I'm safely ensconced in the "gite" in Auvillar, at the top of the hill, in a village built on 12th century walls. My students will start arriving over the weekend; they are coming to write poetry with me. Meanwhile, I go through several lifetimes in a day. In the morning, I write, and my aloneness is productive and fanciful. That's solitude, the cherished state for a writer.
In the afternoon, fatigued and alone, I am seized by intense feelings of isolation and even paranoia. Why hasn't my old friend Odette responded to my note? Did I offend her in some way? Why isn't Lucy inviting me to have coffee? Is she bored with me? Has she become so utterly French that now I am the simple American and she is the beautiful blue creature from Avatar?
Then I put on my bravery mask, go out the door into the 12th century village (with a cafe, creperie, and min-mart), and knock on Odette's door. She's home! She's happy to see me! Miracle of miracles, every day communion. We chat honestly and like two women who are long-lost friends, in French, sometimes writing things down. I am rescued by her warmth. I had no reason to fear the loss of her affection.
I stop by Christophe's and offer him a copy of Eluard signed to him and his amie. Tomorrow is his 50th birthday, but he doesn't tell me that. I find out from someone else (thank goodness.) He invites me over for drinks tomorrow night at his house.
I am being social and interacting in French. Tomorrow I will see Cheryl, I am invited to dinner at her house.
Still, left to myself I have moments of falling off the edge of the earth. And I think of my old friend May Sarton, of her Journal of a Solitude. And I write.
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.