, and even internet access…ahhhhh…I would enjoy it for a few days. Then I would want to see my family again. But those few days would be Bliss.

  69. It sounds heavenly! Granted, being from Vancouver where I the coldest I recall it getting was -14C I don’t know from winter and I certainly never owned any snowshoes… Still it does sound nice to me. At least it would be nice for a few days – as long as I didn’t have to leave the house for anything other than a leisurely stroll. Hmm is snowshoeing ever really ‘leisurely’?

  70. Sounds glorious to me! I live in a small town with one of those stores. . . and its a 15 mile round trip for real groceries or gas in the next town. 30 miles to the nearest “city”. I’ve never figured I lived nearly far enough out in the sticks. Trade ya!

  71. The sleeping in bathtub thing is for tornadoes. I have not-so-fond memories of sitting in an empty bathtub with a mattress ready to pull over me if the storm sounds got too ominous, reading Jaws because that was the only thing I had in the house that was scarier than a tornado.

  72. The Evil Dead movies are some of my favorite. I may need a little Evil Dead and knitting marathon this weekend. As for being alone, I used to cherish my along time. Sharing apartments with roommates does that to a person. Now that I am living with my fiancΓ©, sometimes I would rather have him around then be alone. At least he’s pretty easy to ignore if I so choose.

  73. You poor thing. I understand that feeling. The worst is no music…no other sound. Then you really feel the world around you cracking and swooshing and closing in. It helps to talk to yourself. I’m serious. This is why people who are alone go crazy.

  74. Being that alone would be completely awesome. Although I would want to have my dog with me because she loves being out in the woods, so maybe that would be cheating? She’s IS a pretty poor conversationalist…

  75. Wow – you are so lucky. As I was reading, I wondered if I could rent the cabin? I can understand the freaking out at night thing. I used to do that. Tip – don’t look out the windows at night (if you can’t see the glowing eyes – they aren’t there). Try doing some yoga if you are struggling – shoulder stand is excellent for calming the body and mind.
    Looking forward to the next book.

  76. City girl, married 26 years: alone in a cabin with my husband would be great. Alone, alone, not so much. Lovesick porcupines? Mice? Spiders? I “let” my husband deal with those things.
    I’d be drinking to fall asleep at night.

  77. When I spent a few days alone in a cabin in northern Saskatchewan, I kept myself from getting nervous…by learning to knit. That may not work for you at this point.

  78. By the time you get used to it and start to enjoy the solitude it will be time to go home. What you need is an animal with you. I spend most of my time alone but I would go nuts without my two golden retrievers. This should be great for writing because while you are writing you won’t have to think about being alone.

  79. There’s a difference between being alone and being isolated. I like to be alone in a busy place, if that makes sense. It comes from growing up in London, England. Whereas the log cabin sounds positively terrifying! I wouldn’t sleep a wink in that place alone. On the plus side I would do loads of knitting. Good luck and hurry home!

  80. I enjoy that type of alone. It is an alone that you have created with a beginning and an end. These components are important. It allows for recharging, relaxing, and recharging of the self. It grows the appreciation and enjoyment of others, too. Time spent experiencing contrast in life is important. It helps balance. Balance is good.

  81. I’m at midterms right now and everything is so busy and tight and GAAAAH!!! that I could use a little alone time. I like alone time in spells. Time to recharge, think, take things slow. After a while, though, I stop functioning well and need to have people around me.
    Oh, man, wish I were where you are right now.
    Happy writing.

  82. I get the same vulnerable-alone feeling whenever something out of the ordinary happens (your hotel stays for your book tour? wouldn’t matter how dead tired I was, after half an hour the tv would have to be on and a heavy object within hands-reach…). My parents live almost as remote as where you are now, and it takes me about three days to settle down when visiting. Then I have to get used to the busses labouring up the hill all over again when I get back.
    I echo Mary Jane: get thee some earplugs. I don’t know why earplug-silence is different from no-noise-silence, but it is. MUCH easier to sleep that way (although I may have to send her evil looks for suggesting that I couldn’t hear the bears!).

  83. I’ve been living in a large metro area for four months now, and am pretty alone; we haven’t gotten to know anyone yet, as I’m just doing freelance work from the house. The jets flying overhead can still wake me up, especially when they rattle the house.
    I’ve also done time out in the middle of nowhere by a lake in northern Maine (same, you want the groceries, go hike there, except it was late summer), where I could get up at 6 am and paddle through mists that looked like souls rising, and where, if I were still enough, I could have loons pop upside my kayak (having a loon not be wary of you is harder than you would think. They’re incredibly fast swimmers once they dive).
    I understand how big the quiet of the night can seem when the world becomes truly dark (the way it never does in cities), but I would take that sort of alone over city alone any day. I prefer isolation to lonliness, I guess (the fact I’d like to live in the middle of nowhere probably influences that though!).
    Back to the short row heel…

  84. I adore alone–I actually spend a lot of my time alone, no kids, work from home, and it’s great. UNTIL BEDTIME. Then I absolutely NEED my husband with me, and if for some reason I don’t have him, I sleep with every light in the house on, a Bible under my pillow and a baseball bat on the bedside table. Because, you know, The Boogeyman might get me otherwise. But I have it on good authority that The Boogeyman is not frequenting the Canadian woods this time of year, so you have nothing to worry about. Enjoy and happy writing!

  85. Mwah, ha, ha…. Sounds like me being home alone, watching serial killer reports and such on TV and all the sudden noticing that no, I repeat no door in that house is locked. Glad I’m not the only one.

  86. As a wise friend of mine once said, it is extremely unlikely that we will experience the Hollywood traumas we fear in the immediate future (ie. the next twenty-four hours of our lives). Her name was also Stephanie. I found the thought about the odds of disaster rather comforting at the time, since I figured she was right. Julian of Norwich also had a pretty good saying for such circumstances: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” Me, I get the primevalness (spelling?) of all that alonedark, but have to say two of the best and most influential days of my life were spent, literally, alone on a mountaintop. No Internet, no tent, plus I hadn’t learned to knit yet. Just deer, hummingbirds, and a bear. You at least have doors between you and the bear. When in doubt, breathe and settle. I do like being alone, sometimes.

  87. That kind of alone is a little creepy to me. I like the kind in a strange city, at a big mall, where I get to decide when I eat and when I shop, I get to choose how long I sit in Barnes and Noble – not my DH or kiddos. I like alone at home, with all my conveniences and all my yarn, but no family! Alone with the dark and the deer, now that’s just not good!

  88. I like to be that alone if, and ONLY if, I have a animal-creature-friend with me, preferably a BIG dog, but my cat can be comforting, too.

  89. I teach high school and have an 11 year old daughter who currently has stitches in her foot and will surely be up for the best actress nomination at next year’s Oscars… so I’d love to be alone. Then again, this is coming from the girl who owns a fairly nice camper in the woods but has never visited it alone because the very idea sort of creeps her out.

  90. I do like to be alone and would love to be in a secluded cabin in the woods. I love it when the power goes out and it gets very quiet and very dark. You get to enjoy that level of darkness but with the joy of electricity…it is your friend and so is the internet. If you get nervous tonight just jump on Ravelry and there will be people to offer you comfort or at least entertainment and distraction.
    By the way, you have a wonderful Joe! He bartered his work for your peace and sanity so you could work. He definitely deserves a hug.

  91. I would like it… until it got dark. And I had to start the fire by myself.. and there was no one there to reassure me that it was “supposed” to smell that way and I was OK. (I have PTSD from a house fire). That and the noises in the dark. I would so need my cat. You are a brave, brave woman!!

  92. I was once on a usually densely inhabited beach island (Fire Island, to be precise) for a week of well deserved break from medical school. I had rented a share in a house for all the weekdays when no one else was to be using the house, and was going to stay for the weekend when all the other renters arrived. The first night there was a ferocious electrical storm, wind howling, lightnening strikes over the water nearly continuously for 6 hours. The power went out. I knew there were people in the homes on either side of me, hunkered down like I was, so it wasn’t so bad. I ate the perishables first, and then sat down in front of the fireplace to poke the wood. (I wasn’t a knitter yet, and we had no candles for reading by. ) That night I fell asleep in the living room in front of the fire. The next morning EVERYONE else left the island when it was clear it could be days before power was restored. I was damned if I was going back to Manhattan to my tiny, shared dorm room when I was on a lovely beach. No power? No problem. People had lived well without electricity for millenia. I had a sturday house, lots of canned goods, a camping stove, and beautiful storm-tossed beach to walk. And I could read during the day.
    Then it got dark. I started to run out of firewood. I started to feel really vulnerable, even though I knew I was essentially alone. This was the days before cell phones, so I couldn’t call anyone, cause the phone lines were down too. I started to hear the tree branches clicking against the dark windows. I wondered about animals, tornados, serial killers. I wanted to preserve firewood for later nights so made myself put out the fire and go into the bedroom to sleep. Now I felt even more adrift. There were tall shrubs being blown against the windows repeatedly, and I could here the surf crashing, feel it actually as the ground shook with each wave. It was a very restless night.
    I finally decided, through sheer force of will to stick it out and discover what it was like to be alone, isolated, independent. To deal directly with my fear and anxiety, and see if I could get to the place where I could feel the actual safety I was surrounded by, instead of the potential danger I kept imagining. I kept speaking to myself soothingly, reassuringly, like you would a scared toddler, and you know what? Eventually I became very calm. Those 4 days before the power came on were some of the most slow moving, inward facing time I’m ever had, and had the result of making it much harder to freak me out. I remember that the storm gods and the boogeymen on the island didn’t hurt me back then, and I usually figure they won’t get me this time either.
    So stick it out. You may just find out about skills you never get to practice. And you might love what you are able to write from that place.
    Elaine

  93. I would love it – well, I would definitely love it right up until the whole darkness thing, but I am optimistically hoping that all my years of camping training in Girl Guides would hold me in good stead with the darkness….maybe.
    I wish you fantastic Alone-ness!

  94. I love being alone. This sounds like heaven to me. I do understand about the freak-outishness of it all. City and country, deep country, are very different worlds.

  95. Sigh. A house in the woods. Deep quiet. All alone. Many books. Sounds perfectly dreamy. It IS my dream in fact, and I don’t have kids. You’re a lucky lady with one brilliant husband.

  96. Alone takes practice, esp. after living a life crowded with people. Thoughts are objects too and sometimes they trip you up big time. You will settle into it and then it will be hard as hell to go back to the chaos! Just one last little joke waiting for you…
    I do envy that alone-ness right now, despite its challenges. I just spent 11 days on the road in a compact car, two children under 12yo and about trunkful of knitting.

  97. I think it’s gorgeous out there! And I guess coming from the city it would feel that alone and scary. I’ve lived in the woods my entire life and I feel scared at night when there are other houses and people around me that I don’t know. Guess it’s just what you’re used to and a change in your environment can be scary.

  98. You are not alone…The squirrels…Yes, they followed you there…They are now conspiring how to get at the rest of your unattended stash – run home Stephanie!

  99. I’ve always needed a lot of alone time. It was a sore spot when I was married ’cause he always wanted to be together and that drove me nuts.
    But alone with no music and no TV, either? That’s a bit much. ALthough with an Internet connection and some DVDs, I’d be fine.
    Darkness has always been somewhat comforting to me. I think of it as a blanket wrapping around me. Maybe it’s okay for me because I don’t watch scary movies like “Evil Dead,” or maybe because I grew up in a small town in the mountains, or whatever.
    In any case, by the time you get settled in, it will probably be time to go home and then you’ll think of your time alone in the cabin with fondness. πŸ™‚

  100. Being that alone sounds like heaven to me. It’s been so long since I’ve been that alone. Yeah, it’s always a little spooky at first, but then you grab a blanket, build up the fire, lay on the couch and snooze there instead of the bed πŸ™‚

  101. Looks like heaven to me, and yes, in the dark I’d be thinking alone could get better, too! I turned down an awesome rental house in a nice area because of just that, I knew every night I’d be scared out of my mind because I was alone in the dark in the middle of the woods!!! Good luck, hope you get lots of writing done!
    :O)

  102. I LOVE being alone. I live in a house with 3 kids (2 teens) and 1 husband, and multiple bathrooms. I am never without other people around me. Enjoy the solitude. Except for the deadline, you are living out my fantasy.
    Did you bring enough knitting? Now the impatience for the ‘serendipitous’ yarn makes sense!

  103. Yes, until it got dark. Then I would curl into the fetal position with a ring of garlic around my neck, a silver bullet (not in a gun though, so I guess I would just throw it at the wolfman), and a lot of tears. I am terrified of the dark, and the things that go bump in it.
    Terrified. You are one brave chick.

  104. I would hate to be that alone. I’ve been accused of being a city rat, and staying with the boyfriend’s family out in the middle of nowhere freaks me out. No streetlights? No sidewalks? No other people around? Hello anxiety attack!
    Also? I would totally sleep in the bathtub. Maybe if the crazy axe murderer doesn’t see anyone in the bedroom, they’ll assume the house is deserted and go away.
    I’m not helping, huh?

  105. I had a similar experience when I did my M.S. research – tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere, studying soil breathing. Although I had a car and could see people if I needed too.
    Some thoughts similar to those I comforted myself with:
    * Rural violent crime is almost always about domestic disputes, you don’t have any domestic companions, so violence is very very unlikely.
    * Even ax murderers are human. -30 doesn’t seem like ideal ax murdering weather. πŸ™‚
    If you give yourself a chance to get into a groove, but you’re still unhappy at night after a couple days, go home. Most humans aren’t meant for complete solitude, we didn’t really evolve that way. I love a good 8 – 10 hours of solitude and focus, but I learned that very much more is sort of challenging for me. You seem so skilled at social-ness – understanding people and our quirks and loves and needs – that it might be a little counter-intuitive to expect yourself to also be the kind of person who digs hermitude.
    Just like you tell us about knitting – if it’s not fun (or in this case, at least pleasant and productive), what’s the point of being masochistic?
    (But if it is productive, I’ll sure enjoy your resulting book!)

  106. I think that sleeping in the bathtub is more about making clean-up a little easier on the ax-murderer. Hate to spot the rug, you know.

  107. When we first moved to our “house in the woods”, I went crazy when the sun set… it was/is so totally dark – no street lights and no ambient town light (that aura that surrounds neighborhoods). It’s dark and when the coyotes come out to howl….

  108. I spent much of last night awake after nightmares spawned by having read the OUTLINE of a bad horror movie. I’m pretty sure I would be raving lunatic (well, more than I am now) if you stuck me in the middle of nowhere for six nights alone. My mind would be long gone and far away, never to return.

  109. as long as you turn on any reel to reel tapedecks in the basement you should be okay. you are safer alone than in a city but it feels so different that its the change thats scary, not the quiet.
    hope you took along joe’s gansey!

  110. I do alone and in the woods very well; in fact, I only wish I had more woods between me and the nearest neighbors. But many friends, even country-folks, have said, “I could never live like this! Aren’t you afraid of [fill in the blank].” So I think your feelings of uneasiness are not uncommon!
    Hope the writing goes well for you, Woman of the Wilderness. I’ll look forward to reading that next book, hopefully right here in front of my woodstove, alone in my little home in the woods. With wine! πŸ˜‰

  111. Yes it would totally freak me out.
    Next time send everyone else to the cabin, and stay in the city yourself.
    Kathleen

  112. I’ve had that kind of alone a few times, mainly through some weird sort of idea of getting out of it all and going camping on my own. The first couple of nights have always terrified me, mainly because I have a massively overactive imagination and read far too many things that verged on the creepy as a child. Also, having tent walls around you is FAR less reassuring than wooden walls. And I’m slightly afraid of the dark, in general. Whoever posted above about getting yourself physically tired is correct, though. I would highly encourage you break up your day with a good long snowshoe, so that when it comes time to sleep you actually NEED to.
    Guess we shouldn’t start listing names of movies that happen in small cabins… πŸ™‚
    Enjoy your time there. It sounds like it should be lovely. And just, try to breathe, and talk yourself through it at night. Have fun!

  113. To be that alone I would need a couple of decent guard dogs for company or a human companion equally craving the solitude and wanting to be alone.

  114. I lived for a summer in my step-father’s cabin in rural Kentucky. My alone experience was very much like yours, only more Southern. I’d hear music from a boat down the river, then I’d hear a rustling outside the windows, then some sort of eerie wind-type noise coming through the chimney for the wood stove. I did get used to it, but I was often on edge. To make matters worse I didn’t even get cell phone reception. I kept thinking that if an axe murderer came (I hadn’t thought of the bathtub thing) I’d have no hope of finding help. But in the end it was good for me, I think.
    Your hubby’s really nice, by the way, to do trade for some space for you. I hope you get some writing done. Maybe you can become nocturnal: stay up an write during the scary nightime and sleep during the safe daytime.

  115. I’ve been fortunate to have always lived out in the country (much like where you are now) and spent many days and nights “alone”, but always with a pet. I absolutely love it; it gives you time to pursue your hobbies, drink “frou-frou” coffee whenever you want it, bond with your pet, meditate and pray. There isn’t anything that I can think of thats more healing than that. Try to relax and enjoy it:)

  116. First, remember that the horror movie victims are never knitters. Because hell hath no fury like a knitter who had to remove a needle from a complicated stitch pattern to defend herself!
    Second, I like being alone. I used to go home on Friday after work and not interact with anyone until Monday or Tuesday morning at work. It was the best recharging ever. However, I don’t know if I could do in-the-woods-alone. I’m a city girl, so dark country freaks me out to be alone in. I’m a blast to take camping in that way….Hang in there!

  117. I recently moved from an apartment to my first house alone and I was terrified for weeks. I slept (I still sleep) with a hammer under my pillow.
    Always before I knew that if I heard a noise it was one of the neighbors but now I’m not connected on both sides to other people. If something taps on an INSIDE wall, what on earth could it be but a person? You know?
    I still occasionally get up and turn on the outside lights in the middle of the night and peer out into the darkness but I’ve decided there’s a squirrel living in the attic that’s responsible for the random wall tapping. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.
    Good luck! You’ll be fine.

  118. I love the silence and the cold. I love not being able to see my neighbors. The total serenity in the solitude, dude. Wait till the stars come out. All the stars, no lamplights. You will be a convert, I promise.

  119. And for the record, every single year for the last 5 years I have tried to think of a way to get myself a few days of exactly that kind of alone.

  120. Right now being alone, even in the dark, sounds just great. No one will need a ride anywhere, or bug me about what is for dinner, or even wake me up. I know what you mean about feelling a bit scared of things – when that happens to me I just give myself a firm talking to about how all the things I imagine are ever so unlikely.
    I am sure glad you have internet access so we can talk to you.
    Write on, girl.

  121. I would love to be that alone. As long as the wine holds out. The country dark is an acquired thing. By night 3, you’ll be fine. That’s why I love our cottage when I get some time to myself up there.
    I mean, I love my family, but sometimes, you just need to be alone.

  122. You need a dog. If the dog is relaxed, you know you are relaxed. This would probably backfire though if the dog started barking like a maniac in the middle of the night at something as innocent as a deer….maybe a cat would be better. πŸ™‚

  123. Being alone for a bit is why I managed to fabricate a business trip to the UK. Won’t be totally alone, but it’s awfully hard for someone to put a demand on you!
    Enjoy it, be productive, and relax….we are all keeping you quiet company, so you are not alone completely!
    And remember, if you sleep right up against the wall under the window, the monsters and bad guys can’t see you because they can’t look down at that angle. I agree though…they’d be frozen out there.

  124. Alone is cool with me. After three husbands, a child, and pets, I’m finally alone. If it were objective-driven (writing a book) I could handle being alone for a week.
    However, much more than that time of being alone, and I might think that ol’ Howard (Hughes) had the whole fashion thing goin’ on with the tissue box idea.

  125. I’d move the axe and chainsaws into the cabin with me, that’s what I’d do.
    Seriously, test the smoke alarm and make sure you know how to unlock and open a window in the dark if you had to. And you’ll be fine.

  126. I do volunteer work three days a month in a wilderness area a few hundred miles from my home. I stay in a cheap motel for the two nights between the three days, and love the solitude. No Internet, no mail, no chance of getting a phone call… I used to think I’d get some writing done on these nights, but all I do is knit or read. I go home thoroughly recharged, though.
    Good luck with your Writer’s Retreat. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

  127. The alone time would be very cool, I agree. The Dark freaks me out whenever I’m not in a familiar place. And out in the wild places at night? The Dark has its own vaguely sinister personality. My own defence may seem a little childish, but it worked when I was a kid and it works now. I turn on a light. Just a little one — maybe the one in the bathroom. It makes ‘The Dark’ turn into just ‘the dark’ — and that I can deal with. I can calm down and I can sleep. Sleep makes the whole rest of the adventure pleasant.

  128. i love that alone. only city people can be afraid of being that alone. (I’ve lived in NYC for 20+ years – I know what i’m talking about). after 6 days you won’t want to leave.

  129. i’d give anything for a week of that. with an antsy pants 4 year old and a hubby who’s sometimes a kid too, i’d give anything for that kind of solitude, even for a couple of days. just me, my knitting, some books, my ipod, and yoga mat and i’m there.
    i live in a town now and i miss how dark it gets, and how sparkly the stars look. look out your window, and maybe you’ll see the aurora borealis.

  130. I live 20 miles from civilization on an acreage in the middle of Iowa. We are alone — I can see, if it is clear, the light on the water tower in the miniscule town 5 miles from our house. I love it. I crave it. I wouldn’t move to town, let alone a big city, ever. I love the silence.

  131. LOL, we have a farm up in the northwoods, which will be our retirement property. River, fields, woods, and DARK. It never really gets dark in Toronto(except when the Hydro went out all over the Province). When I am up there alone, I leave the downstairs lights on at night. Old houses make such INTERESTING noises at night. It’s not entirely unfamiliar, as I spent a good part of my childhood in a log house in the woods. But check out the STARS. You can pull down the Milky Way, if you stand on your tip toes! Who needs TV?

  132. I too need to be just a bit too bored to start to write. It all spills out then, but if I have too much going on? It’s hard to focus on the writing. I’m “alone” a lot in a house right in a college town with two bird dogs, and frankly, there are times when I’d prefer to be alone in your neck of the woods…or maybe just at home on a quiet day, perhaps with a calmer dog, but I don’t think this was about dog trade-ins? I love my guys, really I do, but the chance to see the deer’s eyes without accompanying barking? No drag racing on the street, or night-time construction? Heaven, just about now…a little piece of heaven.

  133. My family haas a cabin like you describe. It is CRAZY different being ALONE in the woods than alone in the city. The very first time I did it, I was 16. My mother and I decided that I was old enough to live there on my own during the week (this was the summer) and work as a lifeguard.
    Let me set the scene. Our cabin is a big a-frame, and my room was on the corner near the front door. My mom insists on putting a flag out on the flag holder thingie by the front door when we are at the cabin (now as an adult I wonder why? To signel to criminals and/or bears that we are here and you can attack us?). Anyway. Back to that first night. It was a windy night. I turned off all the lights, and went into my room. Then, in rapid succession I heard a car door slam, people walk under my window and a woman SCREAM.
    In a complete panic, and at 10 PM, I got on the phone and called my friends that I was working with, and they rushed over, only to point out that the flag flapping in the wind was the ‘door slamming’, pointed out the deer tracks that were ‘the people getting out of the car’, and the ‘woman screaming’ was this ridculously tiny little owl. Have you ever SEEN a screach owl?!? Honestly.
    So yes – I do know what you are talking about – but I wouldn’t trade real Alone Time for anything. HAve fun!

  134. I would trade with you in a minute. You want people? I’m in midtown Manhattan. I got all the people you could every possibly want.
    Good luck with the writing and the knitting and enjoy the beautiful vista, the solitude, and the alone time.

