“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

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.

solitude changed your life in any way


Kathryn’s mysteries – The Nikki
Garcia Mystery


Kathryn’s short story collection – Backyard
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.


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



14 replies
  1. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    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.

    • Kathryn Lane
      Kathryn Lane says:

      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. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    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. Kathryn Lane
    Kathryn Lane says:

    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!

  4. T.K. Thorne
    T.K. Thorne says:

    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!


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