Note: This collection also concerns the subject of introversion. There are some additional quotes on solitude in the quotes categories dealing with: Nature; Writing/Creativity/Talent; and Home.

How good it is to be alone for a long time! To be able to talk out loud to ourselves, walk around without the bother of being seen, rest after a divagation without calls! Any house turns into a field, any room is as big as an estate. –Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

I was less a social butterfly than a social death’s-head moth. –Joe Hill, “Snapshot” live happily alone requires a serious amount of intentional thought. It’s not as simple as signing the lease on your own apartment and leaving it at that. You must figure out what you need to feel comfortable at home and in the world, no matter your means (indeed, by staying within your means), and arrange your life accordingly—a metaphorical architecture. –Kate Bolick, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own

Aloneness is the key to creativity. –Leon Botstein, quoted in Andrew Solomon’s Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity

Normally seven minutes of another person’s company was enough to give her a headache, so she set things up to live as a recluse. She was perfectly content as long as people left her in peace. Unfortunately society was not very smart or understanding ... –Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

... I think it’s worth saying that it’s far better to be alone and therefore open to new, more fulfilling love, than it is to be involved with someone who half wants out. –Dear Sugar, June 24, 2011

My watchful animal instinct to avoid people is almost overpowering. –Samantha Abeel, My Thirteenth Winter

If you’re an introvert, you also know that the bias against quiet can cause deep psychic pain. … at school you may have been prodded to come “out of your shell”—that noxious expression which fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go, and that some humans are just the same. –Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

In fact, public speaking anxiety may be primal and quintessentially human, not limited to those of us born with a high-reactive nervous system. One theory, based on the writings of the sociobiologist EO Wilson, holds that when our ancestors lived on the savannah, being watched intently meant only one thing: a wild animal was stalking us. And when we think we’re about to be eaten, do we stand tall and hold forth confidently? No. We run. In other words, hundreds of thousands of years of evolution urge us to get the hell off the stage, where we can mistake the gaze of the spectators for the glint in a predator’s eye. Yet the audience expects not only that we’ll stay put, but that we’ll act relaxed and assured. This conflict between biology and protocol is one reason that speechmaking can be so fraught. It’s also why exhortations to imagine the audience in the nude don’t help nervous speakers; naked lions are just as dangerous as elegantly dressed ones. –ditto

For many introverts … adolescence is the great stumbling place, the dark and tangled thicket of low self-esteem and social unease. In middle and high school, the main currency is vivacity and gregariousness; attributes like depth and sensitivity don’t count for much. –ditto

Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story. –ditto

As weird as it might seem to some people, there is nothing I love more than an empty house and the sound of silence. –Sally Brampton, “The loneliest place on Earth? Living with a man you no longer love”

One of my greatest pleasures is sitting quietly in a café and people-watching. I even like going to the movies alone (nobody to interrupt or bore on endlessly about what the film really “meant”) and I am perfectly happy going to eat in a restaurant, with only a good book for company.
     All around me, I sense pitying looks from fellow diners as I eat my solitary dinner. Poor soul; she’s got no friends.
     I don’t mind. In fact, I couldn’t care less. The only thing I mind is the idea that, just because you’re on your own, you must be some kind of sad loser. –ditto

The older I get, the less capable I am of living with anybody. Some might say it is selfishness, refusing to give up habits (no, the coffee does not go in that cupboard, yes, I always go to bed after the ten o’clock news), but I think it’s more a question of understanding my limitations.
     I love people and I adore my friends, but only for brief periods of time. I am always happy to go back to my solitary state. –ditto

It was easier to lock the doors and kill the phones than to show my skin, because the hardest thing is never to repent for someone else, it’s letting people in. –The Antlers, “Wake”

Everybody likes to see the loner hitched. It tells them everything is right with the world. –Philip Ó Ceallaigh, “Another Love Story”

I feel the same way about solitude as some people feel about the blessing of the church. It’s the light of grace for me. I never close my door behind me without the awareness that I am carrying out an act of mercy toward myself. –Peter Høeg, Smilla’s Sense of Snow

What’s agitating about solitude is the inner voice telling you that you should be mated to somebody, that solitude is a mistake. The inner voice doesn’t care about who you find. It just keeps pestering you, tormenting you … –Charles Baxter, The Feast of Love

The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born. –Nikola Tesla, quoted in Thomas P. Hughes’s American Genesis: A Century of Invention and Technological Enthusiasm

What is necessary, after all, is only this: solitude, vast inner solitude. To walk inside yourself and meet no one for hours—that is what you must be able to attain. To be solitary as you were when you were a child … –Rainer Maria Rilke, “Letters To A Young Poet - #6”

Without great solitude no serious work is possible. –Pablo Picasso

I like people. I like watching them. It’s just that I’d prefer to do it from a mile away using very powerful binoculars. –Geraldine McCaughrean, The White Darkness

Solitude is a thing we crave. –Rick Bass, The Book of Yaak

Loners, if you catch them, are well worth the trouble. Not dulled by excess human contact, nor blasé or focused on your crotch while jabbering about themselves, loners are curious, vigilant, full of surprises. They do not cling. Separate wherever they go, awake or asleep, they shimmer with the iridescence of hidden things seldom seen. ––Anneli Rufus, Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto

We do not require company. The opposite: in varying degrees, it bores us, drains us, makes our eyes glaze over. Overcomes us like a steamroller. Of course, the rest of the world doesn’t understand. –ditto

Being a loner is not about hate, but need: We need what others dread. We dread what others need. –ditto

The mob thinks we are maladjusted. Of course we are adjusted just fine, not to their frequency. They take it personally.
     They take offense. Feel hurt. Get angry. They do not blame owls for coming out at night, yet they blame us for being as we are. Because it involves them, or at least they believe it does, they assemble the troops and call us names.
     Crazy. Cold. Stuck-up. Standoffish. Aloof. Afraid. Lacking in social skills. Bizarre. Unable to connect. Incapable of love. Freaks. Geeks. Sad. Lonely. Selfish. Secretive. Ungrateful. Unfriendly. Serial killers. –ditto

We are the ones who know how to entertain ourselves. How to learn without taking a class. How to contemplate and how to create. Loners, by virtue of being loners, in celebrating the state of standing alone, have an innate advantage when it comes to being brave—like pioneers, like mountain men, iconoclasts, rebels, and sole survivors. Loners have an advantage when faced with the unknown, the never-done-before, and the unprecedented. An advantage when it comes to being mindful like the Buddhists, spontaneous like the Taoists, crucibles of concentrated prayer like the desert saints, esoteric like the cabalists. Loners, by virtue of being loners, have at their fingertips the undiscovered, the unique, the rarified. Innate advantages when it comes to imagination, concentration, inner discipline. A knack for invention, originality, for finding resources in what others would call vacuums. A knack for visions. –ditto

Alone, we are alive.
     Alone does not necessarily mean in solitude: we are not just the lone figure on the far shore. This is a populous world, and we are most often alone in a crowd. It is a state less of body than mind. The word alone should not, for us, ring cold and hollow, but hot. Pulsing with potentiality. Alone as in distinct. Alone as in, Alone in his field. As in, Stand alone. As in, like it or not, Leave me alone. This word wants rescuing, this word wants pride. This word wants to be washed and shined. –ditto

As a minority, we puzzle over nonloners, their strange values. Why do they require constant affirmation, validation, company, support? Are they babies or what? What bothers them about being alone? What are they so afraid of? Why can’t they be more like us?
     Well, they cannot, nor can we be like them. –ditto

But just as Homo sapiens no longer need prehensile toes, we no longer all need to be social animals in order to survive as a species. Mandatory social interaction is an evolutionary remnant which those who wish to may discard. –ditto

Civilization will go on whether you attend the block party or not. It will, whether you say hello and talk to anyone today or not. Whether you get married today, or ever, or have kids or not. Its momentum is strong. It will go on. –ditto

If loners are a minority in the world at large, we swell the ranks in the creative world. The creative process lends itself to loners and vice versa. And there is the key. This is why so much of what winds up in art museums, movie houses, music venues, bookshops, theme parks, and on TV has a loner slant. Unlike fine art, popular culture targets the broadest possible audience. But what no one wants to admit is how much of “popular” culture has always been the work of a tiny, maligned subset of the population. The subset what will not join hands. –ditto

Shared time, while not entirely wasted if the sharer is a true friend, must be parceled out with care, like rationed flour. And time shared, even with true friends, often requires loners to put in extra time alone, overtime, to recharge. It is a matter of energy: As a rule, loners have less for the social machinery, the talk and sympathy. Our fuel runs out. This is what nonloners don’t understand about us, what they cannot see. We do not choose to have such tiny fuel tanks. These can be quite inconvenient. They are why we seem rude, when we do, why we seem bored and often are. Spaced-out and often are. Running on empty. –ditto

Meeting anyone at all is not a loner’s long suit. Meeting an assembly line of maybes has as much appeal as severe sunburn. Opening lines, small talk, seem repulsive—and we haven’t even mentioned pursuit. Spending any time even with those we know, even with old friends, can grate. For loners, spending time with strangers, again and again, a stream of strangers, not merely to get it over with but to discern whether someday you will put your tongue inside this person’s mouth, is the definition of surreal. –ditto

It has been said before, let’s say it again: “loner” is not a synonym for “misanthrope.” Nor is it one for “hermit,” “celibate,” or “outcast.” It’s just that we are very selective. Verrry selective. –ditto

They say isolation drives you crazy. Sure it does—when you can’t get enough of it. –ditto

What the mob requires for its sanity is what whittles away relentlessly at ours. Because nonloners far outnumber us, their prescription for soundness of mind stands as good medicine. Contact! Chat! Cell phones! Spending as few hours as possible alone! To us it is not medicine but a dangerous drug at best—it numbs, it drains, it blinds, it depresses, it requires extensive recovery. At worst, it is poison. If loners comprised the majority, we would decree our own prescription. Work at home! Turn off the ring on the phone! Cross the street to avoid someone you know! It’s good for you! –ditto

I am not a joiner. Somewhere I once said that people join clubs now for the very reason they once carried them, a need for security. Maybe I’m alone more often than I should be, because I try to find security within myself. –Rod McKuen, Alone

I can be elated
at being left alone
when the alternative
is being with just anyone.

Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god. –Aristotle, Politics

It really bothers me that the media, and society at large treat people who don’t socialize constantly as if they have some major dysfunction. Just because I may not go out for drinks on Saturday nights does not mean I’m out plotting the demise of others. There is a very distinct difference between someone who wallows day in and day out in a pool of malice for those around him\her, and someone who simply does not need require the company of others to be content because of his or her temperament. I’m so tired of people who constantly ask me if there’s something wrong because I don’t constantly engage in chatter with others. In reality I see myself as more content than most extroverts in that I am completely free to do what I want when I want and the drama level of my personal life hovers around a constant 0%. –puma, on

You think that I am impoverishing myself withdrawing from men, but in my solitude I have woven for myself a silken web or chrysalis, and, nymph-like, shall ere long burst forth a more perfect creature, fitted for a higher society. –Henry David Thoreau, journal, February 8, 1857

I thrive best on solitude. If I have had a companion only one day in a week, unless it were one or two I could name, I find that the value of the week to me has been seriously affected. It dissipates my days, and often it takes me another week to get over it. –Henry David Thoreau, journal, December 28, 1856

I have an immense appetite for solitude, like an infant for sleep, and if I don’t get enough for this year, I shall cry all the next. –Henry David Thoreau, in a September 9, 1857, letter to Daniel Ricketson

No matter how lonely you get or how many birth announcements you receive, the trick is not to get frightened. There’s nothing wrong with being alone. –Wendy Wasserstein, “Isn’t It Romantic”

People who need people are threatened by people who don’t. The idea of seeking contentment alone is heretical, for society steadfastly decrees that our completeness lies in others. –Lionel Fisher, Celebrating Time Alone: Stories of Splendid Solitude

Let us learn, then, from those in search of what they have not been able to find and hold in the press of humanity around them: peace of mind, gentleness of heart, calmness of spirit, daily joy. Those who are mastering the art of flying solo and soaring to their highest human potential. … Who have discovered that being alone can impose a startling clarity in their lives, achieved through the personal reflection we seem to allow ourselves only in times of severe loss and intense grief. Who trust their aloneness, using it to embrace and nurture their individuality, to celebrate themselves in their own special ways. –ditto

… it is all right to be alone, to want to be alone, to be alone and not lonely—even to be lonely at times—because the rewards of solitude are worth the deprivations. –ditto

A little while alone in your room will prove more valuable than anything else that could ever be given you. –Rumi

My passionate interest in social justice and social responsibility has always stood in curious contrast to a marked lack of desire for direct association with men and women. I am a horse for single harness, not cut out for tandem or teamwork. I have never belonged wholeheartedly to country or state, to my circle of friends, or even to my family. These ties have always been accompanied by a vague aloofness and the wish to withdraw into myself increases with the years. Such isolation is bitter, but I do not regret being cut off from the understanding and sympathy of other men. I lose something by it to be sure, but I am compensated for it in being rendered independent of the customs, opinions, and prejudices of others, and am not tempted to rest my peace of mind upon such shifting foundations. –Albert Einstein

[Kierkegaard] did not care for large public events because every crowd is in itself an untruth. The only way out is isolation, aloofness. Only the individual is a reality and only the individual is true. Maybe the process of isolation in an individual is one of the most important matters that exists. Is not the whole point of this world for people to separate and become individuals? –Mati Unt, Things in the Night

Every so often a disappearance is in order. A vanishing. A checking out. An indeterminate period of unavailability. Each person, each sane person, maintains a refuge, or series of refuges, for this purpose. A place, or places, where they can, figuratively if not literally, suspend their membership in the human race. –John A. Murray, The Quotable Nature Lover

A man can be himself alone so long as he is alone … if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free. –Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Idea

To have passed through life and never experienced solitude is to never have known oneself. To have never known oneself is to have never known anyone. –Joseph Wood Krutch, The Desert Year

Contrary to popular opinion, people who live alone usually have long to-do lists because they’ve had the time to develop many diverse interests. It’s wonderful when you realize there are so many things you can do by yourself that you can’t do in a relationship. –Kathy Probst

Each year that I don’t get married I know it will be harder to find someone. Because I don’t know how much I’ll be willing to give up in exchange for what I’ll be getting. Some call it being “set in your ways.” I call it selfishness—and it’s highly addictive. –ditto

Only after one has experienced the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the obligations and commitments of living with a partner can one truly know the deep joy of living alone. –Alexis Padfield

Living alone, I’ve come to realize all those years spent with others were spent living an unauthentic life. It’s taken me a long time to recognize who I am and to admire and value that person. I’m not going to give her up now—not for anyone, not ever again—because she’s a wonderful, very real person worth hanging onto at all costs. –Cynthia Meier

I write in praise of the solitary act:
of not feeling a trespassing tongue
forced into one’s mouth, one’s breath
smothered, nipples crushed against the
ribcage, and that metallic tingling
in the chin set off by a certain odd nerve:
–Fleur Adcock, “Against Coupling”

Being alone is better than wanting to be alone. Being alone is better than being in a relationship you hate and wanting to get out of it, but staying because you don’t want to be alone. Having someone around when you don’t want them there is miserable. More miserable than being by yourself. –(?)

I just think that sometimes it is less hard to wake up feeling lonely when you are alone than to wake up feeling lonely when you are with someone else. Some people would be better off alone, but they feel they’ve got to get hold of someone to prove they’re worthwhile. –Liv Ullman

When I’m by myself, I can be myself, which is what I want to be. Not just a part of someone else. –Jean Culligan

Many people who are alone discover a heightened aesthetic sensuality. Freed from the preoccupation of organizing a household complicated by other lives, they can focus on making their living space an extension of themselves. They discover their own taste. They make a point of collecting art and other things that satisfy their aesthetic sense. –Rae Andre

One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude. –Carl Sandburg

People who take the time to be alone usually have depth, originality, and quiet reserve. –John Miller

I prize the privilege of being alone. –Carl Rogers

Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous—to poetry. –Thomas Mann, Death in Venice

We are the puzzle pieces who seldom fit with other puzzle pieces. We inhabit singledom as our natural resting state … Secretly, we are romantics, romantics of the highest order. We want a miracle. Our of millions we have to find the one who will understand.
     For the quirkyalone, there is no patience for dating just for the sake of not being alone. On a fine but by no means transcendent date we dream of going home to watch television. We would prefer to be alone with our own thoughts than with a less than perfect fit. We are almost constitutionally incapable of casual relationships. –Sasha Cagan, To-Do List