  135. my hubby and i take every chance we get to x-country ski out to the White Mountains north of town here (Fairbanks, AK) for that aloneness you describe. many people in this town specialize in that kind of time alone and often i do too, but i admit that it’s easier to do when your husband is slumbering next to you! last week-end, when we were 16 miles from anything resembling civilization (and that would be a parking lot at the trail head still another 30 miles from town) and my dog started growling at the door of the cabin (no lock to triple check), i admit that i did go outside and gather up both of the hand saws we were using to saw firewood and lay them next to my sleeping bag and slumbering husband…

  136. When you got to the first cabin picture I immediately thought, “no way she’s staying there all by herself overnight.” I thought maybe you’d spend your days in the cozy quiet and then go back home in the evening, but I guess it’s too far away.
    I adore being alone. . .until I am. I’ve told my husband that if he ever has to go somewhere overnight, Grizzly (the 200 pound English Mastiff) is coming into the house no matter what he says about him needing to be an “outside dog”. There’s just something about living on 6 acres by the river that makes you a little jumpy.
    That and the stupid power box set up at the corner of my house always makes me jump every time I go out in the dark to start the car.
    I have an idea. . turn on music and let’s talk about knitting.

  137. I meant to say also that the other end of the spectrum is crazy-making for me. I don’t like being around too many people. I suppose each person has their own balance that they must find. For me it’s just a few people at a time with spells of alone. Yeah, that sounds about right.

  138. There was a S.King movie about a writer who was kidnapped by an insane fan and taken to a cabin in a cold, snowy place like you describe. Although statistically you’re much safer in the boonies, the best horror movies always take place in the lonely spots. So bring the axe in and remember to bolt the doors at night. Good luck and please come back safe – I love reading your blog and would miss you.

  139. I’m from Alaska. I’ve lived in rural places in the past, but I grew up primarily in Anchorage which is a pretty big city. The last time I spent time in the woods, in the winter, in a cabin eerily similar to that one I was pretty sure I was going to pee myself before the night was through. It took about three days before I got really comfortable with the Alone. (capital A Alone at that.)
    Then I didn’t want to go home.
    Best of luck. Can’t wait for the new book.

  140. I LOVE alone in the woods, although I also live in a city. City noisy and bright night make me crazy, and when I had 5 days on DARK, QUIET, Moosehead Lake in Maine, I left the doors and windows open all night (with screens). I loved it, although I apologized to the bat for offending its sensibilities by pulling up the sheets when I saw it clutching the screen in front of my nose.

  141. I’d be terrified. I always try to convince myself that I’m a tough chick, but I’m just as afraid of the dark now as I was when I was five. And I’ve got a very overactive imagination. I’d last two hours after dark and then I’d die of fright. I wish I wasn’t such a wuss. But yeah, I agree with Karin the English Major…music helps. Just some kind of noise.

  142. No, I hate being alone. It feels unsafe and scary.
    I can understand wanting peace and quiet though. My mil takes my 2 year old one night a week and during those few precious hours I bask in the peace.
    But then I welcome him home with open arms the next morning.
    (Although, this week he’s been sick and cranky, plus not sleeping. I may not welcome him with my arm open as wide as I have in the past.)
    Relish the time.

  143. Absolutely! It’s the best. I live alone in a reasonable sized apartment and have been known to travel solo (just me and my car) for a long week driving all over the country. It’s the ultimate indulgence in selfishness, you don’t have to concern yourself with anyone else’s wants or needs. Be clean, be messy, eat the meals that no one else likes, take a bath at 2 in the afternoon, stay up til 3am and sleep until the middle of the day. Total selfishness, total indulgence.

  144. I actually lived in a near identical situation for almost two years, that I dearly miss. I did, however, have television and a slew of dogs to help encourage that feeling of safety.
    Maybe you can take advantage of the internet and use some free online radios – like Slacker or Launch – to help dispel the silence?

  145. I’m a single mom with a 9 year old I have every other week. A very intense 9 year old whom I love dearly. But when she leaves I like to sit on the couch and listen to the clock tick, the dogs snore, the water pump come on and off, the wood crackling in the woodstove. And I knit. I don’t turn on music or tv, just listen to the silence. It does take getting used to, but I really love it. My house backs up to some woods, where fox, coyote, bear, turkeys, owls, deer and other assorted creatures live. I don’t go out of my way to cross paths with them (esp. at night), but I like knowing they’re out there, doing their thing.
    And I do lock the door at night, just in case the wind blows it open and the cats try to escape!

  146. That sounds like near heaven to me. I mean not the extreme panic, more like the extreme alone-ness. Oh good god that sounds amazing right now. Knitting, reading, fire, alone, woods, snow. My own personal dream.

  147. I would love to be that kind of alone. I think that would be my dream situation, for at least a few weeks any way. After that I would start missing my kids and get tired of doing my own dishes. It would be kind of eerie putting something down and having it being the same place I put it when I needed it again.

  148. I love alone! The first night is always the adapting one; esp. if you are usually surrounded by a horde. It will get so much easier; you’ll begin to rejoice in the presence of just your breath (and the little critters and the sounds of the snow and ice and twigs crackling in the cold, the whispers of the wind and the trees, the snuffles and sighs of the fire).
    The time is yours to own, you can shape and make it; after months of being forced to adapt to others’ demands you just feel a little lost without the constant prods and pokes that help define you in your homelife.
    Take this lovely gift Joe has given you and embrace it – home will be that much sweeter after this chance to shake your inner self back into shape.

  149. My imagination would have me hiding under the bed after it got dark. Do you have audio capability on your computer? Skype-ing with your family could help.

  150. Oh how I miss the inky blackness of the country with just the sound of the wind in the winter and the river frogs in the summer! Enjoy your time alone. I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere and even 10 years after moving to town I desperately miss the blackness of night and a decent, quiet night’s sleep. I will never understand how people like to live in the city–but to each her own I guess! I love your blog and your books!

  151. I’m with Elaine on this one; your essays really do come from deep within (even the ones that have me startling the cat with belly laughs) and Alone is a great regenerative force for people who make things and send them out into the world.
    Our family has a tiny A-frame at a lake in the Sierras, and the few times I’ve stayed there it’s been exactly like you’ve experienced. Wonderful when the sun is out, but the first night you hear every unidentifiable noise, no matter how small. Strange glowing eyes in the forest become ax-brandishing Orcs in your imagination, and Frodo and Aragorn are still in Toronto.
    Star-gazing without city lights is, in a word, heavenly. I never cease to be amazed at how very many stars there are that I never see (and I’m one who follows the progression of the sky from my ex-urban back yard.) Only away from the lights of the city can I see the Seven Sisters, and the glow of Venus. You can even use that internet connection to hunt up a sky map so you will be able to identify what you see. And then come home with a sock pattern that holds the cosmos in its stitches!
    But next time, let me tell you, bring the cat!

  152. One summer we (me, husband, 2 kids) rented a house in Ireland that had electricity, but no phone, TV, radio, or internet. It was so quiet my ears were ringing.

  153. I’ve never been that alone. Alone in the city in an apartment (with currently noisy neighbours), it looks rather good.
    Maybe time to read some Thoreau (which I figure must be there in 20 000 books.) Wow! All that time to read. Looks pretty good from that angle.
    If you get too lonely, you wouldn’t have to wake up an Australian knitter to chat….

  154. where do i sign up? it is a fantasy of mine to live like a hermit in the remote wilderness of Alaska (okay, Canada, close enough), and, of course, knit. it helps being somewhat anti-social.

  155. Being alone is a like giving birth. You want it, you prepare for it and then you get it. No one can really describe it for others as it is a personal experience. It is Empowering. Once you are through it. Take deep breaths and blow out slowly. Knit in bed.

  156. Sounds wonderful although I can see it would take some adjustment to being that Alone. To quote my husband, “It’s people we should be afraid of…”
    I think I’d have taken along my iPod or something…

  157. I have a 2-year-old and a husband. I love to be alone. I do NOT love to be that alone, particularly if it involves sleeping on the first floor. Overactive imagination, I know. My safety is not actually compromised, I know. Try telling my sympathetic nervous system that.

  158. As I sit here at my desk in the middle of Manhattan (a country girl quite misplaced) it sounds like heaven. But maybe not for quite that many days….

  159. I would feel vulnerable; I think I’d prefer to have my dog with me.
    However, how wonderful to open up to the delicious night, country, space, time, yourself and THE STARS. I agree with a previous comment(s), exercise is excellent to balance the mind as it slows down from super-hyper-mom-wife-city-drive.
    How thoughtful of Joe, I can only imagine the gifts you will take away from this time.
    Perhaps music on your computer via internet connection then you can have a bit of music?

  160. Yeah, the first night or two are the worst. I live in an apartment, and when I’m alone at night, I sleep on the couch not the bed. (The couch has a back, so I know at least one side of me is covered. Opposed to the bed which is open on three sides.) And I place the shotgun within reach on the floor beside me. (Of course, I’m in Texas, and we probably have more gun tolerance than y’all Canadians.)
    After the first couple of nights, the gun stays in its daytime place, but I do stick to the couch.
    You have internet? I don’t think I could get bored enough to write with internet access. Good work!

  161. Sounds like heaven to me. I try and take one ‘just me’ vacation every spring – usually I go backpacking for a few days, but this year I’m renting a cabin at a state park.
    I like being alone. Just my constitution – I’m not a big fan of other people.

  162. See, someone mentioned The Shining, but I just keep thinking about Misery.
    If you meet someone at that little shop 6km down the road and she says she’s your Biggest Fan, please promise me you’ll head back to Toronto and don’t look back! Even if you have to *gasp* leave the knitting behind!

  163. Oh man. I would love to be alone like that, but for probably exactly the same amount of time as you. I’d start freaking out around 11 PM. Living in the city can get tiring, but it’s always surprising how comforting the sound of traffic is. White noise.
    I think you’ll get used to it, and by day five you won’t want to leave.

  164. Last year, I checked into a hermitage at a retreat center — for what the brochure described as an experience of “radical solitude.” As I unpacked, I realized that I had never, not once in my adult life, been completely alone for that much time. After the first night (in which I experienced the same things you’re describing), I ended up loving it. I had gone there to write, and I did, but more importantly, I experienced a profound sense of PLAY. There were no obligations, no set meal times, no teenagers, no boss. There was time to wade in the pond (obviously, it was a little later in the year), to try to catch tadpoles (first time since age 9), to sit and drink a glass of wine and watch the moon rise.
    Relax, breathe, enjoy — Play!

  165. I can’t believe it – it’s daytime, I’m in the house with my husband and dog and just reading your blog is making me nervous.
    My heart is beating faster and I’m a wreck. OK have to leave and get a cup of tea and do some knitting.
    I admire you for doing this but I couldn’t in a million years.

  166. i would love to be that alone– the axe murderer wouldn’t scare me, but i have a feeling i’d freeze to death because i’d be afraid of burning the house down (i don’t have the best luck with fire).
    how much do i love that it’s totally secluded but has internet access? that sounds like heaven. without the internet access– not so much. with the internet access: heaven.

  167. This would be heaven for me as long as it only lasted the one week. After that, I would need a break to go visit civilization. If you really wanted to have fun with this — you could place an order with Amazon and watch the hysterics as they try to find you to deliver it!
    And I’ll point out that You. Are. Armed. You’re a knitter. You have sharp pointy sticks. Seriously. I nearly brought screenings to a standstill at the airport on my last trip while the screeners discussed all the ways I could use those needles to cause havoc on the plane . . .

  168. I love to be alone, but I don’t like to be isolated. There’s the rub. Right now you’re both. I grew up on a farm in a sparsely populated area of North Dakota. I’ve had plenty of isolation. I now prefer my alone time to occur within reach of an ambulance and pizza delivery, depending on the emergency. But all of this is pure fantasy as I have 3 children and a spouse. Good luck…you could always write to take your mind off of the boogie men.

  169. Geesh, don’t you watch movies Cath? The bathtub is also the place the person goes with their ax and hatchet to sleep and avoid the zombies (i.e. I AM LEGEND.) Although I am sure Will Smith would be a reassurance if found in anyones bathtub.
    I get the dark thing….we moved to the “country” three years ago and it is amazing how dark it can get. You might try putting white sheets on the bed and maybe just set anything white you can find around. The white (just like all your snow) reflects what little light there is so at least it is a little lighter in the room. Of course, I am sure you already know this and are dressed from head to toe in white.
    Stay warm and cozy. Oh, and don’t worry about the zombies….they won’t hurt you….they just want your yarn…..

  170. Sadly, I don’t know how I would react to that much “Alone.” I’ve got 20 years on you and I’ve never had that much alone in my life. I remember many years of wishing I could just go to the toilet alone, without interruption, but 5 days. I just don’t know.

  171. Yes. Yes yes yes. I was raised in a fairly rural area (dirt roads, dairy farms, the whole bit) but have been living in NYC for 11 (12?) years, for the past five with a daughter and hubby. What, no one yelling in any of twenty different languages under my window for twenty minutes at a go? No car alarms bleeting off and on ALL NIGHT? Gee.. would I miss it? I admit I’d probably spend the first few (five? ten?) nights sleeping with a light on, but I would probably be in my glory. And also suffering from irreversable carpal tunnel syndrome from so much uninterupted knitting. Try the lights on thing, though, it may help.

  172. Um, no thanks. Wow. That place would be my own personal version of a nightmare, even in the daylight. And not because my mind is going to go the axe-murderer route, just the ALONE route. I would be terrified that something would go wrong…and my imagination would go haywire. “Middle of nowhere” is the last place I want to be…!

  173. this post reminded me of Walden..
    “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover I had not lived.”
    “Knit deliberately” perhaps?

  174. So let’s be practical….
    If you remember the Evil Dead, then you should probably get that chain saw and axe and put them in the house with you, cuz you’re gonna need those. And make sure there is no cellar…
    And if the squirrels DID follow you, well, those trees have a surprise for them!!!!

  175. That really wouldn’t bother me. I live alone, and I LOVE IT. I hate the fact that I can hear people walking down the hall, and I have really fond memories of camping when I was younger in the middle of no where.
    Of course, growing up on a street with very few friendly neighbors and no street lights can do that. My friends’ parents would drive me home at night and turn off the lights and everyone would comment about the darkness. I found it weird.

  176. I totally understand! Some people think cities are crime ridden and assume the country is safer. But its in the wide open, lonely country that I feel less safe in. In the city, there’s a community and I believe there is an inherent goodness in human beings. Alone in the country give me the willies!

  177. It takes some time to get used to being along, especially on very dark nights, but it is nice. When we moved from suburban Boston to rural Virginia, we had quite an adjustment to make, not only to the dark but to the quiet. Ditto for staying in a small cabin in the Adirondacks. Next time, bring a dog…or maybe a gun? Nah, nix the gun, you’re quite safe really.

  178. I feel safer being that alone on my parents farm than I do being alone in my own house in the city because if you aren’t going to walk in snowshoes 8 km in -30 degrees to get milk, nothing is coming out your way just for a little mischief!

  179. Yes, I like being alone. I have not been alone in about 2 years. My Joe is also working for home and alone would be nice. I have to say that you do need to get accustomed to the darkness of country or “wilderness”. When we moved to SW Utah, I was amazed at how dark it gets at night. Now I have not been by myself at night in the desert. That might be another story. I hope you get lots of writing done in this alone time.

  180. How much yarn did you need to bring for 6 nights ALONE? Wow…..must have 3 or 4 suitcases (and a little gym bag for your clothes and laptop…..)

  181. Coming from the Black Hills in SD, I’ve always thought of the night as a big dark blanket you could snuggle up in. Kinda like the Hills and the trees keep you cozy and protected. Now I’m in the Seattle area and it’s NEVER dark and it’s NEVER quiet and I miss the Hills horribly. Snuggle down and enjoy!

  182. I *think* I would, but like you, I might feel differently if ever in that situation. I’d take my spinning wheel though.

  183. As long as I had indoor plumbing, my snowshoes, the internet and my dogs (well, and the 22) I’d be fine. Reading, cooking, knitting. A slice of heaven. I’m big on the indoor plumbing though. I’d totally hike into town with the big pack and the dogs for supplies every so often, but total and utter quiet I can do.

  184. Ooh, nice! I’d be freaked out at first too, but then love it. So what kind of knitting do you pack for 6 days in Alone? I bet you’ll get all kinds of stuff done! =)

  185. I have so been there.
    I’m a born and bred city girl, from Florida, pretty sheltered. I did my BS research at a Biostation in Northern Michigan…and was alone there for a weekend when my colleagues went home and my advisor left to go…do whatever he does.
    I was scared stiff. (And ended up staying with the property manager in his daughter’s room for the weekend). I’m surprised Dr. S. didn’t make a big deal out of it forever after…

  186. Yes. I am alone at night almost every night. My husband leaves in the afternoon and the kids are grown with families of their own. I live in the country. Not as far out there as you are and my nearest neighbors are a mere 400 feet away. It didn’t used to be that way. They built these houses around me. I remember when we moved out here that the amount of stars you could see was so startling to me that it frightened me because of how small I felt in comparison. Now with the light pollution we have here I long for those stars again.
    It seems that people that move out to the country like to light everything up. Maybe they that helps them to not feel so alone.

  187. Do you have some bright knitting to mix up with your projects at the moment? I hate to think that you’re stuck with dark purple/black, and black/olive/blue projects when it’s as dark and scary-seeming as that…

  188. Wow! That Joe is sure something to keep a hold of. Good job on the alone idea, Joe!!!
    I get that way whenever my DH is out of town. I have the HARDEST time going to bed.
    You’ll get through this, and be just fine. Remember… if you get your writing done early, you can go home early…ok, just book a room in a hotel, and don’t tell anyone.. then you’ll have the “city” alone time… ?maybe?
    good luck!

  189. A short, resounding “no”.
    I’m a writer too, and I’ve got all the alone time I need. But I don’t have kids. All I have is cats. Lots of cats. They can be disturbing enough when they lie down on your keyboard in the middle of a sentenc…llap9eu904yughΓΆaΓΆaΓΆΓΆaoiwhp
    Yeah.

  190. When I was 12 and 13 we lived “in the country”. Town was 10 miles away and there were farms around, but we didn’t know anyone in the farms. We lived on the shore of a lake, in the handyman cottage for a large summer home. In those days, people came to the lake only for the summer. In the winter, there were only a few families scattered about. We knew the two families who also lived there year round, but they were a couple of miles away. I babysitted for them. Alone, at night, with all sorts of empty cottages around. After the kids were in bed, I got down on my knees and prayed the parents would come home early. I was too scared to sleep. I heard all the creaking noises. Pitch black outside. I said lots of Our Fathers and Hail Marys. Don’t know that the praying ever worked, but I was never axed to death! All this for 25 cents per hour!!!

  191. THAT alone scares me too. I was that alone at my parents’ cottage (northern Ontario)one summer night, and the lights out the front window WERE figures with a flashlight trying to get into the cottage!! Absolutely For Sure!!! Except they were just a few fireflies. I stayed awake until the sun started to peak over the hill – THEN I slept. I do envy you the quiet though……

  192. I live pretty far out in the woods myself. And when it snows, it takes at least 12 if not 24 hours for the town to get around to plowing us out. I’ve got some neighbors but no one I can see from anywhere on my property (2 acres).
    Alone doesn’t typically bother me. I do have a nice, big German Shepherd though (she’s all looks, though). And 99% of the time my hubby’s around too. But those times that I’m Alone can be very nice.
    I’d be so anxious if I moved to the city! All the people!
    Sidenote regarding the darkness — people who live out generally like (or come to like) darkness at night. I was EXTREMELY tempted to shoot out a streetlight the town put in, but didn’t because I can’t actually see it from my house. But, I think my neighbor took care of it for me πŸ™‚ It’s been out for 2 years now.

  193. I grew up in a place like that–two miles away from the nearest neighbor. I miss the peace and quiet of that place. A place that is so quiet that you can stand on the deck and hear the creek running through the valley. A place that is so dark at night that you can see the stars in the sky in all their glory. I miss it. We go back to visit my parents as often as possible, but it just isn’t the same. I hope that you can get used to it an just enjoy the peace and quiet.

  194. I always worry the first night my husband is gone for his annual snowmobile trip. I live in the country where we never lock doors but when he’s gone, I lock every door, convince our Great Dane to sleep in our bedroom and then I lie awake thinking about my husband hurdling over a mountain on his snowmobile, crazed meth addicts breaking down my doors and doing unthinkable things to me, birds eating their way through the sheetrock into my bedroom…and doing unthinkable things to me… and just about any possible tiny thing that somehow becomes HUGE. But only on that first night. After that, I sleep like a baby. With the doors locked and the dog at the foot of my bed.
    Would it help to bring the chainsaws into the house at night? Then you’d at least have protection!

  195. The first time I spent the weekend truly alone with no dog or other person I barely slept and kept the covers pulled up as far as possible thinking if I was covered nothing would get me! I can identify. The greatest part though, is the feeling that comes afterwards of making it through being scared and really enjoying yourself. I am proud of you!!

  196. I have an overactive imagination. Put this together with the auras I get from my migraines, and when I’m alone I imagine lots of things with red glowing eyes. I also imagine lots of scary things that go with the sounds. I don’t think you are alone in this !

  197. I get this. We used to live in a log cabin out in the rural countryside, far away from a main road. On the few occasions when I was alone for the night, I would react much the same way (triple-checking the door, needing to touch the lock several times, etc.). It didn’t help that I would occasionally hear gunshots from the woods behind the house! When we moved to the city, I rarely felt the same during those periods of being alone. I found it comforting to have so many people around me, though I know that the actual odds of crime were quite a bit higher. When we moved out of the city and into the suburbs/kind-of countryside, it took a while to get used to it again (especially the darkness & stillness at night). Hang in there – I’m sure that you’ll get lots of great writing done, and the silence will not sound so enormous after another day or so! It will be interesting to hear about your re-entry when you head back into the city.

  198. Most of the time, I would prefer to be somewhat less alone than you are right now.
    However, with the current standings of 3 full grown adults (one of whom is not allowed to be alone, and requires some care) in a one bedroom apartment, I’d happily trade you. At least until dark.

  199. I love to be that alone, but you’re right, it can can put The Fear into you.
    One time, I was out in a cabin on the far side of the river from the nearest, well, other cabin. And it got to be Very Dark outside, and I heard Movement outside my cabin door. And I started really hearing all of the warnings that I had been very casual about when I took possession the cabin…bears-check cougars-check kind of thing.
    I spent a very long night in fear and trembling, my sole consolation being that bears and cougars did not have the necessary skill set to open doors and trying not to dwell on the large and fragile picture windows.
    When the sun finally appeared and my courage returned, I poked my nose outside the door to discover that I had indeed been surrounded in the night…by a rather large herd of bovine lactus, AKA milk-cows.

  200. Ok. First of all. If there are zombies, my husband says to aim for their head and to destroy the brain. They move slow, so just keep your wits about you. And another idea, I hear that while you’re not on a yarn diet, you’re using your stash a bit? You must have brought some with you, have you ever had to knit a monster trap? Or maybe hidden nets around the house? So when someone steps on them they get hung up way high up in the air! You’ll probably find lots of wildlife in the morning! Hee. You’ll be fine. No one will harm you because if they did, 456,724 knitters would come after them the next day and show them alternate uses of sharp sock needles! Hang in there! Get some writing done! May the knitting force be with you!

  201. I feel your anxiety. I live in a fairly isolated area with coyotes and things and my hubby travels a lot. For weeks on end. So I double check that all the doors are locked and sleep with a heavy wooden practice sword within easy reach next to the bed. A glass of wine never hurts either. πŸ˜‰

  202. I’d make sure there’s gas in the snow plow, the keys are by the door, and that THE SHINING is NOT amongst the 20,000 books. Then sleep well and get lots of writing done. πŸ™‚

  203. Hmm. Alone and ALONE. Maybe next time try for the guest bedroom of a friend who goes to work during the day.
    I work from “home” in the city and I’m surprised at the how distracting complete solitude can be. I need some level of outside stimulus to keep me on track. So I’ve begun gathering together with others who work on laptops from home. Much more productive.
    Amazing what a light bulb can do, heh? Totally changes your conception of daytime.
    So, you have internet access. I’m predicting a lot of yarn browsing and knitting. But I’m interested to hear how more of the week goes.

