I’ve just finished reading Twin by Allen Shawn. In a passage that really resonated with me, he describes how moving his family to Vermont affected his art:
My music lost its self-consciousness [after the move]… It almost seemed as if what I had needed more than anything all along was a kind of privacy I would never find in New York… I needed to protect the fragile inner world my music revealed. It was as if too much public attention to it would mean that it no longer belonged to me, and I would lose my ability to judge it.
I remember that same sort of feeling the one time I joined a writers’ group and read some of my in-progress work aloud. I didn’t know until that moment how exposed and invaded I would feel. I realized then that I need to work alone, with the feedback of only one or two close friends.