The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

“How to Be Alone”


The first incarnation of “How to Be Alone” was a collaborative video by two Haligonian artists: musician and former poet laureate Tanya Davis, and filmmaker/illustrator Andrea Dorfman. After the video was first released in 2010, it went viral. (At the time of this printing, it had over six million views.) In 2011 Davis released her first book of poetry, At First, Lonely, with PEI’s Acorn Press, but it is this one poem in its first incarnation that continues to garner attention for these two artists. This month, a gorgeous, illustrated version of the poem, How to Be Alone, was released by HarperCollins.

As Davis explains, because of the poem’s first “life” on the Internet, it has created a sort of community, which, in its own beautiful way, conquers the very fear of aloneness the poem encourages the reader to rise above. It has also provided Davis and Dorfman a direct line with an appreciative audience. “Getting feedback has been invaluable; a way to connect,” says Davis. “People have taught me things in a way I can’t measure. Part of that, ironically, is to not feel alone.”




Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

5 thoughts on ““How to Be Alone”

  1. Tres bien! I am quite behind in following, and perhaps need to collect myself before re-entering commentary and conversation. But “How to Be Alone” is a particularly valued insight.

    • I missed your comments. Glad to see you are back. It’s comforting to know there are many others out there struggling with how to be alone. I love how she starts with the safe stuff – being in a church, at a coffee house, etc. then leads into the rest.

      • Thanks, Daniela – yes, “back and then gone again’! Computer failed and due to my relative geographical isolation from larger centers, it’s taken awhile to get back in business. On my new operating system for not much more than an hour, and am getting a few essentials back in place. I look forward to being ‘present’ more regularly very soon! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Two Hearts (poem) | A tale of a t-rex

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