Find a day for yourself—better yet, late at night. Go to the forest or to the field, or lock yourself in a room … You will meet solitude there. There you will be able to listen attentively to the noise of the wind first, to birds singing, to see wonderful nature and to notice yourself in it … and to come back to harmonic connection with the world and its Creator. –Rabbi Nahman

One of the many advantages of being a loner is that often there’s time to think, ponder, brood, meditate deeply, and figure things out to one’s satisfaction. –Andrea Siegel, Open and Clothed

But your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths. –Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, letter #4

Being alone is vital for me. I can think in peace in the middle of nature, alone … –Tavio Wirkkala (this was written on a wall in a 2005 exhibit on Finnish design at the Finnish Embassy in DC)

Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong. –Lord Byron, “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”

Man cannot long survive without air, water, and sleep. Next in importance comes food. And close on its heels, solitude. –Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin

The reason that extended solitude seemed so hard to endure was not that we missed others but that we began to wonder if we ourselves were present, because for so long our existence depended upon assurances from them. –Doris Grumbach, Fifty Days of Solitude

I had told people of my intention to be alone for a time. At once I realized they looked upon this declaration as a rejection of them and their company. I felt apologetic, even ashamed, that I would have wanted such a curious thing as solitude, and then sorry that I had made a point of announcing my desire for it. … To the spouse, or the long-time companion, or the family, and to the social circle, as it is called, the decision to be alone for any length of time is dangerous, threatening, a sign of rejection. … Having never felt the need to be alone themselves, having always lived happily in relationships, they looked upon my need as eccentric, even somewhat mad. But more than that, they saw it as fraudulent, an excuse to be rid of them rather than a desperate need to explore myself. –ditto

It is not easy to be solitary unless you are also born ruthless. Every solitary repudiates someone. –Jessamyn West, Hide and Seek

Decisive moment: the one when you will be really alone. And it is perhaps this that makes her hesitate: not the void, but the vastness of the solitude. It’s as well if you are frightened of solitude. It’s a sign that you have come to the moment of your birth. –Hélène Cixous, La

What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it—like a secret vice! –Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death—ourselves. –Eda LeShan

That I am totally devoid of sympathy for, or interest in, the world of groups is directly attributable to the fact that my two greatest needs and desires—smoking cigarettes and plotting revenge—are basically solitary pursuits. –Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life

He that can live alone resembles the brute beast in nothing, the sage in much, and God in everything. –Baltasar Gracian, The Art of Worldly Wisdom


Beyond all this, the wish to be alone:
However the sky grows dark with invitation-cards
However we follow the printed directions of sex
However the family is photographed under the
Beyond all this, the wish to be alone.

Beneath it all, desire of oblivion runs:
Despite the artful tensions of the calendar,
The life insurance, the tabled fertility rites,
The costly aversion of the eyes from death—
Beneath it all, desire of oblivion runs.
–Philip Larkin, “Wants”

Children love to be alone because alone is where they know themselves, and where they dream. –Roger Rosenblatt, The Man in the Water

I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. –Henry David Thoreau, Walden

If a woman is to know herself, then periods of solitude should be courted, planned, and embraced. –Mary Kay Blakely

Living alone, though it may not be the state you ultimately desire for yourself, affords an unparallel opportunity to know yourself, to be yourself, and to develop yourself as a unique and interesting individual. –Phyllis Hobe

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. –Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”

I am never less alone than when alone. –Cicero, Cicero De Officiis

A certain amount of quiet alone time, whether it is spent meditation, exercising, reading, listening to music, or being creative is, I think, essential for the mental health of most human beings. –Barbara Powell

The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. –Henrik Ibsen, “An Enemy of the People”

… be indulgent toward those who … are afraid of the aloneness that you trust. –Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, letter #4

Solitude is the nurse of enthusiasm, enthusiasm is the true part of genius. –Isaac D’Israeli

We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly ... spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order. –Susan L. Taylor

What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be. –Ellen Burstyn

Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character. –James Russell Lowell, Among My Books

The things one experiences alone with oneself are very much stronger and purer. –Eugene Delacroix

There is nothing either/or about being alone, because it is not a role. It is not a reduced way of life. It is a possibility for us to participate in a highly creative endeavor: the discovery of our whole selves. –Phyllis Hobe

People who cannot bear to be alone are generally the worst company. –Albert Guinon

I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. –Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Of all the gifts of a place by the sea, perhaps the greatest is the gift of solitude. –anonymous

