For a long time, I was very lonely. For most of my life, really. I grew up in the ura-omote culture of Japan: the person you are, and the person you are to everyone else. No one comes inside that wall. You know how gender is built into the English language? The separation of private personality vs. public perception is built into Japanese. In Japanese, there is an equivalent of Mr. or Mrs. etc for everyone, even people your own age. Close friends will call each other by first name, but usually still with an honorific. Yobisute (referring to someone without an honorific) is almost exclusively reserved for your significant other.
For most of my life, I have not had people I considered true friends. Not more than a handful at once. College was the first time I had more friends than I knew what to do with. I was 19 years old. I spent nineteen years telling myself stories, returning to my favorites until I found a version I liked enough to write down. I read books and made up my own stories with the characters because hey, I bet they would be fun to hang out with. I used writing as a way to have friends even though I was alone.
And then I joined a writing group. For a while, it encouraged me to write. I got so much good feedback and I fixed so many things in my novel. Their excitement inspired to write more. For a while.
But we’re friends now.
I started hanging out with people from work. I discovered that there actually party games that don’t make me want to crawl under a rock and die. I discovered that if I put more energy into talking to people, there are people I connect with on a deeper level. I have people I consider my best friends now.
I haven’t written a word of my novel in over a year. Something had to slide, and that something ended up being writing. Because what’s the point of writing if I don’t need to keep myself company anymore?