On the Affinity between Souls


(ICE Cream) The images from the blog mentioned in this post look even lovelier. (Image sourced from Google.)

Today’s lovely gift: meandering through a blog recently recommended by my good friend, J.

The writer, a poet grieving the murder of her partner, finds consolation by crafting exquisite home-made ice cream—photos of which are generously interspersed among the entries. (I’ll repeat here what J. said: “Yeah, this person is real.”)

The prose is startlingly, painfully beautiful: the grief and longing radiating through the quiet simplicity of the writer’s lines. Some emotions infect me more easily than others: I’ve always found melancholy particularly contagious.

(Melancholy, yes, and its cousin-on-steroids, rage. The first is an affliction of the heart; the second, of the solar plexus. On the upside, at least I laugh easily too.)

Why I treasure these gifts of prose so much is that they’re a welcome invasion into my all-too-hermetic world. There was a time once when my attention was diverted into half-a-dozen unrelated pursuits: for better or worse, I was out-there-with-others rather than here-alone-in-my-head. While I’m happy now with the depth and texture of experience provided by actually focusing on one, single consuming passion—

—the loss of perspective from such a telescoped life can get a little…stifling sometimes.

So to be brought out (and to be brought into) another’s life through the sheer magnetism of words—even if the words paint pictures of loneliness, grief, anxiety and loss—and I say all this without belittling or justifying the writer’s pain in any way—there’s relief in it and the strange, wistful consolation born of realizing one’s essential affinity with others. We’re all living our telescoped little lives, absorbed in our solitary joys and solitary pains. It’s one function of art to make the loneliness less acute, to make us look up, to jolt us out of ourselves, to make us see the self in the other—or perhaps more accurately, to see the other as self.

So to the Lady Who is Cold, who writes of “ice cream and other cold beautiful things,” I read you. I hear you. And I understand.

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