This post has been outsourced to Doris Grumbach and my husband.
I'm reading Fifty Days of Solitude by Doris Grumbach for the second or third time.
In describing her self-imposed seclusion, she writes:
There was a reward for this deprivation. The absence of other voices compelled to listen more intently to the inner one. I became aware that the interior voice, so often before stifled or stilled entirely by what I thought others wanted to hear, or what I considered to be socially acceptable, grew gratifyingly louder, more insistent.
It was not that it spoke great truths or made important observations. No. It simply reminded me that it was present, saying what I had not heard it say in quite this way before. It began to point out the significance of the inconsequential, of what I had overlooked in my hunger for what I had always before considered to be the important, the Big Things. The noise of the world suddenly shrank to what this new voice told me, and I became aware that, with nothing to interrupt it, it now commanded my entire attention.
When I first read this book back in the late 1990s, Grumbach's solitude seemed quaint. Now it seems like a relic from a forgotten time. Could a writer, in this day and age, cut off all social contact for fifty days, online and otherwise? One or the other, sure. But both?
You'd have to ease out gradually over the course of a few days, lest you give yourself a social version of the bends.
"Does gradually mean the same thing as slowly?" I ask my husband.
"How about you slowly read me the sentence while I gradually give a shit less?"
"That's going in my blog post."
"No, don't write that. You can only write that if you explain that I'm being funny. You should just ask me questions. Then I could write an entire funny blog post for you."
"OK. What is it that you like most about your wife?"
"I like when she writes her own blog posts."
We decided on "gradually."