"Only connect! … Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer." - EM ForsterMy darling man is in Berlin being a bit of a legend, as is his wont. I miss him. But I also rather like being alone.
Today my brother posted a picture of the view from his bedroom window in the Angus Glens. A snowy lawn, bare trees, and the pink sunlight on the hill behind, stark and lonely, but beautiful too. Both of us, it seems, want to live with a certain amount of isolation. I live in a farmhouse down a mile long drive; he lives deep in a Scottish glen, surrounded by sheep and very few humans. Our childhood days felt this way. I remember us in the woods with dogs, and perhaps ponies. I remember fields where birds sang. I remember games of hide and seek but I don't remember a lot of people. That seemed to be only at night and only for the grown ups. Parentals had jolly dinners, and we would hear the clinking of ice in crystal tumblers filled with gin and tonic, and the gentle, heady smell of cigarettes, peals of laughter wending up the stairs towards our bedrooms. Glamorous women with powder and red lipstick and thick gold bracelets covered in charms marking holidays in the sun. But our days were marked by the quiet. Long, long summer days spent building camps or training dogs to jump like ponies, but not a lot of friends. My mother was Norwegian and I wonder if this added to our isolation...she didn't chat a lot to us, or not that I remember. I remember kindness of course, but not great, long, rigorous conversations.
Olivia Laing discusses loneliness in her books and in this piece about loneliness and art.
"Glass is a persistent symbol of loneliness, and for good reason. Almost as soon as I arrived in the city, I had the sense that I was trapped behind glass. I couldn’t reach out or make contact, and at the same time I felt dangerously exposed, vulnerable to judgment, particularly in situations where being alone felt awkward or wrong, where I was surrounded by couples or groups." - Olivia LaingAnd in this wonderful conversation with artist Chantal Joffe. (It's worth listening to if you have time.) I heard it in the car this week when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, and somehow, it put me back on track, because there seemed to be inherent hope in loneliness...somehow that's where the art is brewed.