lives of writers and my own
Once again there's been too much time between entries. But I've been to Fayetteville, AR and the Turks and Caicos in between so I'll pretend I have an excuse. The work in Arkansas was the second and final phase in a cataloging job for the appraisal of a major literary archive. The work is quiet but focussed, and it's always interesting to see how immersion in the daily creations of writers, artists and other thinkers can impact my own ideas about a well-lived life. One thing that struck me while working was the need of this writer for both extreme isolation and, simulataeously, for true companionship. I found my self longing for my little place in Maine, no tv, a competently equiped kitchen and my library. At the same time I admired the deep literary friendships expressed in his correspondence, the ability to communicate in relative honesty about writing, struggles, politics and of course, sex and sustenance.
The isolation is relative, although I find myself leaning more and more toward a severe form of isolation which may involve moats. A few acres will likely do just fine. On the literary companionship front, all of my efforts to develop literary correspondences with my hard reading friends generally never get off the ground or quickly stall for the usual reasons: lack of time, other diversions, conflicting schedules. Another thing I've noticed is that none of us has the same, or even a remotely similar, reading list. Samantha and I both read fiction and food history books, but it's rare that we have both read the same titles. Dennis the poet and I both spend many hours reading verse, but it may be only one book out of ten or more that we both digest. Is this a modern condition? Or is it just an illusion that in previous eras there was a good chance that reading was a more commonly shared experience?