Its difficult to articulate feelings and thoughts in times like this. So alien and foreign to anything yet experienced. While we are all in this boat, its challenging to look outside of its crumbling structure to try and find momentary solace.
One of the things that I have been doing recently, in order to ‘get out’ mentally, is to read more essays. Not the overly academic type, which I’ve grown accustomed to during my university days (which, though they feel over, they are not), but the personal essay, the essay observing our times and experiences.
I would like to say that I read a lot, that I read for personal pleasure, but thats not been the case. I used to, when I was a child, living at home, I couldn’t stop reading. But I’ve found over the last few years, I’ve become a summer reader; savouring the luxury of long summer days to turn the pages of a book I have chosen to sit with and not one I’ve had to read for course-work. The thing is, its not summer yet, but I have found myself reading more.
Disappearing into the words of Olivia Laing, she captures and carries you away momentarily in a small bubble of hope. Her other works, such as The Lonely City, is also incredibly apt for these turbulent days. If you have not yet read it, please do. The book beautifully brings you on a journey of examination, drawing the line between being alone and being lonely; while also giving you a language you didn’t think you needed. She shows you a way understanding and reckoning with loneliness through the artists, like Edward Hopper or David Wojnarowicz. Hopper like so many have observed seems to have taken on a new degree of relevance in these socially distanced times.
Man Repeller is also a place where you can get lost in. An internet bubble of entertainment, thoughts and a good scroll. One of the articles I found most relatable was the ode to personal blog by Harling Ross. Harling seems to find a way to satisfy the desire of consumption, to write something that when you reach the end you are happy to just sit for a moment. She scratches the itch of looking for content to read, and content that adequately satisfies my curiosity. Give her a read, you won’t be dissapointed.
Happen to have gone home, weathering the storm under your parent’s roof? Maybe. Well, I have. And I had mixed feelings. I’m so lucky to be able to go home to a house full of my lovely family. But, there is something about leaving your adult life, I find its like living in a weird limbo. Anyways, there’s a great New Yorker Haiku that captures some of those feelings a- not an essay but a worthy candidate all the same.
I’ll leave you here.
I hope that wherever these words find you, that you are safe and well. Stay sane, this will pass (at some point).
Till next time.