  204. I love being alone but I’m not sure if I’d like to be alone out in the woods. I mean I think I would but, in reality, I’d probably react just as you did. Fortunately, now that I am retired & my children grown & on their own, I have just the perfect situation. My SO is still working so I have all day alone in the house & then his (minimal) company in the evenings & on weekends. We go to the health club at least 3 times a week & he likes to go shopping (mostly for books) on the weekends. Frankly, he likes to go out more than I do (I keep telling him he needs an active hobby – I’m thinking spinning would be good – to provide me with hand spun yarn but when I suggested a spinning class, he thought I meant an exercise class & the conversation got kinda weird). He actually suggested that I was agoraphobic & I pointed out that I am not afraid to go out – I just have things to do at home that I prefer to shopping. So now I go with him about half or three quarters of the time & the rest of the time he goes by himself & brings me books back.

  205. Enjoy your solitude; yes, there’s always a learning curve since most of us live where we are bombarded with “noise” of every kind. I think it’s truly when we’re alone that we are able to get to know ourselves better. I spend each summer (I teach) in a cabin in northern NH – behind a locked gate – no electricity, running water, phone, etc. It was nerve wracking at first, and then I learned the job of thinking of myself first….something most of us don’t do. Hubby would come up every few weeks, and I craved the moments of being alone again. At least you don’t have to go outside to an outhouse in the middle of the night……Linda R. knows what that’s about!!!! Can’t wait to read the results of this alone time.

  206. I could have ‘loned’ you one or two big friendly dogs. Just the ticket when being isolated.

  207. I wouldn’t like to be that alone. If I were, I’d be going to sleep really early and then waking up with the dawn. I’m still pretty much scared of the dark. Don’t tell my kids. Ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen? If it does, there isn’t anything you can do about it, right? So no sense worrying about it. I know, sounded stupid even writing it. Get one other person around you to just be breathing in the general vacinity.

  208. I am so jealous. If I had enough food and essentials on hand I would love to be on a lonely retreat like that. Maybe not in such cold weather though…
    Tonight get one of those 20,000 books to read and you’ll be pleasantly distracted and go right to sleep.
    Oh, I never watch horror movies for this very reason.
    Amy

  209. I figured out a nifty way of finding my comfort in remote places at night, which I found so very liberating I’ve decided to post my first comment EVER and share with you. Despite what Gloria commented earlier, I would indeed venture out of doors at night. Go outside and watch the sunset. Bundle up, find a comfy spot, sip hot cocoa or something and watch the world around you as it grows dark. Once it is truly dark, you may find you’re a bit more comfortable with it. The nighttime world isn’t so scary after all! It is half of the whole. This sunset thing worked like magic for me up here in Alaska (where we laugh at mere 30-below). Good luck, and stick with it. The beauty and serenity of the world at night is worth it!

  210. As I started to read this, I sort of felt I knew where you were coming from… A few years ago, I had the chance to interview Sarah Slean who was promoting her then, upcoming album “Night Bugs” (love love love that album, btw if you haven’t heard it yet). She was telling me about isolating herself from the world, so she could experience new things and learn about herself while writing songs for what turned out to be “Night Bugs”. I think as an artist, (whether you write music, books, paint, what have you), you need times like that.
    Myself, I have yet to venture into something like that. Though I can’t wait to do it. I’d be freaked out for my life too (triple checking everything), but I’d be so afraid, that it’d be wonderful. You know, the good kind, like how you know your world is going to change around you and it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but it’s all for the better. It’ll be scary, but fun! Rollercoaster anyone?
    I grew up in Vancouver, so I didn’t know much about being Alone. Then I got my first “real job” in my chosen profession in Duncan, BC. Small highway town on the island that I didn’t even know where it was until I found it on the map AFTER I had accepted the job. It’s fears like that that I can’t wait to try again. I feel like we go through cycles – of adventure to contentment, to more adventure again. Even if it’s just 6 nights of being Alone.

  211. Hrm… With two young children, it’ll be a LONG time before I see THAT kind of alone. Although, I’m not sure I would like to be THAT alone. Kind of reminds me of The Shining. (sorry) I still can’t get through that entire movie before freaking out. Don’t you have any music to listen to? Or the TV? Or the radio? Or would that be too much of a distraction from the writing? Well, at least you’ve got the internet and all of us to keep you company. Good luck on the word count! πŸ™‚

  212. your Cool-ometer reading just shot up a few notches with that Evil Dead reference! πŸ™‚
    I spent my summers on my grandparents farm when I was a kid and the best time to go swimming in the local reservoir, that abutted their property, without getting caught by the rangers, was at night.
    I miss midnight swimming, in the woods, in the dark. Wikkid fun.

  213. It looks really fabulous to me. When DH and I built our “house in the woods” the TOTAL dark was one of the BEST features. Now we have too much light from the nearest town (10 mi or so) to see the Milky Way. I have spent a few nights alone here (well, me and the 4 cats!) and I will say that I do NOT watch or read anything at all spooky during those times πŸ™‚
    Looking forward to the next book, and as others have said, by the time you leave, you’ll so hate to go back to the noisy city!

  214. I am also so jealous, especially of your dark.
    and I second the suggestion of reading one of the books, only…make sure it’s not John Bellairs or Tamara Siler Jones.
    especially not Tamara Siler Jones, because she has a lot of fiber-goodness in some of her books and fiber + creepy dreams = bad.

  215. I’m sitting in a well lit office, near a window looking out at rolling hills with Sheep grazing in the distance, and the comments are TOTALLY creeping me out. don’t read them after dark!

  216. I would love to be that alone. The first night will be the hardest and it will get easier every night. Nice you found a great place to get away. Most people wouldn’t have the energy to walk that far to bother you and as for animals if you have a good dwelling you will be fine. When you are the most afraid get out your laptop and write, that will make you feel better. Sometimes it is just your imagination that won’t shut off and you can channel that into some great writing. Enjoy your time alone. It is a rare thing to get in this busy life.

  217. Did anyone mention iTunes yet? Music, movies even tv if you are desperate for background noise. Five days is a long time alone.

  218. Yes, as a matter of fact do like that kind of alone, especially when I know it’s for a specified amount of days. You learn about yourself in one way when in relation to others, and in another when in solitude. Too much of either and you miss out on finding out important aspects of the Self. Just like how some knitting is best done in the company of others, and some can only be done alone. The scenery is beautiful. I can only imagine the sound of that starry sky.
    Deb.

  219. At least you’ve got your dpns for protection, Steph. I think one of those direct to the heart of an axe murderer would stop him in his tracks. πŸ˜‰

  220. Sounds like a pretty safe place. If it were me, though, I wouldn’t be out there without a dog… and maybe a cast-iron skillet.

  221. Stephanie – It looks beautiful and I’m jealous, but I’d have to bring my dog for company. Do you really think that the average evil ax murderer would walk 7 kilometers in snowshoes in the dark, carrying chainsaw fuel and fighting off crazed deer just to get to you when it would be so much easier to find victims if he just stayed in the city?

  222. I took some alone-time-on-purpose a few years back. I had to drive my daughter to camp in the middle of the week and it didn’t make sense to make the 11 hour round trip just to come back and pick the kids up 3 days later so I rented a cabin. It was in a bitty little old mining town on the top of the Sierras in California. So I had a ‘town’ (maybe 150 people) around me within screaming distance, and my car available for my amusement. The most frightening thing was when I was knitting quietly on the back porch and a squirrel scrabbled up the house right next to me. I think I startled the squirrel, too. Altogether a FABULOUS experience. I may have to do it again this summer…

  223. I grew up in the Solitude of the Backwoods. Nearest neighbour was 1/4 mile away and one heck of a walk to get there πŸ™‚ Now I live in a town of about 150 counting the mail route with just the Hubby and cats which is fine with me though I would love to be beack in the country again some day. I spend the majority of my days alone while hubbys at work and when he has a Funeral coming up I spend my nites alone too, well alone with the cats, TV, and Internet for company (Ravelry and MSN Messenger are my friends). Enjoy the peace and quiet and by the time you go home you will be rested, calm, and ready to face whatever deadlines you have coming up πŸ™‚
    Have a Very Nice Week in your cabin in the woods and dont forget to let Joe know just what a wonderful husband he is!

  224. “Whatever gets you through the night, it’s all right, it’s all right” to take an old song. The bathtub is for when bits of the house are falling down, earthquake, as well as storms. Look at the stars outside for me. It took me until I was at least 45 before I ever realised how much more you can see. You will get through it.

  225. Hi Steph — You may know about the women writers retreat center, Hedgebrook, on Whidbey Island in glorious Washington State: http://www.hedgebrook.org/
    For future retreats that are contemplative, but not REALLY ALONE, perhaps something to consider, although I’m not sure whether they tend to focus on less well-established writers than yourself.

  226. Alone. Sans teen-aged children and drama. Sans hubby. I’d have to take my little kitty just for fun because she’d totally love to sleep on my lap for a change. Instead, I have a teen-aged daughter and her new boy(friend), three kitties who hate each other, a hubby who needs lots of attention … Wanna trade?

  227. We’re all here with you, Steph. I’m sure you have readers in every time zone around the world. SOMEone will always be up with you. Look on Ravelry; there’s always someone logged on. And by the end of the experiment, you’ll be so zen about the whole thing that you’ll carry the peace back home with you. It will be lovely. You’ll see. πŸ™‚

  228. Oh my- I’m glad you did that on the bunk bed as well. The only one who knew I did that was my sister and like yours, she definitely thought I was a freak.
    I lived in a tent in upstate ny for a while and it got dark like that. I did really well for a while but there was an incident with a deer, no flashlight, and some tent lines holding up a tarp. I screamed. It screamed. I didn’t go back to the tent for a couple of days. And then I moved into something with doors and locks. Deer are freaking scary.

  229. i wouldn’t like that much alone time. but then, i’m not a writer πŸ™‚
    it would take a lot of wine. but then, everyday life takes a lot of wine. sigh.

  230. I too live in a small house with 2 teens and 1 bathroom. Alone time? Yes. Middle of nowhere? No way dude. I’m strictly a city girl. Think of Frank Zappa’s Zombie Wolf for horror/comic relief πŸ˜‰

  231. My friend rented a cabin in the woods in the middle of Wisconsin to finish her phd thesis. She called me about 10pm the first night and asked me what to do about the quiet. I told her to turn the radio on.
    That worked.
    So… turn the radio on (or listen to internet radio).
    And know that, when you get home, EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE REALLY LOUD. Can’t wait for the book!

  232. Don’t be afraid *hugs*. I would fly all the way up there on my $0 budget just to experience that kind of alone.(In fact, someone else would have to fly all the way up there to pry me out of the house). Think of it as a Zen experience.

  233. My husband and I have a cottage in Haliburton, and I have been alone there a couple of times. It wasn’t too bad, I felt a lot like Thoreau, until it got dark. And quiet. The silence sort of rings in your ears, if you live in a city where there’s always noise. I did have something you don’t have, however–a large, warm dog, who was happy to share the bed with me. I think I checked the door locks 85 times before going to bed. I got a lot of reading done, and I knit a hat. It didn’t turn out too well but my husband still wears it. And I did not watch any horror movies.

  234. There’s Alone and then there’s Utterly Alone – where the quiet is darn near ear shattering. I like Alone and I like Quiet (especially when there’s some daylight to illuminate the place’s nooks and crannies) but at night? Eesh. A little background noise is a good thing. At least you’ve got electricity (and hopefully, indoor plumbing). You might want to try sleeping with a light on! Good luck Steph. I hope this experiment rewards you with some high quality writing!

  235. Are you nuts? You’ve left the chainsaw in the shed? Why woman, why? In case they forgot to bring their own? Move it into the house! Then (if you can lift it) you have a weapon too!
    When we emigrated and moved into our house I’d never lived anywhere without streetlights before. I got lost in the total darkness between my car and the front door. I was petrified and daren’t call out for my partner to come out and find me in the dark as I didn’t want to wake the children.
    So I waited for my eyes to get used to the darkness. And as they did something incredible happened. I looked up. And the more I looked, the more I saw. There wasn’t an inch of sky that wasn’t covered in stars. I’d never seen anything like it. They were different colours and brightnesses and some twinkled and some didn’t. Some even shot across the sky.
    Now I go outside at night to stand in the dark. And I took down the curtains so I can lie in bed and see the stars.
    (Although looking at the stars is much more wonderful if it is +30 degrees rathan than -30, but that’s just another reason why you should all come to New Zealand)

  236. I think ALONE is something we all need to learn how to do well, and once we accomplish that, hey, we’re truly adults!
    I love ALONE and have in the past often gone a couple of months in winter without a phone, internet access or company. The thing about us fibre folks is that there is always a new project we can work on, or spend the day dreaming about, there’s stash diving and oh blessings, in Canada there’s CBC radio!

  237. I think I’d like it…but I also think the first few days would be difficult. Especially since you do have a phone and internet access.
    Kinda like detox.
    I’m with some of the others on the ‘take my dog’ idea. But I’m also pretty certain the dog would be 1) bored and 2) alarmed by so much unfenced/unroaded space.
    She is, after all, a City Dog.

  238. Alone… I lived alone 11 miles outside Fairbanks AK for awhile. But then there were neighbors on the same road, so maybe that doesn’t count, but they were a few acres away so maybe it kinda does. Cold, dark, moose, howling sled dogs… mmm, yes. Most of all I remember how, if anything were to go wrong, it would be in the dead of winter. Great northern lights to be seen though, and the winter stillness that was so special. And there was the one time that I loaded up the airtight with too much wood and watched the stovepipe begin to glow. My legs turned to jelly and I began to consider what to save and whether to leave the house… Enjoy your time… I’m envious!

  239. I recently got a whole weekend by myself and I loved it! It had been probably 18 years since I had had that much alone time. I do live on a mountain and the wind blows something fierce up here but i didn’t mind. I did have a dog and a cat with me so maybe that helped?

  240. I saw that coming. See, the less alone time you have, the less you can handle. When my kids were little at home, after about two hours of alone time, I got a little depressed. If I had a whole day, I was really down, even though I craved it. Now they’re grown and moved out, and I can handle a LOT of alone time, like whole weekends! Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t have any hobbies or sports that take HIM away for a weekend. Sigh. He does pretty much let me do what I want though, so it’s actually the best of both worlds! He knows I’m an internet/knitting/sewing/dancing person, and he lets me be.

  241. There is alone and then there is ALONE.
    I think it very safe to say that you have arrived at ALONE. Except for the deer, of course. But since they so not speak English (nor even French), you are ALONE.
    Sometimes, I find myself shouting to the house in general that I would like to be ALONE in the bathroom for 5 lousy minutes. I think maybe that I really just want to be alone in the bathroom for 5 lousy minutes.
    Did you think about bringing the cat with you? Cats may not be great conversationalists (see previous statement regarding the mastery of language in deer) but they are often pretty good listeners.
    Until they get bored with you and start licking their nether regions.

  242. Do I like to be alone? Sometimes, yes, very much. Would I like to be THAT alone. Today, right this very minute……..Hell YES!

  243. I was wrong about the population of that town. Just checked the website: It’s population is 23! Altho there were a few more there in summer (like me!)

  244. We look forward to reading the great things that surely will follow your Alone Experiment. Hoepfully peacefulness will descend upon you as the Experiment progresses. I know that it would take some time for me to get used to the dark & animal sounds….
    Kudos to Joe for arranging this great trade!

  245. My ex is a city boy, and I grew up in a town of 50,000 in Wisc on 1 1/2 acres just outside of city limits. The first time he stayed at my parents’ house, he came down the first morning looking like a wreck. He couldn’t sleep because it was “too dark and too quiet”. Well, that and the cat lying on his chest, just staring at him.
    Nighttime just seems to magnify the silence of nature. I live alone in the suburbs now, and I enjoy hearing the possums and raccoons scampering around my house as I drift off to sleep, even though the first time it freaked me out. (Funny, I never heard them when I was married.) I do think you should have Joe come a day early, so the two of you can spend 24 hours alone together.

  246. Take a deep breath, get over the fear, bundle up and go stand just outside the door in the quiet of the night and look up at the stars. The wonderful clear bright stars that you can’t see without that dark aloneless you don’t get in a town or city. If you find yourself mesmerized and with a crick in your neck from staring so long, you’ll survive alone and country. If you hyperventilate because it adds to the sense of alone and BIG universe out there you’re alone in, well, you’re just meant to stay a city gal. I have your sense of panic when I’m in a city. The buildings are closing in on me, I’m going to be mugged at any moment, everyone’s a stranger who might be a serial killer. lol. Isn’t it weird and wonderful all different we all are?
    Just remind yourself you’re armed with pointy sticks. πŸ™‚

  247. After two days in a row of not making it through the morning without crying fits (yes me, not the children although they cried at times too) yes, I’d very much like to be there. But in the woods alone in the dark… a little spooky. I think it’s fear of the unknown. A dark ally would scare me more I believe. Go to bed early… and wake up early… should get more light that way right? Maybe that’s why country folk are early to bed early to rise…

  248. I don’t think I could do it…not for the pleasure of it. The first time I was by myself, first time I left my parents home, I was 25. I went to a small village in Mexico to do my Medical social service year. I was living by myself in the clinic I worked in (it had a small room and kitchen). The first month was really hard, but still after a year I could only sleep with the light on. The whole place had a weird vive, it was said that was hunted, Thank god I never saw anything! I still have a very hard time sleeping when I’m all alone…maybe I have issues πŸ˜‰

  249. I envy you your “alone”. (No, it’s not jealously. Jealous is when someone covets that which is yours. Envy is when you covet that which belongs to someone else. Someone told me that once, a long time ago…) And having internet service is just enough “not alone”, since you get to choose when to be connected. Not the same as a phone, which might ring, unless you turn it off…

  250. πŸ™‚ My grandparents were children of pioneers in the mountains of Southern New Mexico. When she was a young married woman, the timber train would come by, about five miles off and start it’s long, slow, descent down the 9,000ft. mountain. When she and my Grandpa left their mountain place in 1942, she had a house built close to town … a house she had built about 1,000 yds from the train tracks!
    I asked her once why she chose to put her house so close to the train and she said, “when I was all alone up at the mountain place, and your grandpa was off with the cattle, and the darkness pressed in on the windows, and the pine trees started rubbing their needles together and telling each other all the old stories, I would hear the timber train whistle and suddenly I knew, I wasn’t the only person alive in the universe.”
    Knowing that people have been afraid of the dark since FOREVER probably does nothing to calm your nerves, but I can almost guarantee you that serial murderers do not venture forth at night when the temperature drops below 0. And the bears are all sleeping. You’re fine, have some tea.

  251. I’ve lived most of my life in fairly rural areas and I love being alone, sometimes but not all of the time, of course. Occasionally, my husband is gone on a business trip(our kids have been off on their own for years) and I treasure the time alone. Of course, I do understand about the dark and night noises, but hang in there. They usually are only a problem for the first night or two. After that I sleep like a rock.

  252. Looks a lot like my parent’s place just outside of Bancroft!!!
    I totally know how it feels, having stayed with them, and at my aunt’s, listening to the wolves.
    Would you rather be in a tent at the Hilton on the French? (In summer, of course).

  253. I live alone about 4 miles out of town. It has been a wild winter this year and for the first time I’ve been lonely. It’s been 2 years now that I’ve lived alone.
    With cell phones, and lucky you -internet, are you really alone? My house (yarn factory) is 3000 square feet of creaking, moaning empty space. In a power failure it’s just scary. I talk to the walls, very “Shirley Valentine esk”.
    Hearing voices in the wind is never good, but I pretend (choose to believe) it is my Irish Grandmother lulling me to sleep, and then I’m not alone or scared. Enjoy, work well, fortunate you have a family to go back to, when you are back to the normal grind think of me in my huge (not so) quiet house, longing for a family that is grown ( it is healthy and normal for the young people to not want to live with the old Mom, I tell myself) and moved away. I’ll remember what it is like not to have a moment to yourself, and accept that this is what is meant to be.

  254. I don’t think I would enjoy being quite that isolated. It just takes alone to a new extreme. But I love it when my hubby has a game to go to and I am in the house by myself from about 7 to around 11. It takes about that much time to just develop that feeling of equilibrium.
    But I get a lot of alone time. It is the main value of being an early riser (the bad days I wake up before 4 a.m.).

  255. The first day would be heaven, but the nights would be hard for me. If my kids were as old as your kids are, though, I’d jump at the chance. πŸ™‚
    Think of it this way – not only are you going to get a lot accomplished, you’ll be really happy to see Joe and the kids when you’re done.

  256. Yes, I like to be alone. And I don’t mind being out in the middle of nowhere alone. With locked doors and a sharp knife under my pillow, yes…. But it’s ok to be alone. You get used to it.

  257. If I’m repeating other comments, I apologize; getting my harlot fix during the lunch break necessitates some short cuts. But one more hand holding yours (metaphorically) couldn’t hurt.
    I sing. For a number of reasons. When I was younger I would sing “My Favourite Things” or a church hymn (but I was raised Methodist with Baptist influences, so they weren’t that bad), now I sing whatever. I remember reading ages ago that evil spirits were held at bay by music, and if you’re alone no one can mock you (if they would) or tell you to pipe down (if they would). Nothing to keep you from filling that truely frightning silence with music.
    If you can close curtains, I recommend it. You may have to make a concerted effort to NOT think about what’s out there, but it’s worth it. Because whatever it is, it probably isn’t waiting outside. You could also switch to something harder than wine. Whiskey warms ever so much more and gets you mocking – well, everything – in no time at all.
    And remember: axe murderers suck, but -30 is freaking cold for them too; it’s past winter solstice, so nights are a bit shorter; one week from this very moment you will be up to the DPNs behind your ear in life looking back on this Emerson-esque oasis with longing.

  258. I would not care to be in a cabin like that by myself. I am quite afraid of the dark, and do not like to look out the windows at night in case I might see red eyes looking in – I was forever scarred by that seen in ‘Amityville Horror’. Wine should help. And shades.

  259. I’d kill for this kind of alone time…no pun intended. Although I might remove the chainsaw and axe from the shed and put it under my bed. Then I think all would be right in the world and I’d sleep like a baby. Ok, if the chainsaw smelled like gasoline I might leave it in the shed (but hide it…really)…but that axe…definitely in the house. Bliss…days and days without interruptions, housework or cooking. Best wishes for a very productive writing retreat.

  260. When I hike alone and my mind starts playing tricks on me and the leaves falling from the trees begin to sound like, well, something much scarier, I sing songs. Usually Disney songs from my childhood but really any song that I remember most of the words to and that’s upbeat. It helps. Enjoy your solitude – it’s a wonderful gift!

  261. I would love the chance to be so alone although I’d likely enjoy it more with a dog to cuddle up to and some music to dance around. Enjoy!!!

  262. I agree with going outside and looking at the sky. It will be very dark until about 10:00pm when the moon rises. Go out and spy on the deer and raccoons. Or go out early in the morning like at 5:30 or 6:00 and watch the world go from dark to light! either way lots of stars and Venus is huge in the morning sky.

  263. I’d love the solitude at day but at night I’d be pushing large items of furniture up against doors! LOL
    Let’s hope your Number One Fan doesn’t turn up (a la SK’s Misery). Sorry, that probably doesn’t help, does it?! ;0)

  264. I don’t like to be alone during the day….that’s why we have a newfoundland…they are big and they hate to leave you alone. The dog would have come with. If I HAD to choose between the dog in the cabin or the yarn in the cabin? I’d take the dog, thank you.

