Monday, April 12, 2010

Prime Passage: Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton

"I feel myself sucked down into the quicksand that isolation sometimes creates, a sense of drowning, of being literally engulfed. When it comes to the important things one is always alone, and it may be that the virtue or possible insight I get from being so obviously alone--being physically and in every way absolutely alone much of the time--is a way into the universal state of man. The way in which one handles this absolute aloneness is the way in which one grows up, is the great psychic journey of everyman. At what price would total independence be bought? That's the rub! I am conscious of the fruitful tension set up between me and anyone for whom I care. ... I learn by being in relation to. ... Every relation challenges; every relation asks me to be something, do something, respond. Close off response and what is left? Bearing ... enduring ... waiting. ...

I have said elsewhere that we have to make myths of our lives, the point being that if we do, then every grief or inexplicable seizure by weather, woe, or work can--if we discipline ourselves and think hard enough--be turned to account, be made to yield further insight into what it is to be alive, to be a human being, what the hazards are of a fairly usual, everyday kind. We go up to Heaven and down to Hell at least a dozen times a day--at least, I do. And the discipline of work provides an exercise bar, so that the wild, irrational motions of the soul become formal and creative. It literally keeps one from falling on one's face. That is one way to keep alive in self-made solitary confinement." pg. 107