Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Teaser Tuesday 320: Journal of a Solitude

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

As many of you know, I rarely read nonfiction. While some people love memoirs and biographies, or dull and heavy histories, I am not one of those people. However, when I stumbled across a copy of Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton in the bookstore clearance section, there was something about it that caught my attention. Sarton published a number of her journals, this one spanning a year in her life as she approached age 60.

Begin here. It is raining. I look out on the maple, where a few leaves have turned yellow, and listen to Punch, the parrot, talking to himself and the rain ticking gently against the windows. I am here alone for the first time in weeks, to take up my "real" life again at last. That is what is strange—that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened. Without the interruptions, nourishing and maddening, this life would become arid. Yet I taste it fully only when I am alone here and "the house and I resume old conversations."

(Opening paragraph)


"I am here alone for the first time in weeks," May Sarton begins this book, "That is what is strange—that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened.” In this journal, she says “I hope to break through into rough, rocky depths, to the matrix itself. There is violence there and anger never resolved. My need to be alone is balanced against my fear of what will happen when suddenly I enter the huge empty silence if I cannot find support there."

In this, her bestselling journal, May Sarton writes with keen observation and emotional courage of both inner and outer words: a garden, the seasons, daily life in New Hampshire, books, people, ideas—and throughout everything, her spiritual and artistic journey. In this book, we are closer to the marrow than ever before in May Sarton’s writing.

"This journal is not only rich in the love of nature and the love of solitude. It is an honorable confession of the writer’s faults, fears, sadnesses, and disappointments. . . On the surface, Journal of a Solitude is a quiet book, but if you will read it carefully you will be aware of violent needs and a valiant warrior who has battled every inch of the way to a share of serenity. This is a beautiful book, wise and warm within its solitude."
—Eugenia Thornton, Cleveland Plain Dealer

May Sarton’s other journals in Norton paperback include After the Stroke, At Seventy, The House by the Sea, Plant Dreaming Deep, and Recovering.


Alice Audrey said...

It's like a treatise on the value of introspection over the un-examined life. Only more human.

Heather said...

There was a lot of introspection in this one, as you might expect from a journal. Well, a lot more than you'll find in any of my journals.