This week, I’m taking a bit of time off from the blog and bringing you the “Best of Andilit – 2011.” These are my six most popular posts with the most popular arriving on your screen on New Year’s Eve. Happy Holidays, everyone.

You’ll never know what you’re made of until you sit long enough with the writing to move through the pulls for companionship (whether virtual or “real”). — Laraine Herring

I am agitated at the core of myself these days. Obviously, something is happening in my spirit – some cleansing, some burning off of the chaff, some rearranging of the fragments of myself – and I am tired, teary, and baffled with life most minutes of most days.

If I was smart, I’d be buried in words because of this. I’d fill pages and pages with the outpourings of my spirit. I’d read all day and all night. I’d let the rich curves and jagged spikes of language smooth me back to the place of peace.

But I am not smart. Instead, I run from words. I seek out distraction – Facebook, email, conversation – and I tell myself these are the things I need for my “work.” I am lying to myself. I am not working; I am trying to be less lonely.

“Writing is lonely.” People say this all the time; I’ve said it. But the truth is that writing isn’t lonely, not for me. As Laraine says, “I don’t feel lonely when I’m working. I feel the loneliness when I am avoiding working, when I’m distracting myself from the story or essay.”

When I write, I feel like I’ve walked into a forest where even the trees speak companionship to me. In my writing, I find a spaciousness, a richness, an abundance that restores me to wholeness. As I write, I find the companionship of myself to be quite enough.

So the struggle I have is not with loneliness but with fear, the fear that just one time I will come to the page and find it empty. It has never failed me, yet I fear it will. So I avoid, I busy myself, I seek out people when I know that human companionship will only aggravate me. I lie and say I am simply “working” when I am doing the farthest thing from it.

I must cocoon myself with my words and with my self. I must trust that this will be enough . . . as it always has been and always will be.

Lake – “Alone Among Many – Lake Kidelju