Robert Hass has issues with Rilke. I have an issue about Hass having an issue with Rilke because I like them both. Anyway, here’s an epigraph courtesy of Rilke: “In the deepest and most important matters, we are unspeakably alone.”
It’s my second time to have a literary crush. Believe it or not, I budget my energy for literary crushes. They’re of the supersonic kind leaving myself breathless so I need intelligent allocation of that energy.
It’s different with my tendency to worship works, say of Gregorio Brillantes’ or of Plath’s. My regard toward Judith Butler is different, too, since her fighting arena is literary THEORY. She occupies a different niche.
The first crush is on Conchitina Cruz (*blush). I got tongue-tied when I saw her for the first time. I remain tongue-tied.
I’ve had puppy crushes back then, but only these two count.
The second one is on Tanya Davis.
I got to listen to her using MOG (via proxy, oh yes, suck it, a$$holes). It is only now that I discovered she’s on Youtube!
This girl is amazing, her writing is fresh, and she has a deep, sultry voice the kind that will lull tempestuous beasts in the bowels of the earth.
She has a Jodie Foster vibe.
And she values her solitude.
I love her work called Art and another titled How to be Alone. These two are my bibles.
She’s Canadian (Canadians are brilliant — Alanis, Alice Munro, Tanya Davis). She has a book out titled At First, Lonely. She’s one of only three spoken word artists I respect (most make me guffaw). She’s a poet laureate under Halifax, and she has albums out titled, Make a List, Clocks and Hearts Keep Going, and Gorgeous Morning.
I almost sacrificed my principles for someone utterly bad for my system of “alone” practices and mores. That person became proactive (for the first time) than I am and put an end to things.
I also know friends who are like me, but they’re still scared of taking that leap. They don’t know that when they leap, they’d be weightless, and for the first time, they’d feel how it is to fly.
How To Be Alone
by Tanya Davis
If you are at first lonely, be patient.
If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren’t okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find it’s fine to be alone once you’re embracing it.
We can start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library, where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books; you’re not supposed to talk much anyway so it’s safe there.
There is also the gym, if you’re shy, you can hang out with yourself and mirrors, you can put headphones in.
Then there’s public transportation, because we all gotta go places.
And there’s prayer and mediation, no one will think less if your hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.
Start simple. Things you may have previously avoided based on your avoid being alone principles.
The lunch counter, where you will be surrounded by “chow downers”, employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town, and they, like you, will be alone.
Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.
When you are comfortable with “eat lunch and run”, take yourself out for dinner; a restaurant with linen and Silverware. You’re no less an intriguing a person when you are eating solo desert and cleaning the whip cream from the dish with your finger. In fact, some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.
Go to the movies. Where it’s dark and soothing, alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.
And then take yourself out dancing, to a club where no one knows you, stand on the outside of the floor until the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one’s watching because they’re probably not. And if they are, assume it is with best human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats, is after all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you’re sweating. And beads of perspiration remind you of life’s best things. Down your back, like a book of blessings.
Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you. Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, there are always statues to talk to, and benches made for sitting gives strangers a shared existence if only for a minute, and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversation you get in by sitting alone on benches, might of never happened had you not been there by yourself.
Society is afraid of alone though. Like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements. Like people must have problems if after awhile nobody is dating them.
But lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless, and lonely is healing if you make it.
You can stand swathed by groups and mobs or hands with your partner, look both further and farther in the endless quest for company.
But no one is in your head. And by the time you translate your thoughts an essence of them maybe lost or perhaps it is just kept. Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those “sappy slogans” from pre-school over to high school groaning, we’re tokens for holding the lonely at bay.
Cause if you’re happy in your head, then solitude is blessed, and alone is okay.
It’s okay if no one believes like you, all experiences are unique, no one has the same synapses, can’t think like you, for this be relieved, keeps things interesting, life’s magic things in reach, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t connected, and the community is not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it.
Take silence and respect it.
If you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it, if your family doesn’t get you or a religious sect is not meant for you, don’t obsess about it.
You could be in an instant surrounded if you need it.
If your heart is bleeding, make the best of it.
There is heat in freezing, be a testament.
How to be Alone
Where the Ocean Meets the Greenery