Sometimes a long time is needed to think . . . also, a quote from Christopher Kimball about loneliness

I haven’t posted to C Good’s Things since last July, almost 8 months ago. For those of you still subscribing, thank you for your patience.

Over the last six years I’ve had a number of encounters with people who talk a lot, say a lot, and pick and choose what they meant and when they meant it and what was a joke and what wasn’t.

They don’t mean what they say, they don’t say what they mean, the shout their discontents from the rooftops and the good things in their lives they acknowledge only when muttering in corners.

And always Always ALWAYS the endless talking. None of which they are willing to be held to or even acknowledge saying the next day. Or maybe they did say it, but they didn’t actually mean it. It was just a thought. Just a very good question. Someone else told them they should think that, it wasn’t their fault. It was just a joke — and yes, maybe it was said in a serious setting setting, during a serious conversation, and was said in a serious and sincere tone of voice — but they didn’t think anyone else would actually think they were serious and MEANT it!

As a result, I gradually started talking less and less. What was the point? . . . Which translated into writing less and less, and here I am now looking at this blog thinking “wow, 10 months????”

A reason is not an excuse, and the jackassery of a few people is neither a good reason nor a good excuse to slowly drift away from everyone else. So I am starting to write more again.

I still don’t talk as much as I used to. I found during the last year of silence that the less I talk the more I actually do. And I prefer the doing to the talking.

But one of the things I will be doing is writing more here.


Which brings me to a quote from Christopher Kimball. He is the founder and editor of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, which is an awesome cooking magazine if you’ve never checked it out before. He writes an editorial for each issue, and over the last couple years that editorial has become the first thing I read when an issue comes in the mail.

From the January and February 2015 issue:

“Hence this paean to loneliness. To being in the woods and not quite knowing what lies over the next ridge. To riding a tractor in August, looking up, and seeing red-tailed hawks soaring on thermals. To waking up in the middle of the night, alone, in an old farmhouse, with the sound of pipes banging. To the disquiet of the unfamiliar. To what you don’t know and never will. To the phone not ringing. To the end of email. To standing in the falling snow in late afternoon, listening to the distant baying of a beagle chasing a rabbit. To trying something for the first time. To being unsure of yourself. To getting lost. To trying and failing.

Some of us have a true fondness for being alone. I have been alone in barns during thunderstorms so powerful that harnesses rattled on their hooks. I have fished alone in pools beneath waterfalls in remote pine forests with only half-light dappled on the water. I have driven the panhandle of Texas alone at night, jackrabbits and headlights for company. I have sat in tree stands, alone, before sunrise, in biting cold, the light above the mountain developing slowly, turning from sepia to watercolor. And I have been alone in the half-light of subway platforms in New York, midnight having passed, waiting desperately for the rumble of the next train.

Loneliness is called a disease. But older generations understood that one is poor company without loneliness as a companion. Loneliness sharpens the wits, makes on discriminate in the choice of words, and increases the appetite for fellowship. It gives one pause before speaking, puts a spring in the step, quiets the inner voice, and gives one the balance needed to survive the ups and downs of life with equanimity.

To paraphrase Nietzsche, one should struggle to avoid being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning oneself.”

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