Anonymous asked: Just one, as far as I know. But you seem the solitary type.
To pinch a line from Morrissey (Reel Around the Fountain), you’re ‘half-right.’ I am fairly solitary, yes. But I’m not one of those chaps with ginger whiskers and a funny walk, nervously twitchy mannerisms who you just know is feverishly manufacturing a new kind of atomic bomb in his garden-shed; I do have friends (don’t you know), I do go out into the world, I do, to lift from the Bard, ‘cake and ale.’
My job requires solitude (academic research, editing), my passion requires solitude (writing, key-bashing, banging my head against my desk until it, or I, or both, bleed), and one of my chief sources of pleasure requires solitude (ever tried to read while someone in the same room is talking, breathing, observing universal Newtonian laws?). Besides – I never really see it as solitude. I’m not alone while I read, in fact you could argue that it’s the antithesis of being alone. When you read a novel – now bear with me, it may get a little plangent and lyrical around here for a moment – when you read a novel you’re communing with the author, yet the difference is that you’re only getting the author’s very best. You’re sitting down with another person for six, eight, thirteen, seventeen hours! more sometimes; seventeen hours with one person, and it’s their very best that they’re giving to you: a polished, refined and thought-intense conversation that takes you seventeen hours to hear, and took them an entire life of experience to speak. I’d hardly call that alone.
Incidentally – I don’t really have an answer to the hearts questions: I don’t really think it works like that. People get hurt, with various levels of severity; and I think you can never really know how severe you’ve hurt someone. Think of you yourself: you keep secrets, secrets of secret wounds; the minor slight, the little episode, the trivial memory that somehow lingers thickly in your memory, that for you alone still causes you to wince and recoil, audibly gasp and groan whenever you think of it; and then there’s the major upheaval, the family shaking catastrophe that, to your surprise, you dealt with with relative equanimity. Most people are like that.
Know this: there’s someone out there, more probably, that you’ve been kind or cruel to without ever knowing. We can only really ever endeavour to be careful with other people’s feelings, yet all the time being careful not to arrest ourselves and the moment: after all, there’s something to be said for shadow and verve. After all, there’s something to be said for being yourself.
It’s a tightrope Spud, it’s a fucking tightrope. Sure.
… a springlike enchantment! And don’t think I’m talking about anything else but love in its strictly bodily sense. Even so, it is the domain of a chosen few.
- Alexander Kuprin.
Anonymous asked: what does love feel like?
… ever had a jam sandwich?
First of all, love is a joint experience between two persons – but the fact that it is a joint experience does not mean that it is a similar experience to the two people involved. There are the loved and the beloved, but these two come from different countries. Often the beloved is only a stimulus for all the stored-up love which has lain quiet within the lover for a long time hitherto. And somehow every lover knows this. He feels in his soul that his love is a solitary thing. He comes to know a new, strange loneliness and it is this knowledge which makes him suffer. So there is only one thing for the lover to do. He must house his love within himself as best he can; he must create for himself a whole new inward world – a world intense and strange, complete in himself…
…Therefore, the value and quality of any love is determined solely by the lover himself.
It is for this reason that most of us would rather love than be loved. Almost everyone wants to be the lover. And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being beloved is intolerable to many. The beloved fears and hates the lover, and with the best of reasons. For the lover is forever trying to strip bare his beloved. The lover craves any possible relation with the beloved, even if this experience can only cause him pain.