Tuesday, October 5, 2021

“Solitude in the Outback…”

 By Kathryn Lane

Years ago, when I lived in the Outback of Australia, I often found myself alone for weeks at a time at the homestead while the men were in the field catching feral cattle. That solitude gave me time to read the Russian novels by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, and Pasternak to name a few. Dr. Zhivago and The Brothers Karamazov remain favorites to this day.

In my Australian days, I’d visualize the great books I read as a lighthouse that would light up the path of my life. A silly image, perhaps, but when one is completely alone, the mind creates interesting imagery.

Even after the Outback became only a memory, I rarely read novels hitting the New York Times bestseller list until the original hoopla surrounding their launch had quieted down. The hectic schedule of my international corporate career left little time to indulge in big books. I’d discovered less lofty but more enjoyable reading – the mystery genre – my pleasure reading for long flights from New York to South America, Asia, or Europe.

Fast forward to 2021 when I’ve become a writer myself. My love of mystery intrigues me so much, that it’s what I write. Revisiting the idea of best sellers, I still wait until the hoopla quiets to a whisper. Recently, I must have heard crawdads heralding Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing as being a mystery wrapped in a coming of age story woven with romance.

So I purchased it.

What a delicious dip into the wondrous world of nature in the swamps of North Carolina as seen, felt, and described through Kya’s life.

Delia Owens said in an interview that Kya represents what we can be when we have to be. I concur with the author that all of us have the ability to do more than we can imagine when life requires it.

Delia Owens described how her life of studying lions and elephants in Africa brought extreme or partial isolation for twenty-three years of her life.

My own isolation in the Outback, for a mere three-and-a-half years, changed me in many ways. I became, like Kya, more self-reliant, more introspective, and a problem solver. When I re-emerged into life in Mexico after the Australian experience, I was socially insecure. I thought it’d take several years for me to feel like the extroverted girl who’d left the comfort and love of her family to form a family of her own on the other side of the world. Then I realized the young girl had been transformed into a woman capable of following her own lighthouse to accomplish her dreams.

Has solitude changed your life in any way?


Kathryn’s mysteries – The Nikki Garcia Mystery series:


Kathryn’s short story collection – Backyard Volcano and Other Mysteries of the Heart


 All available on Amazon

 About Kathryn

Kathryn Lane started out as a starving artist. To earn a living, she became a certified public accountant and embarked on a career in international finance with a major multinational corporation. After two decades, she left the corporate world to plunge into writing mystery and suspense thrillers. In her stories, Kathryn draws deeply from her Mexican background as well as her travels in over ninety countries.

Visit my website at https://www.Kathryn-Lane.com

I love hearing from readers. Ask a question, suggest an idea, or comment about the blog. kathrynlaneauthor@gmail.com

Photo credits:

All photographs are used in an editorial or educational manner.

“Follow the Road” by ASTRORDINARY is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Where the Crawdads Sing” Public Domain

“Perthling” by ASTRORDINARY is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0




  1. What a fascinating life you have had, Kathryn! Aside from the vicarious solitude I've experienced through books and movies, I've never had the pleasures or challenges of being all alone. I can see how that would change a person. The social isolation of Covid has changed me, as well. I learned a lot from Where the Crawdads Sing, and I've learned something new from your blogpost, too. Thank you.

    1. Saralyn, thank you for your comments! I loved Where the Crawdads Sing, and the author's interview included in the afternotes was especially meaningful to me. Delia Owens was very honest about her experiences that kept her so isolated. Even though it was her decision to live that way (as it was my decision to marry and move to the Outback of Australia), the isolation had a dramatic impact on her life. She apparently only sees other people once or twice a week. I'm glad I returned from Australia when I did or I would probably be a total recluse!!!

  2. Thanks for the "Crawdads" recommendation, Kathryn. As for solitude, it's funny that you're writing about it today. I just attended my first in-person board meeting of the year for a non-profit I'm involved with, and I felt like I'd been let out of a cage. I've always enjoyed moments of solitude, but, wow, I was so happy to see everyone in person after a year and a half of Zoom!

  3. Gay, I can imagine how you felt. It's so good to get out and mingle with others.
    I did an in-person presentation at a book club yesterday, the second one I've done with people actually sitting in a room. It's fabulous! The energy of being with others is so much better than Zoom.
    And I loved Where the Crawdads Sing. I hope you like it. It's different and it has a lot of description about nature, but I thought the story was terrific. I did feel she rushed the ending a little bit, although she may have been conscious of how long the book was getting!

    1. thanks for the insight, Kathryn. Looking forward to seeing you again in person soon!

    2. I am, too. It'll be wonderful to get together again!

    3. And don't forget you have an invitation to Angel Fire!

  4. What a beautiful post, Gay. I love the lighthouse image. I've often wondered what it would be like to live alone and do not look forward to having to do it, if that is the path life gives me. Covid has given us all a taste of isolation, which I was fortunate enough to have life partner throughout. Crawdads has been on my list, but thanks for reviewing it and pushing it up!

    1. Also, thanks for you comments. I appreciate your thoughts!

  5. Thanks, T.K. I thoroughly enjoyed Crawdads. Hope you will, too.

  6. What intriguing concepts you offer here, Kathryn. Inspiring, too! Lovely post :)

  7. Barbara, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.


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