100 Days of Solitude may just be too much time out!
How far do you need to go to find yourself? What do you have to give up?
Daphne didn’t go very far. After too many years of living as a writer who didn’t write, she gave up her life in London to spend 100 days of solitude on the remote Greek island of Sifnos, off season, and find out, once and for all, who she really was. Her challenge: to write every day.
One hundred days and one hundred entries later, her question had been answered in more ways than she could have imagined, and the things she’d given up never mattered in the first place. This book is her story, as personal as it is universal, of the most obvious and most fundamental quest of all: to be happy; to do what you love.
Part memoir, part fiction, part philosophy and part travel writing, 100 days of solitude is a collection of one hundred stories, all of them connected and each one self-contained. One hundred essays on choosing uncertainty over security, change over convenience, seeing things for what they truly are, and being surprised by yourself; on love, loss, death and donkeys; on reaching for your dreams, finding enlightenment on a rural road, peeing in public, and locking yourself out of the house; on dangerous herbs, friendly farmers, flying Bentleys and existential cats; and on what it feels like to live in a small, isolated island community through the autumn and winter, to live as a writer who actually writes, and to live as your true, authentic self, no matter who that turns out to be. And to write your own story, the way you want it told; to find your voice, and the courage to let it be heard.
How many of us wish we were able to give up our day jobs and move to a remote island to simply write for over three months? When I was first told about this book, I would have said almost every one of us who write, in whatever capacity. However, after reading through Daphne’s account of actually doing this, I’m now not so sure that I would be one of those people…
Whilst the concept of taking 100 days out to live and write on a Greek Island may seem initially tempting, it doesn’t quite make for great writing material in this book! 100 Days of Solitude is, in some ways, just that: isolation from the real world meaning not an awful lot of subject matter to fill a whole book about.
I wanted to enjoy the mind-set of somebody who would up and leave to take up such a challenge, but in reality there was more procrastinating than there was action, or indeed solid writing. It was therefore quite a boring read. What this book did confirm for me though was how, for a writer, shutting yourself away to focus on the written word doesn’t always encourage you to produce the best material. Sometimes that has to come from human interaction and social experiences. I can’t help but feel that a week or even a weekend writers retreat may have yielded better results!
100 Days of Solitude is a bit of a disappointment if you’re looking for any kind of story or action. However, if you simply want to know what it’s like to be able to throw caution to the wind, and find out what effects it has on your writing, then you may find this book of some interest.
100 Days of Solitude is available now to buy on Kindle.