  265. I’ll trade you for a small apartment with a garden in the heart of San Francisco. You could NOT possibly be more alone.
    I’d rather be in the woods than in the city any day of the week, except for the fact that my own writing depends entirely on the discontent of city-dwellers, which unfortunately means this is the best possible place to do it.
    The forest could not possibly be safer. As I tell people all the time, I’d much rather be mauled by a bear (or, for that matter, even a tiger) or eaten by wolves than suffer at the hands of Men.

  266. 6 days alone? No TV, no music, in the woods? No way.
    I do like alone in my own home, during the day, and sometimes into the early evening. Even my own house freaks me out when I’m alone during the nighttime. And I’ve never gone more than 2 nights totally alone, but I also have pets which helps a bit – hoping the dogs would bark at the axe murderer trying to climb in the window.
    Make sure you’ve got enough wine, write like crazy during the day, and go to bed early! πŸ™‚

  267. I guess you don’t want to know how much that first photo looks like a scene from that Stephen King move “Secret Window”, or that all that snow looks like something from the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining” or that the forest in general looks like something from “The Tommyknockers.”
    No? OK, I won’t mention it.

  268. Oh yeah, I forgot to suggest: next time bring a DVD player and/or a cd player. It’s the total quiet that gets you – and you start to imagine the noises.

  269. You GOOSE – go out there right NOW and bring in the axe and the chainsaws. Everyone knows crazed murderers don’t bring their own equipment…they take the tools that are handy! (Plus if they’re inside when you need to use them they aren’t frozen solid and prone to exploding into a million tiny metal pieces of death-dealing bad luck. And YOU can use them against the afore-mentioned crazed murderer that you mistakenly allow into the cabin when he announces that he’s the pizza guy.)

  270. I hope the expereiment is wonderful and brings you great joy along the way. I don’t think I’ve ever been Alone in quite the way you describe. But as I sit at my desk in the midst of a major city, amongst the din of my colleagues working too closely nearby, talking, laughing, cellphones ringing, traffic racing by the windows, and other chaos, I would sure like to give it a try.

  271. When I first moved out of the city, I found for the first time in my life, I wanted night lights, as I’d never been without street lights outside. But then the glorious stars made their way into my nighttime routine, and the wonderful silence …. but I have to confess, I mute the aloneness with Hero (my ten yo German shepherd protector and friend)….
    Enjoy your time alone and with nature. And knitting. And writing. And eating. And drinking tea. Hopefully, you won’t hear the pink, pink, pink of stitches unknitting themselves as they fall out of your lap!

  272. I have been alone, almost as remote. The first night was the worst, and by the end of my week of being alone I had completely embraced it. LOVED it, along with the sounds and dark and stars. And I didn’t feel so lonely as I got used to it. (I also got into routines that I wouldn’t otherwise, like going jogging at 7am and gardening in my bra.) Reality shifts a little, but in a really good way, I think.
    I’m a little jealous of you! I hope you get a lot of writing done!!

  273. I completely understand. It looks like there weren’t curtains on the windows, and I haven’t read the comments yet but wonder if there were suggestions to close the curtains, but I think I would be more afraid with them shut, because then I wouldn’t know what was going on out there (even if I couldn’t see anything in the dark) I’d be going back and forth, opening and closing the curtains, being scared either way! We do a lot of hiking in the Adirondacks. Once we went up to the Siamese Ponds to camp. There were other campers when we got there, but apparently we got there the day they were all leaving. In the end, it was just us: hubby, son, and I. As the sun went down, we talked about how alone we were, that there weren’t any people for miles and miles, and it was such a strange feeling…as night came on, I really started to feel it, how far we were from ‘safety’. It felt like a growing weight. It was scary but I got through it. Of course, I had strong hubby with me. I would be going through the same thing you are if I were alone like that; I understand completely how you feel! You will survive and be so much stronger and braver!

  274. That reminds me of a summer camp I worked at. We spent every evening trying to convince the kids that that noise that sounded like someone being murdered was just a bird, really, and it wasn’t dying, it was just trying to find a girl/boyfriend. Although I won’t lie. I SPRINTED between the bathroom and the cabin/tent when I had to pee in the middle of the night. I wasn’t a fool. I didn’t want to get attacked by something…

  275. I love being alone when I go on retreats. I guess that is the introvert in me. I find it comforting to be with myself and realize what good company I am. Hope your nights get better.

  276. You are tooo funny! I would not trade you places for the world unless it were daylight 24/7.
    From the get go when you began on how remote it is, ah huh, not me. I like to be alone in the woods with another person or two I can trust. If I were that alone I would need sedatives.

  277. Oh, that looks wonderful! I grew up in a very remote part of Michigan that looks an awful lot like that. I live in Oakland, CA right now, which is NOTHING AT ALL like that.
    I’d much rather be in a remote cabin worrying about random axe murderers than in the city worring about drugged out gangster murderers. Call me crazy, but a solitary axe murderer is easier to take on than an entire gang! Besides, I bet the deer would come to your aid. πŸ˜‰

  278. Well, I haven’t read the rest of the comments, so forgive me if this is repetitive, but my husband always says, and he is probably right, that the bad guys are terrified of the forest at night, too. It’s all instinctual. We all have that fear of the wild, because it used to be what kept us safe from, well, being eaten by bears. So I doubt that any bad guys would make the hike to your little cabin. And the bears are hibernating. Right?
    Enjoy your alone time. My three year old and 10 month old are robbing me of nearly every second of mine, including peeking in at me in the shower. A lonely cabin in the woods sounds like heaven on earth!

  279. I love your first book! It was pure, enjoyable, knitterly entertainment and I soooo totally related to so very much of it! I’m so glad you are working on a similar type book. I will be sure to pre-order πŸ™‚ when the time arrives! As for the alone in the woods~ HOLY CRAPeroli!! I wouldn’t last a minute. Alone at home~ another story…. I too have seen one too many unfavorable movies…. hey there’s an idea~ maybe they will offer you a movie deal for you first book πŸ™‚

  280. I’m in the middle of novel manuscript #3, I need to do the final rewrite on novel manuscript #1, and my husband hasn’t worked since New Year’s. He evidently can’t exist without the TV on and sharing interesting tidbits shouted down the hall at me. He used to be a traveling salesman (no, not the lascivious one in all the jokes) so I was alone at night alot. I can’t get used to him being home at night. I envy your solitude.

  281. Just wanted to say that I’m so happy that you’re writing another book like “Yarn Harlot.” That’s my favorite of yours – the one that made me want to knit. I can’t wait for another like it. πŸ™‚

  282. I love my alone time, and I have arranged my life so that I get quite a bit of it. I have often travelled alone, and have easily gone a month before I start missing meaningful conversation. (If books and blogs don’t count as conversation, that is.) I tend to prefer being “alone” in a crowd, though. Keeping to myself, but definitely with neighbors and the occasional small talk with the lady who sells me my soy milk or the guy on the bus. I totally get the whole fear of the ax murderer thing. It’s because there is no noise. And noise can be good–conversation at the next table, even if you aren’t part of it, is somehow comforting. It distracts you from your own monkey mind. (That’s why so many writers work at cafes, I think.) Situations like your current one always seem great to me, and I enjoy them, but I also find that I worry unnecessarily. (Not so much about ax murderers, I’m more likely to decide that I have 10 kinds of cancer and at least one new rare disease that hasn’t been discovered yet, but it’s worry all the same.) Alone in a crowd is different than being alone with your family where the conversation at the next table actually affects you. And it is not the same as being in the woods 8 miles from the next human being. When you are really Alone, your mind has nothing to do but think. A mixed blessing.
    Re writing, I’ve found that 4 hours is about the most good writing I can get out of myself in a day (and that’s on a good day). So when I am writing sans deadline I’ve found that going away to a cabin somewhere isn’t as productive as writing all morning and planning something frivolous for the afternoon and evening. With a deadline you don’t have that luxury, though. But I totally get the fear factor. Watch out for hair spiders! And knit. πŸ™‚

  283. “Next time pack pepper spray and the 9mm πŸ˜‰ and bring one of those axes in the house and hide it under the bed. TinyTot”
    I agree with tinytot, i would love the solitude but only with above within arms reach at night πŸ™‚

  284. Wow. That’s incredible. I think you’ll get used to it, though, and get better at it. I do think the lack of music could be a problem, though…..
    Good luck to you!

  285. I’d love it for the length of time you have. I would have had to bring some music I think. And I’ll hope for a clear sky for you one night to see the stars as they were meant to be seen.
    And remember, anyone who would want to come to you has to do that same 7 mile walk in the same cold tempatures. You have to ask yourself, why would they be THAT crazy??? LOL

  286. I predict by the end of 6 days you’ll love it! What a gift! But it will be swell to come home.

  287. I think I’d be okay. I like the uber-dark. I like getting away from the kids that I work with and my family when they chatter on like canaries.
    I’d sleep with chairs under the doorknobs and a knife under my pillow, though.

  288. Yes, please! But I would take my iPod and the speakers so I could listen to my music. Otherwise abso-freaking-lutely.
    I even just signed up for a class that, while I won’t be alone, I will be forced to not talk AT ALL, not even be able to use a traditional alarm clock, and am being encouraged to wear earplugs for FIVE days. I can hardly wait.

  289. I think it’s so funny that the first person who comments always says, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m the first to comment” and then there is no other part to their comment. Funny! Anyhoo, about being alone, my husband and I were gifted a two nights stay at a huge cabin on Clear Lake in CA. It was beautiful! My extended family came and stayed with us for the first night but then had to leave the next day. We were there – alone – the second night. We kept talking about all the movies where a killer comes out of the lake and hacks people up or the woods and we throughly freaked each other out. In the middle of that night, I remembered there was an ax in a stump right outside the french doors of the master bedroom leading into the woods. Neither of us could get up enough courage to go outside and bring it in the house. I know this makes my husband sound like a wimp but if you had been there you wouldn’t have done it either. **Freaky!** πŸ™‚ I’m sure the area must be so beautiful. I hope you get used to the night and are able to enjoy the most quiet you will probably get in quite a long time. Happy knitting! πŸ™‚

  290. I love, love love being alone….but then – I’m an only child. I especially love being out in God’s country…but I’m from outside of a small town.
    The bathtub…I think that’s for earthquakes. πŸ™‚
    Enjoy your time there; I envy you.
    m

  291. I got nervous just reading that post! I can hardly stand to stay alone in my own house, during the day, in a subdivision… (I’ve been known to hide when I hear a car outside!! Come to think of it, I might not be the best barometer of whether or not it is normal to be scared in your situation! lol)

  292. I love being alone. Love love love (I say it so many times because I never get to do it now). That said, when I saw the picture of the cabin, before I read the rest of your post, I began to think of how antsy I’d get all by myself, especially at night. So I understand.
    When I want to be alone, I go to Barnes and Noble. And whenever I tell anyone that, they look at me like I’m crazy, because our B&N is always packed. But it’s different, I’m alone, with other people. None of the other people there needs anything from me or is trying to (incessantly) talk with me about the merits of this or that superhero. I like this kind of alone.
    My husband is different. When he wants to be alone, he would hike out to that little house, and then keep walking for another few days until he was really good and alone. Sometimes I wonder how we got together…

  293. Alas, I have not yet had time to read all 381 comments (I bet YOU have, though, because you’re ALONE! and BORED! and ALONE!)
    but I bet someone’s already suggested sending Joe and the girls up to the cabin and leaving you and the cat home.
    Might work better.
    I had a similar experience when I decided in college to go camping by myself. Love camping; roommates (well, one roommate) getting on my nerves; drive up north with tent and sleeping bag in the lovely fall!
    Really a bit scarifying as a solo young woman, in reality. But I survived.
    I’m pretty sure that deer are not carnivorous.

  294. Blogs are a funny thing. You are alone with several hundred friends. LOL. And you can always stream your favorite radio station through your computer if you want a little company at night. But really, peace is a special gift. I hope you love every minute of it.

  295. I’m a city gal who lives in an apartment building. Whenever I have to sleepover in a house in the suburbs, I freak out. If I were in the country, alone with nothingness, I would have totally freaked out by now. Not enough wine in the whole world would have calmed me down.

  296. I remember waking up in the night and not being able to see whether my eyes were open or closed — it was that dark. Now I live in New York City. I think both take getting used to, in their own way!

  297. One of my favorite places to be is alone in a crowd — wandering a city where I know nobody. Sitting in a random cafe knitting is bliss. Alone like where you are? Not so sure. Don’t go all Jack Nicholson on us and start popping Excedrin like M&Ms, OK? Check in with Google News every now and then to remind yourself the rest of the world exists.

  298. Alone like that sounds wonderful right now. My family just recently moved so we’re crammed into a two bedroom apartment with boxes everywhere and two small boys (8 and 4). I have to go box-climbing to get to my yarn stash.
    Zombies don’t bother me. Evil Dead is one of my favorite movies.(Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness are better, just for the sheer silliness). Before I was married I kept a baseball bat and a cavalry saber next to my bed. With two young boys I decided that was asking for trouble so now the weapons live elsewhere.;)
    Enjoy your solitude.

  299. I’ve always enjoyed being by myself. I kid my family and tell them that I find myself to be infinitely fascinating company (ha). Of course, I’ve always had a protective dog around when I’ve been out in the middle of nowhere by myself. Nothing like a set of sharp canines (on both our parts) to give one confidence. Seriously, you need to find one of those monastery retreat centers where you can go for a weekend or a week and there are people around. If it’s a silent retreat, you get meals provided but you don’t have to worry about coming up with anything witty to say over dinner or in the halls. You can just write to your heart’s content. Sleep well!

  300. Do I like to be alone?
    Yes, especially in the bathroom. It would be nice to pee without an audience. (I have: a Husband, 3 kids, 2 cats and a dog who constantly stand outside the door talking to me (or the equivenent there of) or waiting for the john- regardless of the fact that we have 3 toilets in this house..)
    Would I like to be alone? I would like it for a few days….but then- not so much. As much as I like quiet.. I like people too;)
    Dark is scary… but sunrise’s are spectacular….so sleep during the day… work all night.. or take some benadryl- it’ll knock you out.
    and- hey- what are you talking about “alone?” we’re all here with you. Duh. πŸ˜‰
    Crank out that book- and go home early… or knit faster with a difficult lace pattern to concentrate on- works for me when I’m scared;)
    That’s enough of my bossiness for today;)

  301. I’m delighted to see you’re writing another book of essays. My favorite of your books so far is Yarn Harlot: Secret Life of a Knitter. I devoured that book, enchanted by the humor, wit, and just plain interesting stories.

  302. I live alone and have for the past 17 years. I love being alone. Now, admittedly I live in town but still – alone is wonderful – it is addictive. Now I did have a similar spook about a year ago. My 90 year old mother had a stroke and we brought her home with Hospice to die. I was the one who stayed with her 24 hours. She lived in the country – not city alone – country alone – with a dying mother. What spooked me is several months before she had the stroke, she had a dream that her 3 sisters, who had long been gone, had come to visit her. They wanted her to go someplace with them and she wasn’t ready to go so, in her dream, she was in the bedroom getting ready and they were in the living room waiting. When she woke up they were gone. I was now in the same living room – keeping one eye open to see if the sisters had come back. Then I went into the bedroom in the middle of the night to check on her and, of course, was worried that the sisters were waiting in the dark corners. I finally told my self that I was just creeping myself out and to get over it. Anyway, if the sisters did come back – they would be friendly spirits who had come for good. Don’t give me consolation on the death of my mother – it was a good death – she consistently said she just wished we would find her dead in her chair – and she came close – lived independently until she had a stroke on Friday and was gone on Tuesday. Remember Steph – what is really creeping you out is not what actually is out there, but what your imagination is thinking could be out there.

  303. Totally. I was that afraid when my husband took off for his first Star Party a state away, and was gone for four nights. I had the kids at home with me (all of them under 6 years old), but still. It was fine while the sun shone, but after it got full dark, it took me until 4am to go to sleep. I heard every noise the house made that I’d never noticed before, and worried about the neighbors across the field I’d heard rumors about, and wondered if they knew that we only had one car in the garage, and had been watching the house through all of the big windows in back. Even at 4am, I had to sleep with the phone and something right by me with which to defend myself and the kids.
    The next night, it was 3am. The next night, I think I made it to bed by 1am. I was one very, very tired woman when Vern came home, but I made it. Each year it has been easier and easier to go to sleep when he’s not here, and not worry about crazy meth-heads breaking into my house. (We have some trouble with that in our area. Ugh.) Now I just have to fight my usual night-owl tendencies, and not knit until 3am. ;o)
    The funny thing is, I had all of this trouble for two reasons: I was in a neighborhood (after living in the country for most of my life), and I didn’t have a dog (my early-warning system of choice). I remember when I went to college, and lived in a big city for the first time, being amazed at how *not dark* it got at night. I missed the thick, real darkness of the farm at home.
    Besides, axe murderers don’t like to be out when it’s that freakishly cold. And it’s too easy to track an intruder in snowy conditions. Any self-respecting evil-doer keeps his shenanigans to himself when there’s no undetectable method of escape.
    If I was in your situation, I’d be just fine. Well, at least after a late night or two. ;o)

  304. I love how you remember the not being alone that comes with 3 small children. And how encouraging it is to know that they will grow and yet I will still be not alone. =0) I have a 6, 4, and 2 year old. I am never alone. Yet, for all my desires to be alone I would not be in that cabin. I once did that when I was on staff at a summer camp. Most of the other staff had gone home. I had an entire cabin to myself. It wasn’t -30. And there were probably people within 1/2 mile of me. But there were bears. And I’m sure an ax-murderer too. I probably could have used a drink. Instead I slept with the lights on. I can’t believe how far gone that memory was until you unearthed it. And…I’m so glad that I’m not alone.

  305. That is abit too alone for me!! Maybe it would be better is you could go to a place not so far away – still comfy and warm – work – write and knit for 10-12 hours – and bike on home! I would have to have some tv – some background noise – besides deer eyes in the darkness! Did you sleep well that nite?

  306. I live on 3 acres, but have relatively close neighbors. Still, at about midnight or one, if Jon’s not home it gets…creepy. For some reason I can’t make myself go to sleep before about 3 if I’m home alone. Like whatever it is that is waiting for me to let my guard down will pounce when I drift off.
    The nice thing about the internet is that you’re never really alone. And for music, there’s always pandora.com.
    Btw – your chapter on socks in knitting rules really helped me to a good place with socks. I’m loving them. Loving. Them.
    Thank you for that!

  307. Stephanie,
    Our family has a cabin like that, and you are sooooo right about just how dark dark can be. The first night would be the worst, because the second night you are too tired from the not sleeping to care. It’s great that you get this time away, you will end up feeling very de-stressed and wonderful.
    You should negotiate some time there with Joe after the madness that is the tour schedule, because that kind of alone is really nice to share with a special person.
    I appreciate all you do for us, and hope that your time away is as wonderful for you as mine is for me when I am in the Woods.
    When you come to Denver in April, do you want Laughing Lab or Fat Tire Ale? Both are brewed here in the Springs, just as the Beehive was. I won’t forget the Rocky Mountain Chocolate either.

  308. two adults, two teenagers, two toddlers, two cats, one dog, one fish, one bathroom.
    As long as I could bring my i-pod and dvds for the computer, I’d still want to be THAT alone.
    (How did the ice sound? I always thought it would sound lonely and evil…)

  309. I grew up in the country, and I’m afraid of the dark just like you described. Before I started living alone I would sleep with the lights on if I was home alone. You’ll get used to it over the next few days, I promise.

  310. I’d do it in a flash, but I would bring a dog for protection, and perhaps a cat. I guess I really wouldn’t be alone then!

  311. oh- and besides- no worries- you have sharp pointy sticks…with which you got skills…
    Girl- you are armed. You could most certainly, when called upon:
    1) Kill man or beast, and probably prepare for cooking (if necessary) with the same weapon. (I suggest metal needles for this project- but of course wood stakes have long been used to kill vampires)
    2) Scare same man or beast by brandishing knitting in either a threatening manner- or by knitting threatening projects as a means of inducing fear. ie pink mohair itchy things ….. or warmers for things that don’t really need to be warmed.
    3) Knit accidently injured (in your exuberance to fend off a non-dangerous man or beast) man or beast either bandages to heal- or socks to soothe….
    You knit- you’re armed- no fear;)

  312. This will probably prove once and for all that I’m a sick little monkey, but there’s one good thing about feeling as if you are stuck in the Evil Dead cabin: You get to be Ash. This means you not only live through the night, but also through two sequels, and the longer you live, the better the one-liners get.
    Seriously, the next time you find yourself getting spooked, just stand in the middle of the room and holler “All right, you primitive screwheads, LISTEN UP! See this? This is my BOOMSTICK!”
    (There, don’t you feel better already? πŸ˜‰

  313. You do know that Evil Dead is really a comedy, don’t you? hee hee
    Keep the radio on – that always helps me. Preferably tuned to a (fairly) local station.
    The others are right, it’s way too cold out even for blood-thirsty axe murderers. They’re all hunkered down and waiting for the thaw.

  314. I totally get that. In the city when I am alone in the house and start to panic, I calm myself by listening for the bus going down the road. I think of how any axe murderer would probably be seen by my neighbours (who are definitely the type that keep an eye on things). I figure folks can hear you scream.
    In the woods…
    On the upside, if it is 7 km for you to get to the store and you figure you need snowshoes, that’s a lot of effort for an axe murder to go to on the off chance there is someone in that cabin. You need a list of things all the creaky noises can be so you can calm yourself down.
    Hope you get lots of writing done. It sounds like a great place.

  315. When I first started reading, I thought it sounded heavenly. Then I remembered all the Stephen King I read in my youth and thought, Oh man, is that going to suck when it gets dark. I hope she’s not afraid of the dark the way I am.
    Rest assured, you are safe and warm, and there’s nothing there in the dark that’s not there in the light. And don’t read any Stephen King while you’re there.

  316. Sounds like heaven to me. I would add satellite radio though…just to have some “good” noise, and old radio programs from the 40’s to listen to while I knit. Does the bathtub have a jacuzzi? Is there down on the bed? Have you seen the Northern Lights?
    I am making myself just sick with envy of your situation…
    Enjoy and write on/ knit on/ drink wine/ eat and sleep before you know it, the crowded house will be back, and you will again be wanting the two hours on the bathroom floor to yourself!!!

  317. Oh, how tempting just to post the following, over and over: ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES STEPH A DULL GIRL. LOL!! Instead, I’ll encourage you to go out at night and look at the stars, if it’s not far too cold to do so. Away from all the light pollution they must be wonderful to behold.

  318. I work as a wilderness educator, I camp, I hunt, I spend days at a time in the woods without even so much as a couple of walls to separate me from all manner of scary beasts.
    I say this so that you will understand that it is with some amount of expertise that I say the first night *always* sucks, no matter how many times I do it. The second night sucks a little bit less, but it’s still usually on the sucky side of the scale. The third night is usually the tipping point for me. Either I am comfortable enough that I sleep well, or I am so exhausted from the previous two nights of occasional dozing punctuated by frequent adrenaline-drenched lurches for my knife (or perhaps, in your case, pointy needles) that I have no choice but to sleep soundly. After that it’s pretty much smooth sailing except for the boredom.

  319. Alone in the woods hasn’t had the same charm for me since the Blair Witch Project. Darn low budget movies, ruining the woods for everyone! Wish I’d never watched it.
    Honestly, the axe murderer is hanging out in the city. You’re fine where you are. It’s those of us left behind in the city who should be afraid…

  320. I love to be alone. I teach high school and my students never give me a moments peace so I get home and I just want quiet. No socializing, no noise. I hide in the kitchen and clean, or I go out to my horse (who doesn’t usually talk to me). Enjoy your vacation from the noise! Build a snowman! Oh wait… its -30. Just visuallize one instead.

  321. I find it hard to breathe in cities and busy places. Alone, totally alone would be ok for 5 days, but after 5 days, I think even I would start driving myself nuts. THAT is when I would have to check the internet.
    As others have said, you have yarn, you have sharp points, you have locks on the doors. You will be fine, and further, I predict that you will write beautiful, wonderful things.

  322. I am the same way in the city at night, guess its just what we are used to…if I ever get paranoid at home in the woods at night I find flinging open the windows and watching the trees to be really soothing…so who can guess…my fear as a child was being locked inside with someone, and not getting out through the locked doors so I feel safer if the doors are unlocked…but I can walk for hours in the woods at night, no animal is scarier than man…

  323. There is such as thing as “too much of a good thing”!!! And, yes, of course there were monsters under the bed! I still feel that way when Hubby is out of town! And I am 30 something!

  324. I enjoy that kind of alone, for a short period of time. But, you know, there are always people on Ravelry, your people. Find an interesting forum, and you will be a hit, and you will not be alone. Use the radar to see what people are talking about, and have fun. Wine, internet, knitting, as long as you are warm…you are good.

  325. Would. Crack. Up. And. DIE.
    I like alone in my home, and sometimes for days on end, but I also have seen the Evil Dead trilogy TOO MANY TIMES to think that I could handle your sort of alone. I’m sure it’s lovely/beautiful/peaceful/introspective and all that great stuff for someone more equipped to handle it than myself (read: not co-dependent).
    At least I know this about me and can face facts, though. I hope you are enjoying your solitude!

  326. Yes, I could be that alone. I envy you right now. Of course, I was raised in the country so like the very dark quiet of it all. Enjoy some for me. Just imagine all of us knitters there with you with ONE bathroom!

  327. you are liveing the words and images of
    your first novel keep notes make tapes
    and ask how much this cabin would cost
    when you need a place to recover from
    your touring and write your 2010 calendar
    yes its spooky asking me to use a light
    to get to the outhouse knowing full
    will that all the varmits were out in
    dark being terrified to sit not
    knowing what might down there
    was enough to send me back to
    gandfathers house to use the chamber pot
    cause i was tall it was a long way to sit
    and i just would not do that i mean just
    really mother take care the world is watching

  328. Sign me up! Can I go now????
    With 1 teenager and 2 small ones under the age of 7 and they are all BOYS….. I’ll trade places with you right now.
    Envy is a marvelous thing.

  329. In theory, sounds great, but in reality, I’d probably get a little nervous, just like you.
    This may not be the most tactful thing to say, but the book you referenced is my hands down favorite of yours. It best displays your beautiful writing talent, and I am thrilled you will let us enjoy it again. I am cheering you on because it seems that environment is well-suited to your task! Keep writing!

  330. I think I’d pay to be that alone for a few days. Three kids under the age of four, a husband, a full class schedule and a million deadlines? Being that alone is a fantasy come true. Although, I would need some music, radio or pre-recorded, either one, but I would need music. Add a sketchbook, at least 6 pencils, a few cameras of choice, a bucket full of film, and a week’s worth of photographic chemicals/supplies/equipment.

  331. By night three or four I’m usually much better. The exercise in aloneness, I try to do at least once a year for a week or so, is always a growing curve for me. I found incorporating an hour of yoga in the day or night helped pass the time.
    ‘luck!

  332. That might as well be my family’s house in NH, except it looks somewhat in better repair at this point — it doesn’t really bear considering going to the NH house in winter. I’ll only go after black flies and before the frost, basically.
    When I was a kid, I hated the alone most of the time… but now? I think back on those times and covet that level of alone. My dad used to say “This is the perfect house for someone to go write a book in,” and “It’s a brilliant getaway for someone who hates people.”
    Also, I take back some of my whining about how my office is next to the kid’s bedroom. It’s one boy, and we have 2 full bathrooms and 2 half baths. But I only take back most of it, not all of it, because DAMN he’s noisy, and he’s right there next to my office. RIGHT THERE. And there have been snow days.
    Anyway. So the house in NH is perfect, I’m thinking, for a small, cozy, beer and wine and fiber *retreat.* With enough of us to drive off the undead if, you know, it goes that way.

  333. Sounds not entirely unlike my last home, square in the middle of a 100-acre orange grove off a dirt road, can’t-find-it-unless-you-know-it’s -there, grotty pond with alligators, 30 minute drive to the closest liter of milk, foggy and dark as Snape’s butt…it was great, and then I was over it and I moved.
    At least there wasn’t snow. You trump me.

  334. Oh my gosh that sounds so amazing! I think I’d be doing exactly what you experienced. One perfectly calm day and one terrified night. But after that I think I’d be ok – I’m thinking it’d be a one night freakout kinda deal. I also think that I’d make it one day of perfect calm before getting antsy, but with all that beautiful wilderness out there, even with it being freakishly cold, I think I’d be going for a wee showshoe-ing every day.
    Enjoy it, and I hope you are less freaked this evening! : )

  335. I think it would be scary too. Having said that, it’s been a bit stressful here with teenagers, so I would give it a good try if I was given the opportunity.

  336. Um, I’m going to go with a hell no, as I was one of those who also double timed it up to the top bunk. Especially after my husband drug me to see I am Legend (so horrible), that would be way to alone for me.

  337. Relax and enjoy yourself. You really get to know you with that kind of aloneness. I used to have that most of the time, and miss it every day of my life since.

  338. I grew up in that kind of Alone. Waaaaaaaay out in the middle of nowhere. And you’re right, it gets very dark out there. I moved away πŸ™‚ So I guess my answer is “no, I don’t really like that kind of alone.” Could I deal with it for a while, yes. But I like my noise and my people and my city.
    Zombies don’t like snow. And neither do axe murderers πŸ™‚

  339. not no but heeeeeeeel no.
    i have a 2 year old boy that is 400% boy and i consider my self to have been alone if i get to wash my hair and shave in the same trip to the tub. i even got to pee without help the other day. i’d go ape-shit with that much solitude. sorry i’m not being very helpful, but i’d die out there.

  340. I’m generally pretty social and afraid of being alone (but that’s bigger, I’m afraid of ending up alone forever). But once in a while I wish I could be alone like that. I think I’d like a weekend or maybe 3 days… not sure I could handle a full six, but I might savor it if I got it anyway. I know the quick-jump-in-bed-to-be-safe feeling and fear what might be outside. Even though it’s most likely just deer and snow. Despite your fears, you should savor every moment since you know you’ll probably go home to chaos and won’t have even a few hours for several days after returning… if not weeks…
    Incidentally, I have to say that the most annoying thing in the world is a hair down the back of your shirt when you’re wearing too many layers to get at it? I think if I were alone in a cabin I’d wear nothing the whole time just so that wouldn’t happen. I’d build a fire or grab a blanket if it got too cold, but the hair thing would need to be avoided at all cost…

  341. I work at home and don’t have any kids, only a dog who’s not talking. My husband is gone for 10 hours a day and by the time he gets home, I’ve had my fill of alone time! But if I had three teenagers, I’d be running for the woods for sure.

  342. Yes, although I would rather be warm & really on an island, surrounded by water, preferably with a beach.
    That’s why I was the only cousin who would cat/house/baby sit at night for my aunt & uncle in the backwoods of Mississippi.

  343. Noooooooooooo! I cannot do that sort of aloneness. I can’t go into my mother’s kitchen without the blinds down at night, because her garden has no lights in it. I’m not so bothered about that crazy axe murderer seeing me through the door/window, I just don’t want to see his dilated pupils and frenzied look staring back at me thanks very much.
    I’m a city girl through and through!

  344. ARE YOU KIDDIN’ ME????? I’d love to be that alone…. I NEED TO BE THAT ALONE. I pray for that kind of aloneness at least once in my life. Really soon would be good. Have fun, write much, and knit lots!!!!

  345. I would be paranoid without curtains, I need to draw the curtains at night!
    on the other thought with the state of my two year old (who was sick this wee) my four year old who’s…. well… four and my husband who has been on a business trip to cancun this week I’d take off running with bells on curtains or not.

  346. This is just another reason why I admire you. I would not be able to do that.
    My ex had a cabin in Vermont (no phone and pre=computer days) where we spent time but I never stayed there alone. At one point I realized that I couldn’t be there with him in the midst of such isolation and that’s when I knew the relationship had to end.

  347. I need a LOT of time alone but as long as I have Internet, I don’t feel very alone. I’m so shy in real life that most of my friends were actually found online. Truly alone for me (and what would help me actually FINISH my novel) would be being forced to be exactly where you are but with no Internet access. Good luck, Stephanie!
    Barb

  348. Axe murderers only go out in the woods in the summer. It’s the cardinal rule of horror movies. Only weird alien/beast-man things are in the woods in winter. So you have nothing to worry about.
    I am the type of person that likes being alone in my home so much that I don’t even think I would mind house arrest.

  349. “Do you like to be alone?”
    Yes.
    “Would you like to be this alone?”
    Oh, yes. Not all the time, but for a week would be nice. Listening to the ice. Sounds wonderful. Sigh…

  350. I have lived alone for 9 years. I am not afraid nor do I feel lonley. I am not sure what I would do if I had a perm roommate, I think it would drive me nuts. Enjoy your alone time… its a present.

  351. It’s becoming clear that those of us who didn’t have too much exposure to horror films in our formative years would have more positive take on this experience.

  352. Actually, that sounds like heaven to me. But I grew up in the country, in the woods, and I love even now when the power goes out at night and there is nothing but darkness and sky out the windows… There is something so infinitely peaceful about being Away, just away from everything but nature.
    So if you need some company… πŸ™‚
    Happy writing.

  353. I live in the woods but it doesn’t scare me anymore I have to have soft classical music on or I hear things that freak me out. You will love it after a day or 2 if not call Joe for a sleep over

  354. That’s probably the reason I haven’t read Stephen King in a long time. Trying being out in the dark in the state where most of his stories are set.
    That aside, once you do manage to quell the internal freak-out and if you can bundle up really well for a bit, there is nothing so beautiful as the sky in that kind of dark. It’s enough to make you weep.

  355. Really, really alone? Really? That’s like winning the lottery: it’ll never happen to me, but I truly enjoy planning out how I’ll spend it all…
    6 Whole days, huh? could I bring my knitting and my iPod? A few good books? A bottle of wine? sold!! to the lady with 3 kids and 3 dogs, a cat, a bird and a fish (and a hubby who works long hours…)

  356. I’m all for that type of Alone…if you’ll leave the imagination at home next time. That is amazing and I am envious.

  357. Stephanie, we own a cottage on Lake Michigan, and I live there in the summer. True, it is not quite as isolated as what you’re describing, but on most week nights there is no one behind me, no one in front of me (unless you count the lake, which indeed often seems very alive), and no one to the left or right for cottage after cottage. It is not unusual to see no lights but the moon and the stars. Very occasionally I lie in bed plotting my escape from the person who’s definitely going to break into the cottage in the next five, maybe ten, minutes. But usually I read myself sleepy and then turn off the light and listen to the waves and watch the stars. Somewhere along the line I just stopped being frightened and loved this place so much that it means safety itself to me.

  358. A week in a cabin in the wood sounds heavenly to me. For the past six years, I’ve worked a writing schedule around my teaching job. Solitude helps me find a deeper kind of knowledge so I enjoy being alone now and then. I enjoy your blog because I too write and knit. Do you have time to read all of the comments?

  359. When I was in residency in Newfoundland for 2 years, I would go off camping alone (in the wilderness that is, not the drunk adolescent male-infested campgrounds). Loved it (my colleagues thought I was off my rocker.) When I moved to Labrador I got a dog and discovered that that kind of alone with a great big dog is even better. (Also a dog would totally bark if there was an axe-murderer, thus relieving you of the responsibility of straining your ears to listen for one.)

  360. I had to laugh out loud at your description of getting into a bunk bed; I used to leap into my bed at night from three feet away just to foil the monsters lurking under the bed. Of course, the minute I got into bed, all I could think about was how much I needed to pee. So much for good planning.
    Right now, though, I swear I would give a limb to be that far away from any single person. But then, I’m a bit of a solitude hound, and I don’t think I’ve had more than ten minutes alone outside the bathroom in the past three weeks, so I could be getting a bit dramatic. Do post again and let us know you made it through tonight, ‘k?

  361. We have a cabin just like that up in Haliburton and I love being there alone. Between my pottery and my knitting it is the best of times for me. I once spent 6 months there by myself and it was a wonderful learning experience. Enjoy your time, it’s liberating to be able to take care of yourself, unless you get snowed in of course…ciao

  362. I agree with someone else that you’ll probably quickly get used to it and then find the cityscape too much (at least for a day or two). My past experience was living alone in the bush about 35 km from Yellowknife…no cds or mp3 players then (or indoor biffy for that matter), but CBC radio was/is wonderful company. Hope you can get hold of a radio!
    I love your books and have faith that your muse will find you wherever you are!

  363. Yes, I do. I LOVE to be alone. Really alone. Not all the time, but I seem to require regular periods of restorative aloneness. I never sleep better than when it is really dark and really quiet. But, I’m a bit of an misanthrope, so perhaps that explains it.

  364. I think I might like it. The only problem would be whether or not I had the physical stamina to haul that much beer in through the woods on my back.
    I mean, dude, I can lift and carry over 200 lbs, but not for long.

  365. Three thoughts:
    1. Barter is a wonderful thing.
    2. On the next clear night, dress very warmly and go outside and look at the sky (give your eyes about 20 minutes to completely dark-adapt once you’re out there so you’ll really see). Your jaw will drop at the absolute beauty of the universe.
    3. Horror movies are completely unrealistic. The vast majority of people, especially women, who are murdered are killed by people they know, not total strangers. If you don’t hang out with violent people, your chances of being murdered are pretty low.

  366. I grew up in a place like that, but am now living in the burbs’. I miss the quite and the dark, it helps you get to know yourself better.

  367. That is pretty much how I live. I drive into town 4 days as week for work and the rest of the time it is me and the beasts…It helps that I have a couple of dogs and a cat. Otherwise I dont think I could do it. But with them? I wouldnt want to live another way. I love it when it gets THAT dark, makes me feel cozy in my cabin…and the stars are amazing…

  368. Actually you are on my dream vacation and I live in a very rural area. While all my friends are booking the trips down south, you are where I would prefer to be…but with curtains!
    Allison

  369. No dear, It’s not ALONE but a room of own’s OWN. Remember Ms. Woolfe and Shakespeare’s sister. All the women writers of the world are smiling at you.

  370. I’ve been there, done that. Yes – it takes a day or so, but you get use to it. A couple of days and nights of not getting AXE MURDERED will settle you down. In the meantime, check in with family or go get the cat to keep you company…. Savor the aloneness… it will go quickly.

  371. Sounds heavenly to me. Yes a little freaky but I can’t do naked windows at night in town or in the woods. Cover the windows, have another glass of wine and start looking through all those wonderful books. You might learn to love it. If not start the wine earlier and sleep away the dark so you can enjoy the day.

  372. I love being alone. That alone? Yes. Ever since living in the country for three years in my teens, my dream house has been someplace where the nearest neighbor was about 50 miles away, and I could look out a window at night and see no human-produced lights, anywhere. (I like the dark. And I do know real darkness, such as that found on a remote peak halfway up Mt. Hood in the middle of the night.) The Idaho Primitive Area always sounded like a nice option, if they’d allow people to live there. πŸ˜‰
    Of course, now I’m 53, have various health problems, and the numerous logistics of living someplace like that are, alas, far too many and/or expensive for me to deal with. But it’s still something I dream about. Especially as long as I had internet access.
    Hope you adjust, find your inner hermit, and end up truly enjoying your retreat! Plus getting a lot of writing and knitting done. [g]

  373. Alone time is great but alone time in your own home is the best. I live for when my retired hubby goes away for the weekend or even for an evening!!
    Hope you get over your jitters!

  374. I would absolutely LOVE to be that alone!!! You definitely get to know what kind of person you are. Once you get used to it, you’re not going to want to go back…. or at least you’ll want your family to visit you so you won’t have to leave but you’ll get to see them πŸ™‚
    Marianne

  375. Wow, cool. I think I could do that kind of alone for about 3 days. I don’t, I’ll have to try it and see. I would get freaked out at some point, but I’m such a good at repressing stuff, so it’d probably just go into the vault with all the rest of my trauma. (it’s not a vault, it’s more like a wicker basket)

  376. Subtract snow, cold, and cabin.
    Add pup-tent, backpack, and three more weeks.
    Coming back to “civilization” was HARD!
    Best month of my entire life (60+ years)
    P.S. I’m up LATE at night (close to dawn – EST)- and tonight I’ll keep the e-mail up – write if you need company…

  377. I do enjoy a cozy cabin in the woods but I’m a huge wimp. A squirrel would kick my butt for my cashews. So I prefer someone else with me in the cabin, preferably larger and able to wrestle a bear. Or someone who runs slower than I am when the axe murder comes!

  378. I hear ya, Harlot! Being a born-and-bred Toronto gal, I went and married a North Carolina redneck [he’s still in NC, I’m still in TO, we’ve been married a year and a half, but we’re still figuring out who’s going to move where], who has 48 acres on the outskirts of “town” [“town” being 7 miles away and roughly 900 people; you even have to drive to visit the neighbour!]. There is quite the difference between city dark and country dark!! I’m due to head to NC in about 2 weeks, and although I LOVE it there during the day, I tend to freak myself out at night–especially when Tim isn’t there, which is most nights as he works graveyard shift! Thankfully I have my Husky and my hubby’s dog with me, otherwise I don’t think I’d ever get any sleep–they are the biggest weenies on 4 paws, but they make a hell of a racket when they hear something and can pass for ferocious, which is great, except when they sound off at 3 in the blessed morning!! But relish the solitude while you can, it will be over waaaay too soon, and you’ll be kicking yourself that you were skeered being alone! If you still have night issues, keep some implement of doom (oh, an axe, a 9mm, a baseball bat, heck even a broom!) handy near the bed and you’ll be fine!

  379. Yes, being this alone is a God-send. It’s the we get to truly discover the voice of the Universe. We get to discover and rediscover the Touchstones that make us who we are. I’m happily married but there are days where I really miss being silent all day long. But the “alone” times really, really make me appreciate my husband, my dog, my family, and friends.

  380. Hey, me again, just another thought–I’m sure you have your knitting needles with you; keep them by the bed and if anyone tries to break in and axe murder you or zombify you, stab ’em with the needles!! Heh heh, and you thought knitting needles were just for knitting! πŸ˜›

  381. Yes, I really like to be alone…..even that alone.
    It’s a little different though, because I live in the country so I’m used to the no humans nearby/super darkness thing.
    I grew up in Chicago suburbia, and when we first got married and moved out to the middle of nowhere, I was kinda freaked out. (esp. when the husband was working all hours) It’s all what you’re used to, I guess. Enjoy the quiet!

  382. It sounds absolutely heavenly! I would dearly love that much alone time. I’ve the temprament of a hermit but a husband, son, and two cats who all want to be with me constantly. The idea of almost a week without any being make a demand of my time and attention sounds like something close to paradise. The scenery, internet, and a good supply of knitting would be a bonus.

  383. I have been that alone and liked it; I tend to feel at home in the woods. But then I live alone, anyway, so it’s not as much of a stretch as coming from a house full of people.
    Having said that, I like being that alone best if I am in a small, self-contained space (a wee cabin would be great) and have a nice big rifle at my side, just in case. Rattling around in a big empty house makes me nervous.

  384. Oh, you are living my fantasy. I would like to have my cat with me and a bottle or two of some nice wine though.
    When it is that dark – go out and look at the stars. They will be brighter than you have ever seen in your life.
    That book was my favorite by the way.

  385. Sounds like bliss, except for no music. Revell in it, no-one asking you where’s this and that. As long as you enough food and alcohol and its only a week. Do you really traffic, etc?

  386. I like to think I like to be alone, but I can’t go to sleep without my husband in the house and our neighbors’s houses aren’t more than 15 feet away. I think I could hack it with a large lay-in of wine and a nice cuddly dog. If I take my Molly to bed with me, I can get to sleep without the hubby in the house.

  387. After 27 years teaching, serving husband, children’s needs –I retired! TIME –to paint, write, knit, blow glass, read and THINK! I love being alone and would trade places with you for one week every month!

  388. Honey, welcome to my life. I live alone in a big city. Yes, there are other people in other houses, but my phone never rings. And if the electricity were to go out, I would have to be put in a serious love me jacket (straight jacket) after a couple of days. I have the tv on for background noise. And the cats? They are just not great conversationalist. So big snow storms, or blackouts . . . I just have to make sure I have supplies in the house and lots of anti-anxiety meds!
    You will be fine. Once you get over the scary part you will be fine. Oh, bring the chain saw and the ax INTO the house with you. That way everything else must fear YOU!
    Ann
    (who is hoping that you get enough alone time to really REALLY appreciate being with your family for a long LONG time!)

  389. Totally alone, sounds like fun. Find a great book, wine?, lay down in front of the fire. If you don’t look out the window, you won’t know you aren’t in Toronto.

  390. Oooh yes, I have been this alone. Three times in my life I have gone on a “vision quest” where you go out into the woods with your backpack and whatever you can stuff in it for 4 nights. Fasting. Yes, totaly fasting. We also weren’t allowed to bring anything that would enter the brain…no music, no books, etc. Only journals. Output. We did it as a group, and the group leader knew where each of us was in relation to the base camp, and every day we would walk to a location and leave a rock or something to prove we were still okay. But we were alone. Clearly it was great, because I repeated it twice. I have also done alone in a less exposed setting, similar to what you are doing now.
    Profound things happen. Seems like almost always around the 3rd or 4th day, for me at least. I love it.
    One of my favorite books of all times is “Gift From the Sea”. Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I cannot say enough good things about time alone. Enjoy.

  391. Flesh-eating zombies NEVER wear snowshoes. Can’t strap them on, you know. Stiff knees. So you are obviously perfectly safe.

  392. The great thing about cats when you’re alone? They’ll stare at nothing like there’s something there, adding to your feeling of monsters in the dark. Don’t take a cat with you to a cabin in the woods… πŸ™‚

  393. Umm… may I suggest you bring the chainsaws and axes INTO the cabin. Maybe hide them under your bed so that YOU might have first access to them?

  394. You sleep in the bathtub in Detroit, not out in the woods. It sounds wonderful to me, but I do alone well.
    Just set up your computer to play a little music if it gets to quiet and enjoy!

  395. How long has it been since you and Joe have been this alone together? Make him an offer he can’t refuse.

  396. For my first 47 years I lived in Seattle; the last 9 in the woods in Maine. I love it now, but it took some getting used to. Every day (night!) should get a little easier for you. Might take more than 6 nights to be totally comfortable! Sleep with some lights on somewhere in the house…then it won’t seem quite so dark outside. Enjoy!

  397. Hi,
    I completely understand. I just spent this past week sleeping with a large wood golf club! My husband and son were out of the country. My daughter and the dogs went to the grandparents. I was left in our house with 4 useless-in-an-emergency cats. and after seeing NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, I spent the whole week waiting for Javier Bardem to come through the door with his air tank! so yeah, I get it.

  398. That’s quite the feeling, isn’t it? My first opportunity to fledge from my marriage involved a 3 month house sitting stint out in the country. I was in a little old farm house off a dirt road. The house sat on about 4 acres or so, with a HUGE old barn, very much gone to seed, as well as a shed and an old Citroen which had been put out to pasture. It was an absolutely beautiful place in the daylight. At night though, it was another story. I was uneasy about how “out there” it was, as well as feeling like I had to be brave because I had my 3 year old there with me much of the time. It took me about a month before I could go up to the car (just imagine what I might find in there! A corpse for sure!!) and I can’t tell you how nervous the cellar made me. I got into the swing of it eventually though, and now I find I do miss the solitude. And all those stars.

  399. Phone? Internet? You’re way ahead of Alaskan cabins in the woods! Not on the outskirts of town, like mine, but in the woods… And hey, it’s winter; the bears are asleep! No music? Ever listened to pandora.com?

  400. I totally get the difficulty of the first night. I also get the ‘ears ringing it’s so quiet’ … but I would also go in a moment. The idea of releasing the commitments that every other person has on me, that no one could interrupt my thoughts (or non-thoughts, those are good, too) or my activities is too appealing.
    I find myself surprised that so many commenters are afraid of the dark/quiet/Alone. No judgment intended, just a perspective thing. It seems to me that we all need to connect with that sort of quiet in order to connect with the planet in a really meaningful way. Isn’t it easier to imagine the impact of our actions on the forests and rivers if we really have lived there, even if only for a week? I’m a city-girl, born and raised, and live in a smallish town outside a biggish town. I love people and the relationships I have, but I crave quiet like you wouldn’t believe.
    I hope you are able to enjoy it, really. Go for long walks during the day, touch the trees (with mittened hands, to be sure) and listen to the ice crunch. Maybe it’ll make you feel more a part of the place and not so big-A-Alone, but simply alone surrounded by beautiful, sleeping nature. And best wishes on the writing – Can’t wait!

  401. When we went through our first lambing here on the farm, I was the one who did the late night pasture walk. About 10:30pm, me & the coleman lantern & the backpack headed out to the flock. Nothing like walking through the dark hearing coyotes in the distance to make you wish for a busy street. And there’s nothing more amazing than coming across a mom & new lambs by the light of the lantern, or by that same lantern, helping new lambs to be born. Or in late winter, spending some quality time with the guard dog in the middle of the night on a haybale, catching a glimpse of Aurora Borealis.
    Go brave the night and check out the stars. Amazing with no city lights to interfere.
    and music is good for those times when the alone & quiet time gets to be to ‘loud’. Eine kleine Nachtmusik is just the thing.

  402. I wrote my entire master’s thesis in a place with no grid electricity or running water. (I wasn’t alone the whole time, though.) Here’s what happened to me–the jagged-edged freaked-outed-ness becomes the country mouse version of lonely and bored. You decide to write because it’s just too mind-wrecking not to. And then you come to love the silence, and the view, and then the freak-out comes again occasionally, but it all stays pretty manageable and you get your book done. I hope it works that way for you too.
    I’m actually a little jealous.

  403. I adore being that alone. I miss that alone. That’s upstate NY Adirondack park alone. You can do this ya know. Besides, your not really alone, you’ve got us. πŸ™‚

  404. Look through the 20 000 books for George MacDonald short stories. If you find them, read “The Wise Woman” (may also be called “The Lost Princess”). One part of that story has given me an invaluable tool for making it through the night when I have to be alone (as in, the only adult in the house). Essentially, make sure you have done your duty during the day (helps if doing the duty takes some physical exertion) so that you will sleep with a tired body and clean conscience at night. Plus, MacDonald is wonderful company when one feels vulnerable.

  405. To me it sounds like a wonderful gift. Right now I’m craving some alone time and six days would be just about perfect. You can eat what and when you want. You can stay up as late as you want, be silly, sing, yell, be messy or whatever. I love to skywatch in a place like that. If the quiet is really bugging you, turn on a radio or internet radio like someone else suggested. Having human sounds around has helped me when I felt it was too quiet and alone. Hopefully you’ll settle in soon and end up with lots of fodder for your writing.

  406. No way. I miss alone time, but when my husband travels and leaves me alone w/ 2 young kids, a dog and 2 cats, I stay up late just to be tired enough to sleep by myself!
    wine helps@

  407. I think I’d like to be alone for a little bit, but I think I’d need to have my cat with me… I’d say I’d bring one of the dogs, but they bark at anything and everything, so I think they’d freak me out even more. You can do this though πŸ™‚ I’m sure that the freaked out feeling will pass when you’ve gotten more used to the place. Good luck with you writing!!!

  408. I am alone like that and love it. I live in northern Ontario where the night is black and full of wild animals and I can’t imagine living any other way. I have lived here for many years and the only thing I wonder about is when I can no longer care for myself what will happen! Hopefully I’ll die before this happens!!!

  409. I have never been alone like that. I mean..I don’t even get to use the bathroom alone (remember those days? I have 4 kids….2 of which are 4 and 2. Alone sounds GREAT right about now) But the nighttime alone might get to me. I knowthat it gets a LOT LOT LOT darker when you are out in the booneys. You don’t really realize how much light polution we are use to. I think I would cover all the windows with sheets and blankets so that I could atleast NOT see the eyes staring back at me. That always freaked me out. The shades have to be down at night…and I don’t know if you have the misforutne of being in a cabin with no blinds. I saw….drink some more wine and grab that axe and keep it handy. You know….just in case πŸ™‚

  410. I grew up in the country as the oldest of 5 kids. When I was younger I had some issues with the really alone bit, since I’d so little practice. I’ve now reached a point that I love some occasional alone time, even though I have no kids.
    But it is a very different aloneness in the country than in the city. There’s the dark, and there’re the different sounds, though with all that snow you may be dealing with truely no sounds which is weird in itself. You’re experiencing the ‘trying to walk up the stairs starting with the other foot’ syndrome as it relates to your whole surroundings.
    Plus, every writing teacher I’ve had or writer I’ve talked to who’s done one of these away alone writing things says there is a definite learning curve to it. You have to inpose your own pattern on all of that time. Give it a couple of days. Then I bet you get a month’s worth of writing done and another month’s worth of ideas.
    And you’ll get your fill of Alone for a while.

  411. The alone-ness isn’t about being afraid. It’s about being away from the people/things around you that distract you from being truly aware of what’s available to you. You have the basic necessities: woodstove, food/water, lighting, a good chair, internet connection (yes, you can call for help quickly!).
    If there is any “fear” it’s that you are now 100% in charge of a) what you will do with your time and b) how you’ll feel about what you choose to spend your time on. Will you spend your time on “the right thing”? Will you spend it writing? Taking walks? Thinking? Wondering what’s going on at home? Learning what this new wonderfully solitary space feels like? Learning what to do in it?
    People who’ve gone to writer’s colonies (not me) feel this unease. After a bit, they realize that the time alone, and the choices they make, are OK! I bet that even if you didn’t get a word written you’d return home **ready to write**. Whatever you do with this time will probably be just what you need and I bet you write a lot.
    But if the opportunity arises again, taking the cat might be nice (as others have mentioned). We always feel better when we lavish some attention on another being, and if you talk when you write (I do) talking to the cat isn’t bad.

  412. I’d love to be that alone. The trick is not to start thinking about it. As soon as you start, as soon as you get that first trickle of childhood-steeped dread, you need to clamp right the hell down on it. Otherwise, there’s no going back, it’s irrational fear for the rest of the night.
    I grew up in the country, and now I live in the city. I get a lot of alone time, but it’s the quiet and the dark I miss. That true aloneness. That isolation. Where you are not thrown into perspective by other human beings – you are only yourself. By yourself.

  413. Dude, I was reading this thinking, “This is exactly how horror movies start.” But then I saw that you already knew that. . .First step: get rid of the chainsaw and axe, or at least put them somewhere helpful to *you.* Step two, guard the phone line and internet connection with everything you’ve got. I don’t know, maybe set up a call-check in time with Joe, so he knows if you don’t call every 6 hours or something that he should call from his cell as he’s driving the hell out there to rescue you? Something like that.

  414. that kind of alone sounds like heaven – enough time to cleanse the mind of clutter (the fearful images being part of that)… you’ll settle in.
    (either that or bring the chainsaw inside the house and lay it on the floor by the bed – grin)

  415. Being alone is not the same as feeling isolated. You were intimidated by the isolation of the country–and being isolated in a strange house.
    Perhaps, tonite will be better-you will feel more at home and will recognise the strange noises.
    I live in the woods outside a small college town(no streetlights)about 1/2 mile off the road. I love being alone in the house in the daytime-but after 10 years here,still need to get through the first night alone. After that,I’m good.

  416. All alone? You lucky girl!! My husband and I have been living in our motor home for about three years. I have to threaten him with bodily harm to go ride his Harley so I can have some alone time.
    Retirement is half as much money and twice as much husband…. Enjoy it my girl!

  417. You can do it. You just need a good novel that you can’t put down the first night, so you can fall asleep reading. Hang in there. By day 4 you’ll be begging not to come back.
    good luck.

  418. I would love to be there but not without my hubby. Just think of what you two could do without kids. You could also work b/c you could send Joe out to get supplies. Just gone long enough so when it starts to get dark he could be there to hold you and make things feel safe. I am sure they are. But just the two alone. mmmmmm. sounds heavenly.

  419. Stephanie, I have a cabin at the lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. It’s very isolated. I have 4 teenagers. It takes me a lot of practice to be that isolated when I go to the lake alone. A dog helps, and so does good karma. It takes a lot of practice to do this, but it is worth it. Enjoy your solitude. Shelly

  420. Sleep during the peaceful day, then at night write and knit and consume wine like a demon – those ax murderers will think you’re one of their own and leave you alone! (That is if you have good lights to see by…)

  421. I would like a compromise. I would like to be that alone during the day but I would need someone there at night.
    That Joe worked out that deal for you is a true testament to his love and respect for you. You are blessed to have him.

  422. My husband and I spent our six-day honeymoon at a remote cabin place kind of like that. An hour’s hard drive over terrain requiring 4WD to get out to the tiny nearby town, no phone service (cell or land line), darkdarkdark. I’d always thought I’d be a wilderness kind of girl, but by the first night there, I was completely freaked out; every little sound WAS an evil axe murderer — and not just the kind who will kill you and steal your stuff, but will have FUN with you…you know what I mean. I was okay during the daylight, but once the sun started to set…*shudder* Not exactly the ideal mind-set for a romantic honeymoon!
    Good luck with the adjustment period; you have good roots of bravery in your soul, as soon as they readjust to the new scenery, you’ll be fine.

  423. Back in ‘the day’, whatever that means, I used to go backpacking a lot by myself in a forsaken piece of wilderness back country on the Georgia/North Carolina border. The kind of wilderness area that is so big (and empty) that one could walk for days and days and days and never see another soul. It was stunningly beautiful and utterly fantastic and I miss it terribly. That said, I don’t think I have the chops for that any more. Not that I don’t still love the solitude, but………I don’t know, I think maybe I’ve gone chicken. Now that sort of thing just seems foolishly risky. That cabin, on the other hand…that would be just what the doctor ordered.
    For piece of mind, maybe the axe and chainsaws could just live under your bed for the duration?

  424. I think in that amount of time, you’ll probably have your writing completed & a cabin cozy knitted. Hang in there. (Next time, bring the cat.)

  425. Alone? You’re not really alone. You have 467 of us thinking good thoughts for you. Enjoy your time away.

  426. You just eloquently expressed all the icky feelings I used to have when I was babysitting, and the good TV shows were over, and the news was over, and there was really nothing else on (hey, it was the 70’s, people) and the utter dark and utter quiet would set in and *all* I could think of was chainsaws, axes, and dripping knives.
    Thanks for that!

  427. It’s the best feeling when you push through the fear and get to the other side. I love doing the alone thing, but sometimes still, the fear takes over. When that happens, one of my strategies is to think about the politics of a world where women have to live with the fear of attack. I get so mad at the whole patriarchal set up of it. This state of rage doesn’t actually help me sleep, but I’d rather be angry than scared. My other strategy, which is kind of logic-based and doesn’t do so well in managing irrational fear responses, but anyway … is that if something bad is going to happen, it’s going to happen whether I lie awake being scared about it or not, so I may as well just let it go. Fretting very rarely changes things. The fear is so disempowering – and I’m just betting a woman like you has lots of strategies for making herself feel powerful in other situations. You just have to work them now in this situation.
    And can I just say, wow, that place looks awesome! Hope you get to enjoy it like you should!

  428. That sounds like where I live, only I’m 15 miles to the closest store of any kind. I have to say that I love the silence and solitude and lack of any reminder of civilization except the twinkling of the occassional light from the valley below. Once in awhile I get to feeling isolated, but then that is why I read your blog:-)
    I think it just takes a little time to get used to it, especially since you are so used to the city. I bet when you go home, you will be amazed by how loud and bright everything is. I hope you have a great time and I can’t wait to see what you get knitted while you are there.

  429. Dear Stephanie, I just started graduate school after a long break. I’m taking classes with people thirty years younger than me. I feel exactly the same way that you describe. Thanks.

  430. I am far more terrified of the dark unknown outdoors than a city… I get nervous and tweaky walking to the dumpster in our apartment complex at night because it’s at the edge of the woods… and this is an apartment complex in a small city (though we are at the outskirts) and just off a major highway.

  431. The first night is always a little weird. But after that, absolute peaceful bliss. Its the only time when I actually want to get up to see the sun rise.

  432. I’m with Riin and the rest of the night sky lovers. Without the city’s light pollution, you can see millions of miles. Who cares about zombies when you have all those lovely stars to keep you company? Besides, I would think any zombie worth his salt wouldn’t go after such a low percentage play. A single woman 6K from anything? He’d burn that many calories just getting there.

  433. Is it even possible for you to read all these comments? Wow….anyways, your post touched a nerve because while I, too, am a mum of young kids and would kill for some alone time BUT….I, too, am terrified of the woods at night. City no problem, deep forest with nobody around – then I’m convinced that psycho killers lurk in the bushes. I would absolutely have to bring a dog and even then I’d probably be scared. Let us know if it gets easier after a few days…

  434. Actually, you pretty much described where I live, although I’d only have to hike about half a kilometer to find some other people. If they were home, which is never guaranteed. But think of this: we never, ever lock our doors. Ever.

  435. I think we’re polar opposites in terms of how we like our alone space. I am unused to city dwelling, and living in a dorm/apartment/townhouse/close to other people isn’t really my thang. Being at home, away from the city (where it gets dark and deer come and eat our flowers) is where I like things much better. Plus, to the best of my knowledge, we have no axe/chainsaw murderers lurking in my trees and bushes.
    I’d say you’re good to go. A little more wine couldn’t hurt, though…much.

  436. Yikes! I sympathize! My parents tried the “country” experience for the family for several years and I got to try out the “alone” experiment on a farm in western washington state. No thanks! I am soooo happy living 10 feet from my neighbor’s kitchen window now! LOL Good luck with your experiment! I hope it gets better. πŸ™‚

  437. I daydream about a house with no nothing and nobody but me in it. sigh.
    I used to be a city girl, but when you marry a farmer, that it the end of that. Gwyniver described my first exposure to real complete dark. Barn check during lambing. Once I allowed myself to see the beauty of the night and the stars I was hooked. Now I am not too sure I could live back “in town”.
    Hang in there Stephanie, you will be a convert.

  438. I would be totally freaked out too. I get freaked out enough when I’m alone at night at my parent’s house which is kind of isolated but at least i can see the neighbors from the window.

  439. wow, you really jumped into the deep end of the pool, didn’t you? no wonder your system is in shock…
    I agree with an earlier comment suggesting that you balance out the writing and knitting with a little snowshoeing. (At the very least, you can always pound out a big SOS in the snow…)

  440. That sounds just delightful. I love the way it gets really, really dark when you’re out in the country…no streetlights, houses, parking lots, security lights, whatever…you can see ginormous numbers of stars, aurora at this time of year, shooting stars…and quiet, blessed quiet. Enjoy your writing vacation!

  441. Dude, the real horror story is going to be the state of your house when you get home after six lonely but relatively clean days in the woods.
    Come to LA, the guest house is open and the weather has been freaking beautiful here. And we are good at staying out of peoples way around here if need be.

  442. Ah, this is heaven to me. You are soooo lucky. (Check out my rural retreat!)
    I lived alone here for 12 years, then husband and offspring arrived and we lived here for another 17. Now it is rentable by the day or week. Wonderful place.

  443. I LOVE that kind of alone–as long as I have a phone and an internet connection. Of course, I’ve lived alone (but in a pretty populated area) for almost 20 years now, so the contrast for me isn’t so vivid.
    When I first moved out on my own–no roomates or pets–I used to get the same kind of panicky at night for a while. Every noise scared me, and it was all I could do to muster up my courage to get up and investigate. And it still happens to a lesser extent sometimes when I travel. But, I’ve found that if I make myself familiar with my surroundings–where the doors are, the furniture is, the bathroom is, the light switches are, the baseball bat is… and I can get from point a to point b in total darkness without injury or property damage, I feel better. I’m a light sleeper (and I think most of us are when we’re in new surroundings), so if anyone comes in, it’s pretty likely I’ll wake up, and I figure if I know the house/hotel room/cabin well enough to get around in the dark, I’ll have an advantage over any axe-wielding intruder. The logic may be flawed, but it keeps me from losing it on the scarier nights.
    Of course, if you’re particularly on edge,I tend to think that a more effective combination for combatting jumpy nerves than “knitting and deer” would be “knitting and beer”. But maybe that’s just me.

  444. As much as I crave it sometimes, I know I couldn’t be alone for that long! But you must suffer for your craft. πŸ˜‰

  445. Holy Hell, you just brought back 18 years of nightmares when you had to thow out The Evil Dead. I still get the heebie-jeebies when someone walks near me with a freaking pencil!
    Must go watch the Sound of Music or Oklahoma or something to get that damn 1, 2 rhyme out of my head.

  446. On one hand I’m truly sorry you to go through that, on the other I’m glad to hear I’m not the only adult who has experienced anxiety attacks in the dark. I flat out panic (quite regularly), even in my own home, in my own room, with family all around. My heart rate goes through the roof and my chest tightens so I can’t breath. Typically I just let go and cry myself to sleep. I leave a light on too, that seems to help a lot.
    Other than that I totally dig the alone-ness! I don’t have a TV and I love it! Happy writing to you!

  447. Six years ago, I decided to take a vacation, but had no one to go with. I was on a pretty tight budget back than so I rented a remote cabin up in the Adirondacks. The closest cabin to me was just about a mile away. There was no electricity, running water or even a cell phone. There were however a few kerosene lamps and a gas stove.
    So I packed up my book, knitting and my dog and off I went. I was terrified. Not so much that anything would happen to me (My dog at the time was a rottweiler), but of actually being that isolated!
    That weekend in the woods changed my whole life. I figured if I could look that fear in the face and come out smiling, I could do anything. I quit my job, went back to school and opened a dog training business. All because of a weekend alone.

  448. I would love it…until it got dark. I’d absolutely have to have my dogs and a TV or radio for background noise would be a must.

  449. I get scared that way when I’m at home if my husband goes out of town, but then I remind myself that I have a big dog and she would bark if something was really wrong. So, next time, borrow someone’s dog, maybe?

  450. I love my husband and friends, but if I don’t get a couple Alone hours per day, I get anxious. I crave it. I’ve lived in isolated places, but must admit, nothing quite as isolated as yours. Good luck with the writing, and with being comfortable with yourself.

  451. I’m with you, the country is more scary than the city. At least in the city if you call for help, someone might hear you. In the country there are fewer beings to bother you, but nobody is within hearing distance, either.
    Just the same, what a loving thing your man did for you. You’ll get used to it with several days there, and it’s a chance to get lonely and bored and write. How cool is that?

  452. Alone? In a heartbeat! The thought of total peace and quiet would be,,,,, peace and quiet!
    Monsters and tree branches welcome to help skein yarn for projects anytime,, I’ll just put more tea up!

  453. I don’t think I’ve ever been that alone before… especially in recent years. Since having my girls and I can count on one hand the nights I’ve spent away from them. It’s quite pathetic really. I work as both a substitute teacher and at a daycare center though and even a quiet bath with no interruptions would be heavenly. Hope you accomplish all that you want to. Did you bring enough yarn, patterns, etc.? It would be terrible if you ran out of things to do.

  454. Oh, my dream is to live in a little cottage like that, away from everyone — as long as I have electricity, a good stove, and the internet. That’s all I need to be content. (and yes, some yarn, but that’s a given, isn’t it?)
    I think I could handle that kind of alone.

  455. *That* is the kind of alone that would completely freak me out. I get scared in our apartment in the city when it gets dark! And no, the bathtub is not a good axe murderer deterrant (sp?). …consider the words of Camper Van Beethoven: Why do axe murderers only attack when you’re partially nude or you’re taking a bath?
    You’ll be fine…..!

  456. Hang in there! I actually LOVE that kind of alone, but it IS kinda freaky at first. Noises and darkness and WHAT WAS THAT?!?!, yeah.
    Skip the bathtub. You just wake up feeling sheepish and with a crick in your neck. The sofa can be good, though – or you can curl up in the office chair so as to be not-in-the-expected-place in case the living dead DO decide to charge. And in the morning you can pretend you were merely trying to SAVE TIME by sleeping where you work. πŸ˜‰

  457. Stephanie, you are TOTALLY blowing my mental reliance on Canadians as resilient toughies who can handle anything! We Americans are paranoid enough — don’t make us doubt you, too!

  458. I do like to be alone. I cherish the days when Niels is at the other campus the whole day and I have the apartment to myself. But to be that alone…? I don’t know, I think I’d be ok during the day but freaked out at night.
    Have you thought about putting a circle of protection around the house. It’s relatively easy to do and does help ease the mind.

  459. Living in Alaska, I live in a 10 bedroom bunkhouse that is over 8,000 squarefeet of emptiness all winter. When my son would go to Nana’s for the weekend, it would be me and silence. And moose. And my cat (who would prey on my fear and STALK me at night in the dark). I got a dog. A really, really fierce dog. Okay, as fierce a SharPei will ever get. Which isnt very fierce. But maybe the ax murderer will chop him up first.
    I’m now married with five boys and two dogs. there is never a moment of silence. NEVER.

  460. yeah – when I house sit for friends I get the same thing or when my family is away.
    The day is great, the evening is so-so but the night? terror, panic, inability to breathe properly.
    As if having more than one person in a house is a protection!
    But I know just what you mean.
    It does seem to get easier the more nights you stay alone but…
    I’ll be thinking of you!
    (and your sister must have been older than you – the cheeky wonder)

  461. Like you I am rarely alone or left alone. Ocassionally there will be a day when I get the house a few hours to myself but they are so rare that I’m not very productive during that time because I’m so amazed that my thought stream is uninterrupted that my mind fills with so many possiblities and my time is up before I settle on a choice. So there is a part of me that thinks time alone in a cabin in the woods would be ideal, however I’m not sure that I wouldn’t wig out a bit after a day or two. I don’t think it odd talking to myself but it is a little weird when I think of something funny and I laugh out loud and there is no one to tell what was just now so funny. Still it’s an interesting experiment.

  462. Alone is a skill. Sounds like you know this, since you mentioned the learning curve. (I second the recommendation of Anne Morrow Lindberg’s Gifts From the Sea.) I think the different kinds of alone require somewhat different skills, too: There’s City Alone, which is what a lot of writers long for, where there are people all around but no one you know to distract you; and Travel Alone, which took me years to learn and became my favorite thing in life; and then you’ve got your Deep Country Alone Alone. I read a funny New York Times article years ago to the effect that while everyone seems to think it’s natural for country people to fear the big city, no one has any sympathy to spare for big city people who, just as naturally, fear the country. You’ll master the Big Alone, though! And when you have, there’ll be a superb essay in it for all of us to enjoy. Hang in there!

  463. Oh, and one other thing? If I were alone in a place with 20,000 books, I would never get a single word written. Ever.

  464. No matter how much you crave solitude, alone in an unfamiliar place is disarming.
    May I come along, and stay quietly in the other room, and knit and get some sleeping and knitting time that belongs to me and only me? And that way you’d feel a bit more secure with someone nearby, in the alone-together way that cats have of sharing aolitude with people?
    In a previous facet of my life, the part that involved being in good shape and having knees that worked, I did the wilderness guide/outdoors instructor thing and loved every minute of it. The number one thing to be aware of when you are way out in the woods is that EVERYTHING is MUCH louder, and sounds much bigger than you think it would be (a raccoon sounds enormous) … except for the things which move in complete silence, like bobcats and lynx, and sometimes deer, which suprise the living crap out of you. If you see a lynx in all that silence, take it as a spiritual gift and a very good omen.