Solitude is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it. –Deepak Chopra

One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude. –Gary Mark Gilmore

To dare to live alone is the rarest courage, since there are many who had rather meet their bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in their closet. –Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon

In solitude, where we are least alone. –Lord Byron, “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”

Better be alone than in bad company. –Thomas Fuller

Not everyone knows how to be alone with others, how to share solitude. We have to help each other to understand how to be in our solitude, so that we can relate to each other without grabbing on to each other. We can be interdependent but not dependent. Loneliness is rejected despondency. Solitude is shared interdependency. –David Spangler

Solitude can become your most meaningful companion and it can assist you in being a more giving person in your spiritual partnerships. Rather than regarding your partner’s need for time alone as a threat, see it as a time of renewal that you celebrate. Make every effort to help each other have that space. Treat that space as sacred. –Wayne W. Dyer

Our language has widely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone. –Paul Tillich, The Eternal Now

It is sometimes said that each of us is ultimately alone. That idea is compelling not because of birth and death but because so often our moments alone seem more true, more real. The word “God” only begins to have meaning for me when I am alone. Or if not alone, so at one with another that there is no sense of a competing reality. God has no meaning for me in a discussion. I don’t think religion is an attainable subject for the intellect. I can only believe when I’m not talking about it. I need solitude like I need food and rest, and like eating and resting, solitude is most healing when it fits the rhythm of my needs. A rigidly scheduled aloneness does not nourish me. Solitude is perhaps a misnomer. To me, being alone means togetherness—the re-coming-together of myself and nature, of myself and being; the reunited of my self with all other selves. Solitude especially means putting the parts of my mind back together, unifying the pieces of my self scattered by anger and fear, until I can once again see that the little things are little and the big things are big. –Hugh Prather, Notes to Myself

When I dance, I dance, when I sleep, I sleep; yes, and when I walk alone in a beautiful orchard, if my thoughts drift to far-off matters for some part of the time, for some other part I lead them back again to the walk, the orchard, to the sweetness of this solitude, to myself. –Michel de Montaigne, Of Experience

Against the suffering which may come upon one from human relationships the readiest safeguard is voluntary isolation, keeping oneself aloof from other people. The happiness which can be achieved along this path is, as we see, the happiness of quietness. Against the dreaded external world one can only defend oneself by some kind of turning away from it, if one intends to solve the task by oneself. –Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontent

Society is no comfort, to one not sociable. –William Shakespeare, “Cymbeline”

It’s an opportunity find your sane mind … to establish its beachhead inside you so that even alone, you’re never alone. To learn to talk to yourself kindly and gently, to learn to nurture yourself. No matter how alone I am, I always have my sane mind as a companion. –(?)

I want to be alone. –Greta Garbo, in Grand Hotel

I think that I will go through a big change when I can withdraw from people and be myself again. I can’t explain why or how, but I feel as if I’ve lost something among people that I could see, understand, and feel when I was alone. The more I live among city people, the more I realize the tremendously important role that the peace and the stillness of nature play in our development. Something is lost when you live too much among other people, the way you do in a city. The ideas and thoughts of others penetrate you, and you get so caught up in them that you are no longer able to feel or understand what is taking place in your own life. –Kim Malthe-Bruun, in his journal

I will hack my way through existence alone. –Guardini

The thought, the deadly thought of solitude. –John Keats

And being alone is the best way to be
When I’m by myself it’s the best way to be
When I’m all alone it’s the best way to be
When I’m by myself nobody else can say goodbye
–Edie Brickell, “Circle”

We come into the world alone.
We go away the same.
We’re meant to spend the interlude between
in closeness
or so we tell ourselves.
But it’s a long way from the morning to the evening.
–Rod McKuen, Alone

I’m gonna go live in a cave, just completely live in my interior world. –Tim Burton

When I’m alone, I stop believing I exist. –(?)

We live, as we dream, alone. To break the spell we mix with the others. We are not born in isolation. But sometimes it seems that way. We live, as we dream, alone. –sung by REM in Tourfilm

I chose the shadows; they did not choose me. I stay here securely not just because I feel plain, but because disappearance is by now the easy way. The habit. The worn path that I can trod knowingly and be assured safe passage home. –Rod McKuen, Alone