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Robert Pullan   ::   Only the Lonely [article]

P.G. Wodehouse, whose stories lightened the lives of millions, dreaded social contact. He asked his wife, looking for an apartment in New York, to seek one on the first floor. "Why?" she asked. He replied: "I never know what to say to the lift boy."
Isolation can nourish creativity. Some have thought it essential for intellectual achievement. The legendary American judge Oliver Wendell Holmes told graduating Harvard students in 1886: "Only when you have worked alone - when you have felt around you a black gulf of solitude more isolating than that which surrounds the dying man, and in hope and in despair have trusted to your own unshaken will - then only will you have achieved."
Loneliness is a chameleon, not only different for each of us, but also different to each of us, varying according to our mood, place and time. The feeling of loneliness at 3 am may be quite different to how it feels at midday. When we feel lonely travelling, we may be missing the bluegums, or Bondi. If our lover has just left, it's different again. Loneliness is a lyrebird with a different voice every time we hear it. This is one of its difficulties: we fear loneliness because it resists our understanding, it has so many guises, it is always a stranger. Perhaps noticing its changeability is a first step towards understanding.
Being alone does not always make us feel lonely: it can make us feel free, exhilerated, centred, relaxed, in touch with our sometimes hidden cores.
books i've read..
2013 [12 read]
2012 [36 read]
2011 [5 read]
2010 [6 read]
2009 [5 read]
2008 [21 read]
2007 [31 read]
2006 [37 read]
2005 [37 read]
2004 [32 read]
2003 [18 read]
2002 [52 read]
2001 [43 read]
2000 [7 read]
1999 [25 read]
1998 [3 read]
unknown year [65 read]

read over the years