Living alone, absolutely alone. Boredom doesn’t happen. Not loneliness in the usual sense. Only the tension, the tempo, the rhythm goes out—and that is enough. Life becomes a slack sail.

Patricia Highsmith, 15 November 1951, in Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks: 1941–1995, edited by Anna von Planta

You’ve punctured my solitude, I told you. It had been a useful solitude, constructed, as it was, around a recent sobriety, long walks to and from the Y through the sordid, bougainvillea-stewn back streets of Hollywood, evening drives up and down Mulholland to kill the long nights, and, of course, maniacal bouts of writing, learning to address no one. But the time for its puncturing had come. I feel I can give you everything without giving myself away, I whispered in your basement bed. If one does one’s solitude right, this is the prize.

Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts