Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reading: Lonely, by Emily White

I have a copy with the blue cover (US edition vs. Canadian?). And while the image reminds me of the teenage I's favorite depressing book, The Bell Jar, the subtitle "A Memoir" feels less haunting than "Learning to Live with Solitude." White describes what for me are familiar experiences: a life in surreal tones that is, however, very real, but evades description as it evades relation. I don't think you can "learn" it because... what is there to learn? Renunciation? If so, why?

Why not "My Solitude and I"? If anything, White shows life from the vantage point of a solitary person, and the loneliness that makes this a different and difficult perspective is not "learnable," since it is hard to bear.

I haven't read the whole book yet, but here is one of the fragments that moved me--about the solitary "I" and language.

One of the things I'd done during lonely times in childhood was write out dictionary definitions and make myself memorize them. This isn't as entirely nerdy as it sounds. Words were something I cottoned to from an early age, and I loved flipping through the big dictionary my father had left behind. The problem was that, as a lonely adult, all the words I'd made myself learn seemed to take on lives of their own. Either they darted away just when I reached for them or they lunged back up at me with exhausting force. (39)

No comments: