nan witcomb on loneliness

The inspiration in loneliness

For many, loneliness can be paralysing. But legendary poet Nan Witcomb used it as a source to inspire a generation.

Nan is widely known for “The Thoughts of Nanushka”, her simple poetry that was published over three decades. Her words have been repeated countless times, by every day readers through to important events including the funeral of INXS frontman Michael Hutchence.

Now 91, Nan told Bushy Martin in a special episode of the Get Invested podcast that she often drew inspiration from isolation.

“Writing is a lonely thing, it has to be,” she said.

“If it’s not, you get mixed up with things. I mean for instance, say I was going to write something, I would just simply not go out anywhere or have people here or anything until I’d finish what I was writing. Because as I say, some of my poems are only six or eight lines, but the thought might’ve been … I might’ve written it (over) 30 lines, 20 lines or something and then I have to stay by myself where none of my friends know where I am, or I don’t let them in if I’m home.

“I go through (the words), again and again and again, taking everything out, but it still has to be what I thought of first. That’s why I call them thoughts, because they all just begin as thoughts.

“When I was finishing a book, I would go away somewhere where I didn’t know anyone. I would sit at restaurants by myself.

“I think it was not just my loneliness, but it was seeing it in other people as well. When I wasn’t lonely, then I could write about other people and tell them more or less how you could get over the loneliness.”

Nan Witcomb reveals her story and the many stories behind her legendary works in a rare and special interview with Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast.

Listen to the full podcast interview here.

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