Romanticized Loneliness

Love in Lowercase by Francesc Miralles.

Book 36/50 for 2018 – doesn’t look like I’ll make my 50 book goal….

I adored the beginning half of Love in Lowercase. A solitary literature professor filling his quiet hours with classical music, tidying up, and reading. If you add in some crochet, that is my dream escape!

I lost the thread of the story during the second half. The gist is that all kinds of little mundane choices make up a life. Let a cat into your life and it sets in motion an escape from peaceful solitude. The butterfly effect.

I lived alone in my twenties. I rented a small ground floor apartment walking distance from the Skytrain and MetroTown mall. A vaguely creepy guy lived a few doors down but he didn’t give me any trouble. He might have just been lonely and akward.

I worked at a trucking company. I had a quiet back desk where I entered accounting data and printed reports and filed files. It was predictable, routine, and just slightly social.

After work, I would pick up a few groceries and sometimes a Bubble Tea. As I walked home I could faintly hear someone practicing violin. The notes would float onto the sidewalk and serenade me as I made my way home in the dusk.

I spent my evenings cooking, reading, cleaning, watching TV or surfing dating sites online.

On Saturdays, I would browse around the library, walk in the park, go shopping at the mall, drink coffee with biscotti at the cafe.

I vaguely remember feeling lonely, restless, bored. Mostly, I remember quiet.

In my forties, I am now married and have four children. I have a father-in-law that I care for. I have aging parents that will need my care soon. I volunteer at the kid’s school. Our family has our fair share of mental illnesses and different abilities. I am not lonely. I am rarely alone! It is easy to look back on those quiet days and remember only peace and solitude and simplicity and sushi and violins in the rain at dusk.


Rabbit Trails

Peter Abélard

Insomnia leads me down many rabbit trails. After a day of too much rest there was an evening of not enough sleep. Browsing apps, I downloaded LibriVox and Gutenberg. LibriVox is free audiobooks in the public domain. Classics and old radio shows and a huge assortment of old books. Gutenberg is the print version. Somehow I stumbled upon a many volumed collection called the “Library of the World’s Best Literature – Ancient and Modern.” I’m a sucker for huge collections. A quick glance reveals that the collection is in alphabetical order like an encyclopedia. Each entry begins with an essay and follows with a selection of writings. I like to start at the beginning of things so I listened to a biographical essay on Abélard.

Thoughts on Abélard:

  1. He was undoubtably brilliant. He challenged long held beliefs of religion which got him in trouble. People do not like their beliefs messed with even if they are proven to be irrational. Not much has changed.
  2. He succumbed to his own ego. He was handsome and smart and proud. Time to get a lady. He set his sights on his pupil Heloise. Apparently their love letters are historical. I haven’t read them yet. I do wish people still wrote letters.
  3. Life was brutal then. Heloise’s uncle objected to Abélard and had him castrated. Castrated! I suppose that qualifies him for the #himtoo movement.  Although, there is speculation that the uncle had good reason for revenge.

Since rabbit trails lead to more rabbit trails, I’ve requested from my library “The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily” by Laura Creedle.  This book really intrigues me as it deals with ADHD and ASD.

Also, because rabbit trails….