Monday, February 2, 2009
Acedia, me, and Kathleen Norris
It is no secret to people who know me that the end of last year was a struggle for me. I owe writer Kathleen Norris, and deceased poet W.H.Auden, enormous debts of gratitude for helping to rescue me from myself. I posted something from Auden that so beautifully captures the anti-climactic feeling that end of the Christmas holiday always brings, even from the time of being very young.
More than Auden's poetry, Norris' book Acedia & Me was a life raft. At a very human level it helped to me to realize, yet again, that my situation is not as unique as I like to flatter myself by thinking that it is. I was familiar with some of her other books, like Cloister Walk and Amazing Grace. I have not read either book. I almost read Cloister Walk after reading about it in Donald Miller's lovely book Blue Like Jazz, but did not. I still have a copy on my shelf. I came across Acedia & Me quite providentially.
Anyway, yesterday afternoon I was listening to the radio, to the program To The Best of Our Knowledge. The title of this installment is Alone Time. It was a remarkable show and I especially liked the interview with John Cacioppo, author of Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, wherein he explores how prevalent loneliness has become in the U.S. In the interview he discussed the distinction between solitude and loneliness.
The program also includes an interview with Kathleen Norris about acedia, which is well worth your time. It is in Realplayer format.