"Loneliness is difficult to confess"
Greetings from New York. Or, as Olivia Laing puts it, “that teeming island of gnesis and glass” (although I’m in Brooklyn, not Manhattan, so maybe not the island she was writing about). I’m about 60 pages into The Lonely City, it’s one of four books I have in my routine right now. One of the others is No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva by Pema Chödrön. I’m always trying to incorporate something spiritual into my reading routine, explore other religions, try to figure out ways to feel better. I guess I’m always looking for meaning behind things. Case in point: Oliva’s using the Bible passage Romans 12:5 as the book’s epigraph: “and every one members one of another.” It got me thinking about how hard it is for so many of us to be isolated right now, how incredibly lonely we might feel because we can’t see or hug people we care about, and that’s totally understandable and natural. For me, somebody who has always feared being alone, this time and rereading The Lonely City is offering me an opportunity to dig deep into myself and try to use this time in self-quarantine to try and work on myself a little more, to try and face my fears and try to gain something from all of this. We’re all members of this lonely club right now. Hopefully reading this book is one of the ways you’re finding comfort. Olivia seemed to gain a lot of perspective from being alone, as did the people she writes about. Hopefully we can all do the same. And hopefully you’ve made some progress with the book. I’m figuring out a way to do the live online book club chat in April. I’m thinking Zoom might be the best way to go, but I’m open to suggestions.
Also, Olivia had a piece in the New York Times over the weekend on, yup, “How to be Lonely.” Give it a read if you have time.