I’ve finished reading May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude. Not sure where I saw this author/title–someone’s book list or blog or some such thing–but I found a super cheap copy on Amazon (like $.01) and thought I’d give Sarton a try.  I’d never heard of her.

Sarton young and oldHow could I have missed this giant of feminist writing?  As one reviewer has said,

“In 1973 Sarton produced one of her most influential books, Journal of a Solitude, written to counteract the benign picture projected in Plant Dreaming DeepJournal of a Solitude would become a key text in women’s studies courses, influencing generations of feminists and opening the doors to a wider reading audience. Of it Heilbrun wrote: “I would name 1972 as the turning point for modern women’s autobiography … the publication of Journal of a Solitude in 1973 may be acknowledged as the watershed in women’s autobiography.” Her novel, As We Are Now, published the same year, also made an impact by its stark depiction of how society treats the elderly.”

Reading Sarton is a lot like reading my own morning pages–they are all over the place emotionally:  up, down, joyful, depressed, chaotic, desperately wanting time alone to be, regretting the time out of loneliness.  I thought I was alone in these emotional roller coasters but now I wonder how many others are like us–Sarton and me–torn between the physical need for solitude and the emotional need for companionship.  To have both:  companionship with people who do not demand too much must be heavenly and celestial also in its rarity.

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