Learn About Yourself

I’m not even sure I understood how lonely I was. I had friends back in the real world, but I never asked anyone to visit me. On some level I still didn’t believe that I could be lonely, even though it was staring me in the face, all day and all night. I genuinely thought that because I wanted to be a writer, that made me different from other people: mysterious, self-contained, a lone wolf, Han Solo…

The weather got colder. The bathroom situation was becoming a problem: showering was a Shackletonian ordeal punctuated by a brief scalding interlude. I couldn’t afford to keep the rest of the house properly heated either, so I stayed in bed a lot, drinking Bailey’s straight from the bottle. The house began to be plagued by flies that seemed to live in the walls. They were dormant at night, probably because of the cold, but when the sun warmed them up they came buzzing out in hordes, and I spent hours stalking around the apartment swatting them. One night in December, when the temperature went down to 15 below, I took off all my clothes and ran around on the lawn naked just to see what it felt like.

Maine was trying to teach me something, but I was a slow learner. I thought I’d gone to Maine to face my demons and turn them into art, but it turned out that I couldn’t face them, and not only that I couldn’t even find them. I was trying to write about what I knew, which in itself probably wasn’t a bad idea, but I was mistaken about what that was. I thought that what I knew most about was myself, but I could not have been more wrong. I didn’t know the first thing about myself, and Maine wasn’t going to teach me. You don’t learn about yourself by being alone, you learn about yourself from other people.

Learn About Yourself

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