How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird
that opens its wings on the stake.
Let me sit here for ever with bare things,
this coffee cup, this knife, this fork,
things in themselves, myself being myself.
― From The Waves by Virginia Woolf
Above: Eileen Gray's home, Tempe à Pailla — courtesy of Centre Pompidou
"A house is not a machine to live in. It is the shell of a man — his extension, his release, his spiritual emanation. Not only its visual harmony but its organization as a whole, the whole work combined together, make it human in the most profound sense." — Eileen Gray
She could be herself, by herself.
And that was what now she often felt the need of - to think;
well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone.
All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated;
and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others... and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures.
From The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
There is no doubt that solitude is a challenge and to maintain balance within it a precarious business. But I must not forget that, for me, being with people or even with one beloved person for any length of time without solitude is even worse. I lose my center. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces. I must have time alone in which to mull over my encounter, and to extract its juice, its essence, to understand what has really happened to me as a consequence of it.
From Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton