One of the greatest enemies of happiness, of enjoying life, is the intrusion of loneliness. When you’re most alone is in nausea; when you’re throwing up you are alone on the face of this earth. The moment of orgasm is very lonely too—a little island in the middle of nowhere. There are a lot of paradoxes involved. When you’re working very hard you’re not lonely; you are the whole damn world.
Shelby Foote, American novelist and historian of the American Civil War, contemplating the reasons why he writes, in a 1997 interview for the New York State Writers Institute.
Photo by Charles Nicholas, c. 1978.