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Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton

Journal of a Solitude (original 1973; edition 1992)

by May Sarton

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7191013,085 (3.97)14
Title:Journal of a Solitude
Authors:May Sarton
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (1992), Paperback, 208 pages

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Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton (1973)



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There were lots of things here that really interested me, from Sarton's analysis of her own often turbulent feelings to her comments on poetry, on women's lives, and on her meetings with Carolyn Heilbrun. Overall, I didn't enjoy it as much as I did Plant Dreaming Deep -- both, I think, show the good and bad of living alone, but there was something less satisfying about this one -- it felt more like something she set out to write than like something with its own integrity.
  rmaitzen | Feb 7, 2014 |
perhaps a more difficult person than she portrayed herself. i empathized about gardening. the results are so great, the animals such a hateful nuisance, the work so tiring and sore-inducing that winter is a great reprieve. i often wondered why i persevered. ( )
  mahallett | Mar 14, 2013 |
I would have enjoyed this volume more had I not first read the Sarton biography by Peters, I think. Peters was so unforgiving of Sarton's human failings.

This volume doesn't minimize those shortcomings altogether, but they nevertheless remained always in the background as I read. I will read another volume, but not for a while. Too many other books stacked by my bed. ( )
  kaulsu | Jul 20, 2012 |
A journal that is looking for honesty. Sarton is facing life in general, growing into her 60s, and trying to understand the most precious things around her. Friends, writers, lovers...mix up in a book that turns into a healing process. "One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious" in Jung's words (p.110). Worth reading for the peace of mind as well as the awareness that we are deeply rooted in the consciousness of our past. ( )
  parker793 | Jun 11, 2011 |
This is a strange book. May Sarton is a writer/poet who lives alone in New England. While this is supposed to be the diary of a year in her solitary life, she sure has a lot of friends and visitors for being a self-proclaimed "solitude". She spends a lot of time gardening and caring for a stray cat and taking care of her bird. I wondered how she had money to go away and just live alone and write.

I could relate to the author's desire to spend time alone, because it often feels to me that to feel fulfilled as a writer or even a reader, I have to isolate myself and spend a lot of time--maybe too much time--in my head. Ms. Sarton writes, "That is what is strange--that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened. Without the interruptions, nourishing and maddening, this life would become arid. yet I taste it fully only when I am alone here and the house and I resume old conversations." I too have often marveled that even the most exciting adventures only seem real to me when I can relive them in private, with time to think and reflect on my own. I too am an introvert like Ms. Sarton and times I feel like this: "For a long time now, every meeting with another human being has been a collision. I feel too much, sense too much, am exhausted by the reverberations after even the simplest conversation. But the deep collision is and has been with my unregenerate, tormenting, and tormented self. I have written every poem, every novel, for the same purpose--to find out what I think, to know where I stand. I am unable to become what I see. I feel like an inadequate machine, a machine that breaks down at crucial moments, grinds to a dreadful halt, 'won't go,' or, even worse, explodes in some innocent person's face."

The good thing about this book is that it details the life of a writer. I always like reading about writers and this book is no exception, although I hadn't heard of Ms. Sarton or her writings before I read this book. She comes across as arrogant and whiny at times, when she wonders why her works haven't won more recognition or popularity and she belittles the works of other writers. People who like nature and gardening would also like this book.

The bad thing about this book is that it has the tendency to become boring and repetitive. I pushed through and because it was a short book and I could relate to the parts about writing and living a solitary life. I finished it and enjoyed it for what it was but at this point I don't really have a desire to read anything else by Ms. Sarton. I give this book two and half stars. ( )
  voracia | Jul 27, 2010 |
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