  465. Oh, almost forgot. The bathtub is only good against tornadoes. Not zombies, under-the-bed monsters or Jack Nicholson with an axe.
    Actually I find strange bathrooms in strange places kinda creepy at night. Maybe it’s because I believed in the Toilet Monster when I was a kid. The one you woke up when you flushed?

  466. Being home nearly 24/7 by myself with two young children…and being bred a country girl…I would love that kind of alone. I just need my internet and I’m a happy camper! I resisted for a long time, but I’ve just put the kids in a very small home daycare 2x a week so I can salvage what’s left of my sanity (hubby is in Iraq). Only two days into that experiment and I’m concerned that I’ll never be able to go back to the way things were! 8 hours in my own home, totally alone…. Ommmmmm……

  467. I can totally appreciate this experience. We have a place deep in the woods with no running water, minimal electricity, and unreliable phone service.
    But hey, you’re not really afraid of the woods, are you? I’m always afraid that some drunk will come driving down the track to our little place in the middle of the night, and get the wrong idea about how to have some fun.
    That’s why I got two big guardian dogs who will protect me from harm. I sleep like a baby now when I’m up there alone, which is often and for long periods of time.

  468. No thanks. Being that alone is not for me. Don’t get me wrong that little cabin would be great with my hubby and my boys to keep me company. I have probably seen too many scary movies, but I don’t think I would last that long.

  469. Being alone in the wilderness requires information and skills. And a willingness to look into the deep dark well of self without distraction. And knitting.

  470. Grew up in the city, then lived in a busy suburb, I’ve always yearned for that kind of solitude. I treasure alone time until moving to a wonderfuli “active adult” community. Know what? statistically, women get a lot of alone time sometime between ages 65 and up. Plenty of it. I’m beginning to know that being alone with my hubby is plenty better.

  471. I guess its what you are used to, I live in a remote cottage in scotland, not quite as remote as that but nearly and there are times when I am alone up here. I actually like it. We stayed in the town for a while and I was far more worried about being left home alone then. If the door went I would freak out about it being somebody bad at the door come to get me (not helped by it once being some random drunk guy who got very annoyed when I wouldnt let him in, I still dont know why he though he was allowed in!!)

  472. No, No, No I would rather walk down a city street at midnight than be alone at night (or day) in the woods. I used to live on 50 acres with the nearest neighbour a mile away and I would run in the woods and hide if I saw or heard a car coming down the road. There is an illusion of safety on city streets. Kind of like the airplane vs. car “theory”. Give me a ride in a car anyday.

  473. I love to be alone. Yes, it can be a little scary sometimes, but, dude, it’s minus 30 out there. Who’s going to be about in that??? My dream is a cottage in the Scottish Highlands. Peace, tranquility, solitude and space to really, properly think and just “be.” Heaven.

  474. I’m an only child, and after my parents divorced, I moved in with my dad. My dad had to do a lot of traveling for work, and since I was too nerdy for him to worry about throwing parties or trashing the house, he’d leave me at home. For sometimes a week at a time. Did I mention I was also homeschooled?
    I wasn’t out in the middle of nowhere or anything, but I’d sometimes, if I was trying to catch up on my studies, go for days at a time without seeing a single human being. I agree that it’s most scary at night.

  475. You are such a city girl LOL!!!! I’m a country girl at heart and live on a side of a mountain. We have bear visiting our front yard and eating from our bird feeders. We have coyotes howling in the woods and the occasional bobcat makes it’s presence known in the middle of the night. We take our dark for granted at night around here and it can certainly creep you out. I’ve had that experience of walking into a room and having eyes staring at you through the window (it was a deer eating my Brussel Sprouts which in self defense I had planted next to my house like an ornamental planting, so just maybe I might get a few to eat and the deer wouldn’t.) We have a lot of city folk visit our neck of the woods. They buy second homes and come up here to go skiing and all. They aren’t used to the dark either and we can always tell when the neighbors are up because they have every light on both in and out of the house, and leave them on all night. Cracks me up. It just goes to show that even though we consider ourselves so modern and advanced, our primitive ancestors are still inside us, wanting to get closer to the fire and company. I don’t mind if it’s dark outside, I kind of like it, as long as I have light inside my house. I still like to get back to my fire LOL! What makes me love the dark outside is the moon and stars. I’m always amazed and humbled by the sheer beauty and number of stars. You can’t see them that well in the city at night, there’s just too much light. When it’s this cold it seems like there’s even more of them and that they’re closer. I have no idea why. I love solitude too. I get so much done and don’t have to worry about things like what’s for dinner and doing other people’s errands, laundry, etc. You know what I mean. I have to say though that even for me, the solitude lover that I am, 6 days might be a bit much. After about day 3, I’m so relaxed that I want a conjugal visit from my husband LOL! However, I bet that if you ask me about being alone for 6 days towards the end of September when I frantically dyeing my heart out for Rhinebeck, I’ll just about give my left kidney to be able to have 6 days to myself LOL! The good thing about being alone for that long is that you’re actually happy and glad to see your family. That’s always a nice thing. I hope you have a great time and get lots of knitting and writing done. Joe is definitely a sweet and thoughtful man to arrange this for you. He’s a definite keeper. Now you just have to figure out how to get him to visit for 8 hours one night, have your way with him, and then have him leave LOL!

  476. I call that ALONE!!!!!!!!!! Never realised there was such a thing and I lived on Morrland as child in the UK on the doorstep where all the children were murdered. Never out in the dark though. I would need to take the love of my life, that sort of alone would be great.

  477. I like my own company, but when OH has to be away for work and I’m totally alone, the late evening is the worst part. I leave a radio on in the bedroom, quite quietly. It has a sleep function, so I can set it to turn off after I have gone to sleep. It does get easier if he’s away for more than one night.
    I’m not sure I fancy your cabin after dark though. You should definitely get Joe to visit.

  478. I dunno, it looks pretty heavenly to me. Do the windows have coverings? I find that pulling the curtains does wonders for creating a feeling of protection. I could do it. Might be a tad creepy at, say, around 3:00 AM, but I’d love being way far out there in the woods in a cabin just like that. Of course, I used to live across from a huge cemetary, and never felt the least bit unnerved, so… could just be me.
    Maybe if you had a pet with you it would feel better. And leave the zombie vids at home!

  479. Can you borrow a dog? The bigger the better. I would like the situation you are in if I had my sister’s German Shepherd with me. The dog is a big lovable goof, but very scary looking and comes equipped with a deep bass bark.

  480. My parents own 11 acres of so of woodland, on which their house is located. There is a 1/4 mile lane to their home. I grew up there, and was sure that every rustle of the leaves outside my bedroom window was a thief, or worse. As I grew older, I grew a bit more comfortable, and could finally stay alone overnight (with some radio reinforcement).
    I get more nervous about walking in dark alleys at night! Try to enjoy!

  481. Hehehe… this made me think of the French song by Line Renaud: Ma cabane au Canada.
    I do like being alone, but with neighbours hehehe. That is too much ‘alone’ for me πŸ™‚
    Cheers Eva

  482. I live alone on 50 acres in the national forest. I love it. No neighbors to rub you raw. It’s like going home to a vacation house each night. I did, however, make curtains which eliminated that “what’s looking in from the dark” feeling. I remember the feeling you’re writing about.

  483. Welcome to being a city (of Toronto) girl. I have the same reaction to the big dark, big quiet of the country. Add in that I live on a busy street with a railway line behind my house and you can really be unnerved by the solitude. Love that jingle jangle of the city. (“New York is where I’d rather stay….”)

  484. What I wouldn’t pay for a week alone in a cabin in the woods, and I only have two teenagers and a husband. The willies are understandable. I still get that eerie feeling sometimes even just walking the dogs at night. Try playing a little music, something comforting and relaxing to keep the utter silence at bay late at night.
    God lord, now I’m going to have to bug everyone I know to see who has a cabin in the woods with internet connection and is willing to trade something I can do to lend it to me.

  485. What great timing! I’m going through the same thing myself, well, sans the writing. I’m house sitting in the middle of nowhere. It’s breathtaking during the day but once night falls, every little noise of the furnace sets off my imagination. I’ll admit it, I’m sleeping with the light on (and a kitty next to me).

  486. I have a place in the woods…..a bit more rustic. No telephone, internet, shower. I would be nervous if I was there alone at night. During the day I love the solitude.

  487. Free Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again is already available for pre-order on Amazon :^)

  488. I love being alone for a few hours, but that much alone would be too much for me! I’d love to be “alone” there with my other half, but not ALONE there.
    Is it too far away for Joe to come and stay the night with you?
    Good luck with the writing!

  489. I can’t even imagine what that kind of alone must feel like. Its been so long I can’t even remember. I think I’d take my chances with the deer and the chainsaws. Somehow that kind of fear doesn’t compare to the terrible two nightmare that is going on in our small 2 bedroom apartment. sigh.

  490. I have a 5 1/2 month old and I would LOVE to be that alone. I always have needed some alone time, but mainly because I really need to process everything that has happened over the past year, the baby, returning to work, the change in my relationship with my husband. But I do admit that the nights would creep me out at first. I would probably crank some music. Everyone knows music scares away the boogie man. Especially loud rockin music. πŸ˜‰

  491. As long as I know it’s temporary, yes! I might have to have music though–that and NPR. And maybe bring the power tools and axes into the house–under the bed, you know, just so I can keep an eye on them.
    I hope you’re having clear weather so you can see the night sky out there. The blanket of stars away from civilization is one of my favorite things about (briefly) abandoning civilization. And you have the city to return to plus a house-ful. No need to panic.
    So very glad to know there’ll be another book like my favorite of yours, my copy of which is lovingly dog-eared from being passed around among knitting friends. Yay!

  492. I would have to sleep all day and stay up all night! But as the mother of two teenage boys who are on spring break, who invited all their friends to play video games using the tv in the living room, and were hungry, and ate pizza while sitting on the new furniture, while playing music whose lyrics should not be heard in mixed company, used the bathroom (don’t ask), and didn’t leave until I kicked them out at midnight, it sounds like nirvana.

  493. I lived in a house that was quite a way from town. It was down a long, twisty road and looked over the most gorgeous scenery (Hood Canal, the Olympic Mts.). I was young, my daughter was a baby and my teacher husband was a coach and away on evenings quite often. As soon as the sun began to set I’d close the windows, fearful of what might be looking back. One morning while my husband and daughter still slept I got up (it was daylight) and I heard something outside. Bravery bolstered by daylight and him nearby, I yanked open the curtains and there on the lawn were three deer grazing. The elderly neighbors said if there was something fearful (cougar, bear) anywhere nearby the horse in the neighboring pasture would give lots of warning. I never closed the curtains again.

  494. Being alone is nourishing to the soul. Do you think you might be distracting yourself so that you won’t have to think? Accept the quiet. Stop the scary, doubting voice that is making up stories about zombies and axe murderers. Feel the calm, delicious solitude. (Ha-ha, can you tell my reading has consisted of A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle?)

  495. Solitude in the country? Is there a sign-up sheet? I’m a country mouse in a city, I miss the sticks at night. Get a good long look at the milky way for me!

  496. Alone in my house without the crazy people who live with me is one thing. Alone/alone in the woods is too much alone.

  497. Alone. For a week? In the woods? With QUIET???
    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Especially with a loaded MP3 player. And the dogs would be nice so I’d actually be talking to another living breathing being. Or would the deer at midnight count?

  498. Delurking here to comment, even though it’s post number 599! I would love it! Address please. I lived in the boondocks in Texas for a number of years and it does get very dark at night without the lights of the city or neighbors. Boy, can you see some awesome stars! I had horses and dogs and cats. Maybe a cat would be the sort of quite company you need. They really don’t require much, just some petting once in a while and a lap to sit on.

  499. That’s why people get up with the sun and go to bed soon after it sets – so they don’t have to deal with that dark. I’d love a week completely by myself – to just read & knit and be… bliss.

  500. Just from experience, living in the country and being somewhat afraid of the dark myself, when my husband goes away for a few days, I go to bed earlier and wake up earlier, thereby sleeping through most of the scary night, and taking advantage of the the less scary daylight hours. Also, I NEVER watch scary movies at ANY time (alone or with people). It will come back to haunt you at your most vulnerable moments. However I do LOVE to be alone for a week at the time (during the day). I could come to keep you company! (I’m very quiet…)

  501. How Sweet! After 6 days you may not want to go home. Instead you may be looking to purchase a few sheep and an Angora goat or 2 and move right in. The place sounds perfect. Imagine the sound of sheep and looking thru the window at them standing around outside the cute little shed you had built for them. Enjoy! ;>)

  502. I get alone-time tomorrow. When I take the car in for an oil change. I’ll bring my knitting, and that’s the best I get for alone-time. I’m so jealous of you!

  503. I’m with the other posters who suggest Joe as your nighttime companion/protector. But if that’s not possible, the phone has to be a comfort, and I think it will get easier as the week progresses.
    Just make sure you are using this time to WRITE, so you won’t go home and regret spending all that time thinking about aloneness instead of accomplishing our new book. (Yes, OUR book. You write it and we read it and love it. We’re a team.)Thanks for sticking out the scary time to bring us another winner.
    You can do it,
    ~ Dar

  504. I’m from the woods of NH, which are dark and lonely in the winter. And that’s exactly how I like it. I live in the Twin Cities now, and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think how much I’d like to be in my family’s house on the lake in dead of winter, listening to the ice moan and hearing the wind in the bare trees. And be there utterly alone, save for one or two of my dogs. Maybe all of my dogs (if they promised not to bark and be good doggies for a change). I crave the peace that the lake has in the winter.

  505. I live alone, but not THAT alone. My neighbors are usually downstairs, and I can see/hear the cars going by and people walking and such. And of course I have my cat. I think being THAT alone would scare me.

  506. Send me a plane ticket and I’ll keep you company. I won’t speak – I’ll just knit and provide alcoholic beverages while you write. πŸ™‚ My five year old had me wishing I could get a jail cell for relaxation this morning! This cabin sounds better.
    I also wield a mean axe when necessary.

  507. Stephanie, do you even HAVE axe murderers in Canada???
    I didn’t think so πŸ™‚ Enjoy your vacation, it looks beautiful up there!

  508. That kind of alone makes my heart sing, particularly if I can have a good dog with me. I wish my dog Kayo and I could borrow that cabin for a week.

  509. One month after 9/11 I found myself living alone for the very first time. My son was in college, etc. I also was a person totally afraid of everything that goes bump in the night and saw way too many horror movies growing up. They put those horrible images in our minds as well as the news on TV. But 9/11 changed me completly. I knew a number of people who died tragically that day – when I found myself fearing every little noise that first night sleeping by myself, I thought for a second about the true fear my dear friends felt that day and suddenly, my imagined fears vanished and I actually felt a little selfish to have had them in the first place. I have never feared being alone since that night. Soul searching and putting things i perspective is what comes out of being alone and not being distracted by the noisy world around us.
    YOur not alone Stephanie, over 600 people are talking to you!
    Good luck and I’ll see you in Annapolis, Maryland next month.

  510. Wow. I have to admit, Steph, I’d LOVE what you’re describing. Once upon a time I used take off into the woods with pack and/or canoe, just me, for a few days. Back when I was healthy enough to carry a canoe, anyway.
    Joe’s client doesn’t need to barter for say,… tech support or socks, does he? πŸ˜‰ Hang in there. if there’s one thing I know, it’s that cute little animals look and sound so much bigger in the dark (having been kept up all night by a field mouse sniffing around my tent once!) but they’re probably alot less trouble than your average drunk student stumbling around a University town.

  511. Hello: I live on a dirt road in Maine. I am used to my road being so dark but I do have neighbors. I had visitors once that were from New York City and they were frightened of the dark at night but when I recently went to Boston I was very afraid of the city with all the bustling and confusion.
    I hope you are finding peace. Nadine

  512. Remember how you took your kids on that grueling bike ride so they in later years when things get tough pull upon that experience and say “I KNOW I can!”. Well, guess what. You found that experience for yourself. You’ll get through it and be the stronger for it.
    If it the stuff in the shed bothers you, move it inside.
    My sister who lived in the woods always found it spooky to be in the city with all those “people”.
    Hope you are journalling was well.

  513. Once I was a year or two away from being a city girl I began to love being alone like you are now. For the first year, though, being in a house in the country with just me and a dog was absolutely freaky. I was sure that every creak of the very old house was a person sneaking about and that every noise outside was something big and scary coming to eat me. Now that I’m in the city again, I crave the absolute silence of being someplace like you are now. Take a deep breath and remember this: you are armed with intelligence and sharp pointy sticks; you’ll be fine. πŸ™‚

  514. I just scrolled thru the comments, Stephanie, looks to me like the Blog stayed with you all night….

  515. Oh man! What I wouldn’t give to be in your (snow) shoes. I’d even take the freezing freakin’ weather (and I’m a desert rat and it’s going to be 70 F today in New Mexico). My husband and kids have been home off and on for the last three weeks with various ailments. And when they’ve been well, I’ve been sick. I keep thinking Christmas break is over, but it never is.
    The opportunity to get actual work done is making me wish I was anywhere but here. If you think there’s an axe murderer in the shed, it’s probably just me…a knitting/writing stalker in desperate need of some alone time!
    P.S. I can help you cure that Evil Dead issue. I love that movie (makes me laugh even) and I know the book that reveals all of the movies ‘tricks’.

  516. That looks like a lovely spot to me! I’m a single mother to a constantly on the go boy and we also have only one bathroom. Not a bad ratio compared to you, but there was a period of about 5 months when we shared it with my friend and her two children and somedays I think it’s amazing any of us survived that with as much of our mental state intact. That was a lot of people in a 2 bedroom townhouse! I do admit to finding it overwhelming at times to be the SOLE person responsible for my son 24/7 and find myself craving more space. If it weren’t for him, I’d already be living in a setting like the one you describe! Full-time I’d need to be closer to a grocery store and library but other than that, perfect! A big flashlight with some heft to it (like a maglight) is enough to keep *most* of the bogeymen at bay for me!
    Hope the writing takes over enough to keep your mind occupied πŸ˜‰

  517. I would imagine the very scariest thing is……you have no accuses for getting it done. So girlfriend……..getter done. Done like dinner.
    Dinner for one….. wow. Just one. Wow.

  518. I grew up in a small town in the woods but after having lived in the city for so long I am terrified of being in the woods. In fact my husband who grew up in Toronto finds it hilarious that I practically have a breakdown the first night at the cottage. I’m particularily afraid of bears but don’t worry it’s winter so they’d all be hibernating (I think). Like you, it’s more the axe murderers I’m worried about. Just try not to be aware of every littls noise (easy for me to say) or you’ll go nuts.

  519. I have to say, I was getting a little scared just reading that. I like my own space, but I am very easily spooked, and a lone cabin in the woods just brings to mind all of the horror films I’ve ever seen (which isn’t many – see ‘easily spooked’). Good luck with the writing all the same, it does sound like even such extreme measures may be necessary!

  520. I would like to try to be that alone.
    I am spending my first 2 nights alone in a hotel this weekend… it’s a start, right?
    Happy alone-ing… glad you have wine!

  521. I also write best when alone, and I also have trouble finding myself in that situation, with a full-time job and a boyfriend who works almost the same hours as I do. We also live in a condo, so there aren’t enough rooms for me to barricade myself into one ;), and there’s always *something* that needs to be done when we’re not working…
    I’d love to be that alone and to have that time to write. I’d bring some candles and my candlestick holder and run around in vintage clothing, pretending I could hear the wind whistling over the moor … πŸ˜‰

  522. Hey Stephanie
    We moved to Manitoulin Island and my set-up looks very similar to your cabin I even recognize that woodstove. When I am here alone the first nights I am a bit anxious… the wolves howling, the wind, worrying about the fire.. Also I have had similar feelings on meditation retreats (with people) when one has severely reduced external stimuli …that no conversation, no TV, no lights and outside hustle.. nothing but your OWN thoughts.. that feeling of being alone may be
    replaced by a feeling on accomplishment soon.. I found Day 2 is usually the worst in terms of the pull to return to the normal rhythms of one’s life and then one nestles in and it is very peaceful .. Hang in there..

  523. I would LOVE to be alone, and in the dark, and I’m willing to be scared stiff to do it.
    The only difference between being alone in your own house for 5 or 10 hours, and being alone in someone else’s house for a week is that you don’t have to do their laundry (do you?), or their dishes or otherwise cook dinner for your one bottomless pit for a stomach teenaged son.
    Are you kidding?! Alone in the woods with an axe murderer lurking behind every tree should be more scared of interrupting my alone time than I would be of him. With a fireplace poker and my peri-menopause, who could be safer alone than me?
    One week of alone time can make you humble, give you some perspective and make you realize that you have a right to some peace. You should try to enjoy it.

  524. be careful what you wish for… (they say)
    Haven’t read any of comments, so I suppose I’m not the first to say it.

  525. I like to be alone, but not at night. Not even in my own home, in my own bed, in the city.
    I have been tossing the idea around in my head to do something like you’re doing though – comandeering my parents’ little cabin in New Hampshire for a week of alone to really focus in on some of the things I’m working on, but never get to really tackle in the random spare hour here or there between work and classes and home life. I think I’ll wait to see if you get eaten by an axe murderer first. πŸ˜‰

  526. I love being alone. I wish I had more alone time too. There is something wonderful when everyone is out of the house and it’s peaceful and quiet. Someday I would love to have a little cottage on a lake or on the ocean up in Maine. I could be quite happy to be snowbound, with plenty of firewood, groceries, and of course, my stash!

  527. Despite the fact that I live alone with three cats, that is too too alone. Call Joe and have him come get you… That is just too much solitude for someone unless they are used to it.

  528. Stephanie, darling, I have two toddlers, and no vehicle during the day. We currently have temperatures below 10 degrees, so there’s no possibility of going outside. I can’t even use the bathroom alone, as the door has a cat flap. As I sit on the toilet, little faces poke through the cat flap and exclaim, “Mommy, are you making stinky’s? Ewwww, Mommy!”. In the middle of the night, just when I think that I’m alone, a cold little hand creeps under the covers and next thing I know there’s a wiggly little person sleeping in bed with me (and no, that’s not my hubby, ha ha!).
    Scared of the dark and the wood? I’d most likely be that way, too. However, I’m much more frightened of my kids.
    (Hee hee, life isn’t really all that terrible, but sometimes I would kill for some “alone” time!)

  529. I LOVE being alone. But, if you are feeling like a ninny – bring the axe and chainsaw into the house. This, of course, will make you a woman to be reckoned with. Put THEM into the bathtub so that you don’t trip on them and have to deal with the whole tetanus/ gangrene thing- which is another horror movie all together.
    PS – You HAVE wine, so you don’t actually have to leave, right?

  530. I love alone time, but I’m not so good at keeping the paranoia at bay. I wrote about your post at my blog because axe murderer hysteria is something I can relate to.

  531. Being alone is almost as necessary to me as food and water. I know from reading your blog that you also crave/need some alone time regularly.
    I haven’t read all the comments, so I don’t know if someone else suggested this. I’m wondering if your first night’s experience was not really fear of being alone at night, but simply the reaction to hearing strange sounds (or strange lack of sounds) when you’re trying to aleep. I’ve experienced that phenomenon in many different settings, and no matter what kind of new setting it is, it always makes me jumpy and nervous until the new circumstances become familiar, so my sleeping mind can dismiss them without waking me up.
    I hope you brought some wine with you for a little nightcap, and please let yourself relax into the blessed solitude.

  532. I’ve done my fair share of house-sitting jobs in remote places. A friend of mine christened it No One Can Hear You Scream Country. The first couple of nights are always like that, even if you grow up in the woods. The worst experience was when I was out in the middle of nowhere and there was fire just over the hill. It was night. The power went out. If I had turned around and looked out the window, I would have seen the faint glow of flames beyond the crest of the hill, but no, I thought for sure – ax murderer. I feel down the stairs looking for a flashlight. I couldn’t find my keys. When a conscientious neighbor drove up to tell me the area was being evacuated, I ran out into the driveway in my pajamas, the biggest kitchen knife I could find in one hand and a candle in the other. I was the thing from a horror movie.Enjoy the quiet while you’ve got it. Don’t go hiking with your lucky ham strapped to your back and you’ll be fine.

  533. I could feel the fear as you described the bunk bed scenario. I never used to be afraid to be alone…
    Your husband is amazing. That is such a thoughtful gift.

  534. I think I would LOVE six days in your cabin! It sounds like absolute perfection! Although, I wonder, if like you, I would start worrying about axe murderers.
    Although, the no music thing? I think that would kill me more than the fear of axe murders.

  535. On one hand I am green with envy. I have had a very hard time adjusting to writing with babes and no longer knowing “when” I get the hour and if that hour will even last.
    On the other hand, I’d find night a challenge. It would be at that point that I’d want my cabin to include:
    1 – Very large dog.
    I hope you get plenty of rest, writing and knitting done.

  536. Oh, I feel for you! And you are right – being alone in the woods is a learning curve.
    I grew up in the country, but moved to Hogtown for a while. After a few days of aclimitizing to the city life (no, not every person I passed was going to mug me!) I got used to the noise and light. THEN – I moved to northern Ontario, in the woods, in staffhousing ALONE, in a provincial park no less. By woods I mean 30KM from anyone, staff-house had no locks, telephone was on the other side of the building, no internet! Eek! I found an old golf-club and kept it by my bed and locked my bedroom door, and watched playoff games via bunny-ears. After 3 nights, I was fine and slept like a baby (still got nervous looking out the window – thank goodness for curtains!) By the time other staff moved in, I was pining for my aloneness. Now, after living in Ottawa, I go home to my parents and have a few moments of panic if I have to take something to the car in the pitch black. Then I remember my park days and all is good.
    Try the golf-club trick – surprisingly comforting! Hope you get enough rest at night to let you write and knit to your heart’s content!

  537. Sounds like pure heaven to me. I would feel better though with my three large dogs.
    Enjoy your time. It is my wish to live in the middle of the woods someday.

  538. Being that alone can make you crazy, but sometimes it is good. I feel that way when I go walking in the woods. I am not sure if it works in Canada but it f you want some music try http://www.pandora.com I say it might not work cause of copyright issues. But you tell them a favorite song or artist and they make a station and you tell them if you like the music. works great for classical stuff too.~enjoy the rest.

  539. Wow.
    That’s alone. You’ve made me re-think my desire to be alone.
    I think I could do that if I had a car, so I’d KNOW I could get out whenever I wanted to.
    And music. I’d have to have music..
    And maybe planned encounters with others … once a day. Lunch perhaps. or dinner.
    And a cat.
    Or maybe a big loyal dog.
    Why is my house so quiet? Is it always this quiet when the kids are at school? Maybe I should call someone.

  540. Oh, lucky you! That’s wonderful. Yes, I’ve been that alone. I spent a month once on a solitary writing retreat in a cabin on a nature preserve. I got *so* much done. It was fabulous. And yes, it was very, very dark at night.

  541. You’ll never read all these comments. I’ll bet these 6 days are the hardest writing days you’ll ever have. Somehow, we always think we could produce so much more if we had solitude in which to do it and somehow, we just end up frittering it away. However, I do hope you are the exception. I’m not.

  542. I crave that kind of alone. That kind of alone is healing, it is inspiring and it forces you to listen to you. I am jealous of your alone.
    That said, I get the exact same way. If I had that kind of alone, it would involve locked doors, a large stick and a very jumpy Heather. Don’t worry though Steph, we’re all here with you. And remember, the smart one never dies in the horror flicks. <3

  543. I agree with the “big dogs” comment. When I have my dog, I just don’t feel that alone. Yet, he can’t talk! Or whine….or complain….or…you get the picture. lol

  544. It’s been so long since I’ve been alone with my thoughts, I don’t think I’d recognize them as my own. (I’d probably think the external New York city noise has transformed into voices in my head). Incidentally, your husband can’t really be that thoughtful…can he? Is he a human male? (although, I wouldn’t care if he’s part alien, part hedgehog if he’s that considerate. sigh)

  545. I just thought of something else — I find the Alone Dark in winter to be more peaceful than summer. In the summer I don’t mind being alone or it being dark, but I still don’t like walking my dog up the dirt road in the dark. In the winter I spend a lot more time outside in the dark (horses to look after) and it doesn’t bother me in the least. All I can think of is that it’s because there IS a lot more dark in winter and one just becomes accustomed to it, while in the summer it’s much more light and when it gets dark it means it’s time to go in to bed.
    Just a sidenote to the conversation here.

  546. The summer after my first year of college I spent the summer living alone in my grandparents’ cottage on a tiny pond in a tiny town in Maine. It seemed like a really good idea at the time (close to the resort where I was working and the kind of freedom most 18-year-olds only dream of), but the nights were lonely, and quiet, and very, very dark.
    Made me regret spending the previous summer with my best friend watching all the horror movies the local video store had available.
    Good luck with the writing. And enjoy — you’ll probably be shocked how noisy and bright the city is when you get home.

  547. You just need a dog. A big one! Then it would have been perfect. Some one to snuggle with and keep the boogie man away but who wouldn’t demand your undivided attention (too much of the time!)
    PS. If you don’t finish out your week there I’ll volunteer!

  548. I know that ultra-quiet alone thing. I quite enjoy it. We live in a society with so much visual and auditory input constantly that the brain doesn’t get to “do its own thing”. Do take the time to enjoy this truly wonderful time isolated from an overstimulated environment. What a fantastic gift you have been given. It’s quite liberating and you should find that your writing just pours out.

  549. It gets easier, don’t worry. If you can tolerate the cold in the wee hours of the night, being outside as the sun first comes up, before you can see it and the sky just starts to turn blue (blue dawn, we call it), is one of the best ways to cure ‘alone in the woods’ anxiety. You’ll hear a lot of the outdoor noises that are very spooky in the pitch dark, and as the light comes you’ll start to realize what they are and where they’re coming from. It’ll give you a better sense of your surroundings the following night, and brings a remarkable sense of ease. Also, a small fire helps a lot.
    Good luck!

  550. One of the best vacations I ever had was 3 years ago when I spent 3 days in a cabin that had no electricity, no running water, not even a road to get to it, you have to get there in a boat. There was no one but me and my dog and it was wonderful. I grew up in a pretty remote location, so the whole dark thing doesn’t bother me, I get more creeped out when I’m alone here in the city at night. I hope I get a chance to go back and do it again!

  551. Oh YEAH, as much as I love my husband, daughter, and friends, I’d love to be that alone for awhile! I’d just bring my cat, and make sure my provisions included plenty of wine and chocolate. I think my first night alone would be the hardest, but after that I know I’d be fine. You have a solidly built cabin between you and the rest of the world. Close the curtains at night and relax by the fire with a glass of wine and knit!

  552. jeez, you are not alone with all these comments!!!! i had to scroll down to the center of the earth to leave mine!!!
    what i wanted to say was… i did this alone thing once. went away for 6 days one month. πŸ™‚
    (time does stand still doesn’t it!)
    besides the book…
    stick with it…you’ll be glad you did, there is no other experience like it.

  553. you are living my fantasy…relax and enjoy it!! i have 2 bathrooms, but 3 sons and 3 other boys who have lived with us off and on for several years…my house throbs with testosterone and i fantasize about a cabin in the woods…and woods…any cabin…any time of the year!!! and a maniac would truly have to be the maniac of all maniacs to hike through the bitter wilderness just to get little ol’ you!!!! by day 4 you’ll be regretting that you have to go back to your real life!!! thanks for sharing..especially the photos so the rest of us can live vicariously through you!!!

  554. I like to dream about being so alone, but I’d probably be scared at night too! Every little creak of the house would have me pulling the covers over my head. And when I was a kid, I didn’t have a bunk bed, but I’d turn my light off and run and jump onto my bed so that whatever was under the bed couldn’t grab my ankle!
    I think I’d survive as long as I had enough firewood, knitting and food.

  555. I’d be pretty freaked out at night. Can I have a dog and still be considered alone? I’d feel more comfortable with a dog.

  556. With my crazy life, two girls ages 3 and 4, a husband, 2 cats and full time job I would give just about anything to be as alone as you are right now. It would be 6 days of heaven.
    I haven’t been truly alone in at least 4 years. Enjoy it, Steph.

  557. I’m so jealous. And while I’d be terrified much the same as soon as the sun went down, I’d still love it (after a few calming alcoholic beverages!)
    The quiet and “alone-ness” is what keeps me up until 2AM sometimes. There are just some nights after a long day of parenting a noisy chaotic bunch when I make myself stay up, just to bask (and yawn) in the quiet.

  558. I’d been in the same boat with you. I actually was thinking at the beginning of the post oh that sounds so nice. I was getting jealous and then I read about the dark in the middle of the woods and I thought….yeah not so much. πŸ™‚ Good luck.

  559. I would hate it. I don’t even like the “blissful” idea of going out and living in the country. Way more wackos out there than here in my little city.
    We’re here for you, though. Want me to email my cell #, just in case? (Fat lot of good I could do, down here in California, but anyway.)

  560. I would be a bundle of nerves the first night, and then sleep like a rock for the other five. And would get so much done!
    You lucky girl…

  561. Where I live is almost like that. Now I can’t sleep in cities with all those streetlights shining all the time, and find myself muttering, “What, are all these people afraid of the *dark*?”
    Guess they are!

  562. You aren’t truly along… You have all of us faithful with you, albeit through a little cable that connects to the wall and then goes outside… and then meets up with other cables and someone somewhere is always awake with you… The challenge is finding that someone! Enjoy your solitude.. I remember when I was single and bought my first house. There were no neighbors upstairs or downstairs… it took a couple of days to get used to that.

  563. I live alone in an old farmhouse in the country (the township I live in has 641 people – last time they counted…). I am almost never scared. But, when I do get scared, I get REALLY scared! I usually go out to the barn to put the horses to bed at around 9:30 PM in winter or 11PM in summer. Once in a while I will get a creepy feeling and boy do I get back in the house fast. I work from home too. So I guess I am OK with solitude!

  564. I would HATE that!!!! I’m creeped out now just thinking about it.
    And that bunk bed thing? I had that in spades. But mine was the basement stairs. Both sides of our basement stairs were open, to the basement! where the light switch was at the BOTTOM! Still wigs me out when I go home to my Mom’s and have to go down there.

  565. Now I have some first hand knowledge of this since I just moved out of the city.
    Of course you notice how dark it is right away. But you also notice the cycles of the moon and how bright night is when the moon’s shining on snow.
    And I’m alone in these woods for some time every day. (Alone with four cats, 2 jack rabbits, a possum, numerous coyotes and the odd deer. Alone is a relative term.)
    I anticipated being afraid before I actually moved but really, I am never afraid.
    Of course, it’s a five minute drive to town and I never never watch those sort of movies, ever ever.

  566. Since you mention hiking to town, does that mean that you have no vehicle? I’d call home to have Joe deliver a pizza…one day early.
    Don’t forget to include the cabin in your essays.

  567. I would love that! Where I grew up we didn’t have street lights (or sidewalks) so it was pretty dark, but we didn’t have big trees. When we went to visit my grandma, there were a couple street lights but a very dark forest of Monterey Pines and Redwoods behind the house – that freaked me right out. But then I moved up there and lived amongst the Redwoods (not like a tree person mind) and now I totally miss all that dark and forest. Enjoy it! Just don’t write your manifesto – I think that’s what happens when people go into the woods to write by themselves.

  568. As a woman who grew up in the country in Ohio, I adore this kind of alone. My hometown is pretty small and we had to drive pretty far to get to the grocery store (further for clothing stores). I loved how quiet it would get just after a snow. Everything was so muffled and still and beautiful. Miles of shining glittering white. I also loved exploring in the woods. One thing that always freaked me out and still does to this day is corn. Corn fields at night are freaking scary. The way it rustles and moves, it almost seems alive. It is also extremely easy to get disoriented and lost in such a field. I once took a dare to go into a cornfield after dark and got lost and sat down and had a good cry for a while. I eventually found my way out by following a row and ending up quite far from my home but I won’t ever forget the terror. My advice is to enjoy the stillness and quiet and definitely check out the stars. That darkness that you mentioned gives you an amazing chance to see more stars than you could ever see near a city. I live by San Francisco now and I miss it. Can we trade? hehe

  569. I have been where you are but unfotunately got scared out of my wits about 3 times a day by the old guy who lived a mile down the road and kept coming to check that I was okay.
    I also remember the 3 teenagers/one bathroom with the added twist that my husband works shift work. I took a volunteer postition on a board that met in the city – 640km from here – which I then had to drive to and from 5 times/year. 7 to 8 hours, alone in a car, no one complaining about the music you are listening to, no one can reach you (when I started, mobiles were a city thing and even now there are huge no service areas on the drive). I use to come back with all kinds of wonderful ideas, much to the chagrin of the people I had to deal with here.

  570. Let’s see – 6 days, 20K books, internet, wood stove, computer and knitting and no one to walk, wash for, clean litterbox of, etc.? Freaking heaven. And you have wine too?

  571. My family laughs at me because I DO NOT like to be alone. Hate it! Avoid it! I have no children so maybe if I did I’d have an entirely different take on alone-time. Sometimes I like quiet time but all in all I prefer talking and listening, you know, conversation.

  572. You’ll be fine! What will be interesting is just how noisy “quiet times” will be when you get home. Enjoy!

  573. I love to go camping alone (with my dog), so I think that as long as Attie could come along, I would like to do what you are doing. I think the darkness of the night would be one of the selling points. I would have to bring my telescope; there’s so much to see in the sky away from the city.
    Being there in winter has the added charm of being insect-free. Enjoy!

  574. I don’t think I’ve ever been that alone. Even when I lived in my condo by myself, it was still, you know, attached to others. I don’t have any kids, so my house is usually fairly quiet and peaceful…I like to hear a little life around me when I write. Human life. Not only deer! Enjoy your time.

  575. Oh my gosh, yes I would be there in a heartbeat! My husband and I have a teeny cabin in a resort area in northeast Wisconsin. We have neighbors nearby, but the majority of the time no one is there. Last summer was our first summer ownership and since I am a teacher and have my summers off, I spent a ton of time up there alone. It was wonderful. I even spent a week up there by myself last Easter and we did not have running water yet. As long as I have plenty of knitting, lots of books, plenty of liquid refreshments and the whole six seasons of the Sopranos to watch, I am set. Oh, did mention plenty of knitting???? Just enjoy it. As many others said, you will not want to go home when the time is up. I cannot wait to spend my time at my little cabin as soon as this way too long winter is over here in Wisconsin!

  576. Stephanie,
    I think you will find that it gets better as time goes on. By the end of the 6 days, you will be ready to go home, will have written more than you expected, and yet will have had an opportunity to learn more about YOU than you ever thought you would know.
    In my 30s and 40s, I used to think that I would never want to be alone, even for one night. Now, as a approach the big 6-O, I find I savor every opportunity to travel on my own, spend one or more nights at home, or even have a day alone. These are the days when I get back to my true “me.” They are what keep me going, long after the kids/dogs/husbands are gone.
    Enjoy your week of discovery!

  577. I once spent a week alone at a campground in the Sierras in my son’s travel trailer. The only company I had was my dog, my knitting, my laptop, some books and CDs and lots of trees (real trees, that’s something when you live in the high desert). I left three teen-aged grandchildren at home; the silence and no TV was lovely. It was summer and I took long walks in the woods. A week wasn’t long enough. Enjoy it while you can; you’ll miss it next week.

  578. It sounds wonderful – I would jump at the chance to have that much alone time but then I always did love going camping in the middle of Dartmoor and the Peak District to get that feeling of huge space and stary darkness – just reading about it is cool water for the soul – enjoy your tranquility πŸ™‚

  579. Dude I know exactly what you mean. My goal in life is to be a hermit, but I feel the exact same way you do at night in the wilderness and perhaps that will be the downfall of my plan. I could spend forever out there so long as the sun never went down. I grew up in the woods, I’m not afraid of them, but I never realized how much civilization is a security blanket for me.
    When I’m alone at night in the city my fears are at least tangible – I’m going to be stabbed, raped, mugged, killed, etc. and I know how to deal with that, for the most part – but when there isn’t anyone else around, you’re left alone with all the fears your brain can possibly come up with (and I suspect that you are like me in that when I have nothing else to worry about, I can get really, really creative). The other thing I somehow always forget is that other living creatures (that aren’t Ted Bundy) live in the woods, and they have every right to make eerie cracking noises at night.
    I love being alone, but not at night.

  580. Since we aren’t getting multiple blog posts per day from you, I can only surmise you’re either writing and knitting a lot or you’ve gone to the wood shed one too many times to check on the status of the tools and found something amiss.
    :^o

  581. I don’t like to be alone, and definitely never THAT alone. Totally don’t blame you for triple checking the locks. Next step for me would have been to put on music to drown out the sound of quiet. It can be DEAFENING.

  582. Oh my gosh! This sounds wonderful and yes I agree with you scary at the same time… I would be caught up in it too for the first 8 – 10 hours –how wonderful it would be to do what you want, when you want to with out any interruptions. Of course, when things settled and I realized that I was alone –I probably would have the exam same thoughts:)
    It does look beautiful though –enjoy it:) Hey do yo have a car where you can drive into town? Or do you really have to walk there?
    Oh and by the way… The Essays book your first one is my all time favorite book of yours! I remember reading it slowly –one to two stories a night so that I could savor it. It made me laugh and cry and brought own many many feelings…

  583. I wish I could spend several days alone in a winter paradise like this one. Looks like a good place for yoga too. We are all so different though—hope you come to enjoy it. Living just north of New Orleans there’s not much chance of such an experience; our woodsy retreats usually come with an abundance of mosquitos and maybe an alligator. When I want to take my mind off something frightening or unpleasant,I knit something complex and beautiful.

  584. No, I would not be that alone. This is why I live in Brooklyn–you can be “alone” but you’re never really that far from people “just in case.”
    I, too, would be freaked by that much darkness.
    Sounds like you’re getting work done, though, which is good. I think that I would need to start going to bed waaaaay early, in order to minimize the dark time.

  585. It’s my dream situation! I’m jealous.
    I think it’s unnerving because noise, kids, people and life are very justifiable distractions from our “inner life”. When those distractions are gone – it’s like having to face yourself in the mirror – and it can be scary.
    It’s less about writing than it is about suddenly having all these inner thoughts come bubbling to the surface – stuff you haven’t had the time to ponder before. That’s how I feel when I get time alone…

  586. Partner (basically my husband), 3 kids, 15 girl, 11 girl, 3 boy, no housekeeper. Please give me solitude.

  587. OH, right now what I wouldn’t give to have something to trade with someone who owns such a cabin. Enjoy…I am green with envy.

  588. I would LOVE it. I think you are right about the learning curve. You are going to do some very good writing, after you get over the weirded-out piece.

  589. I would like it, I think. Especially since there is internet access! I think it’s what you’re used to–someone who lives in a tiny hamlet in the woods would be petrified at walking through that same dark alley in Toronto that doesn’t scare you a bit.
    Loved “listened to the ice”, btw–that’s something I haven’t thought of since I lived on a lake in Minnesota, lo these many years ago, but it instantly came to my mind.

  590. I’ve done this. and the same kind of thing happened to me.
    I go to this place. http://www.massretreats.com/temenos.html
    it’s not quite as alone, but it is less in communication with the outside world, which would work a little less for you.
    There are four cabins to rent or retreat there, that are actually pretty close together (<1 mile). with no running water, or electricity. just outhouses and a central well with a pump, a gas element at each.
    but at night? I can have the same sort of experience. I can get pretty paranoid and freaked, and just plain terrified! but at the same time, it’s great to be out there, and alone, and jsut have *solitary time*
    i have to say, i like the idea of it with some internet and a bathtub. πŸ™‚

  591. I love to be alone—– it just doesn’t happen much anymore, not with any nice long blocks of lovely solitude anyway.
    The thing with aloneness is not so much the dark, or the quiet, or the inevitability that nothing will happen unless you make it so. I think the Big Deal is that like it or not you have to be with yourself, know yourself, face your dreams and fight your demons.
    Enjoy your time. Sink in, auger down—– find out something new and perhaps too personal to share.

  592. I love to be alone. I used to love to go solo camping until I read Stephen King’s The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. But I would TOTALLY love being alone in a cabin in the woods. Nice, indoors, where little animals don’t nibble at the food you’re sleeping with to keep it from freezing. But, no iPod? Not even music on your Mac? That’s harsh.

  593. I totally understand both sides. 1.) the need for being alone and 2.) the major freak out once you are alone.
    My husband and I have been together for 8 years now, 5 of them married and we have only been apart for about 1 whole weekend when he went out of town to a car race. I was all excited, looking forward to it for weeks, had all the alone time planned out. As soon as the sun went down I started to hear noises, i became nervous and my imagination ran wild to where i stayed up till i could stay up no more…. Now, he’s planning a week long bike ride that I have opted out of and I am again planning ahead all the fun things i’m going to do, a girls knit night will be ideal, at least we’ll all have our needles for protection should the boogy man come out from under teh bed! I envy you your time alone in the woods, but I also understand that the night time can be a bit too lonely!!

  594. Oh, I would LOVE to be alone. But I have a two-year-old and a one-year-old, so I don’t even get to go to the bathroom alone.
    What a sweet thing for Joe to trade for!

  595. This is best done in the company of a dog.
    Someone to lie by the fire, make you get outside for some fresh air and exercise (even at those temps, it helps keep the brain cells firing), will bark like crazy if the axe murder is in the vicinity, but doesn’t need you to entertain him and is perfectly happy to eat kibble and snooze.
    You needed to borrow a dog.

  596. Oh, I know that feeling well! I live in the city, in an apartment building with a few neighbors. When ever you hear an odd noise, you know it’s just the neighbors next door or down the street doing whatever. When you’re out in the middle of no where like that there’s NO ONE to blame those little noises on. I housesat for my parents out in the country a few years ago and the nights were the worst. I was up at 2 am convinced the Blair Witch was out in the woods, clacking sticks together making those little creepy symbols. No more fake documentaries for me.

  597. Hmmm – in my opinion, you did it backwards. You should have sent Joe & the girls out in the woods and you stayed home.
    That’s my dream vacation, anyway. Send hubby, the teen and the dog somewhere else and unplug the phone…even if just for a couple of days

  598. When I was doing the stay-at-home mom thing and didn’t get enough interaction with people, I got suicidal. When I started working full-time and never got the house to myself, or alone time, I got homicidal. I’ve since gotten better about carving out some alone time.
    I need some balance between the two, but if there’s a beginning and an end-time to the alone time, I would love it. The cold would freak me out a little, though–I’ve never been anywhere where the safe amount of time to be outside was measured in minutes. I would probably not venture outside of earshot of the house. But to only have to take care of myself for six days? Whee!
    One of my happiest days recently was when my husband, son, and dad went fishing, and I was in a hotel room alone all day with cable television and a little bit of work, reading material, and knitting stuff. It was only for about six hours but it was a little slice of heaven. They came back too soon, I could have done that another two or three days…
    I bet when you get back you’re going to wish you could go back to the cabin until you get used to the background noise again. πŸ™‚ But I could never live permanently outside of the range of Chinese food delivery.

  599. I’d like to be alone and listen to the ice. That’s what I say now, but before I got to the point where I was liking it (day and night), I’d probably go through a few phases of panic, loneliness, and boredom before I could embrace it.

  600. Your Joe is a great guy.
    I was thinking the same thing about horror movies that start in cabin out in desolate woods. Happy writing during the day.