Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Quotes: On lonerism

When geniuses self-isolate:

Peter Higgs is not a fan of modern technology, said Decca Aitkenhead in The Guardian (U.K.) The British theoretical physicist, 84, is so consumed with work that he has never sent an email, looked at the Internet, or used a cellphone. He's so cut off from modes of modern communication that he didn't know he'd won this year's Nobel Prize in physics--for his 1964 paper predicting the Higgs boson, which imbues other particles with mass--until a neighbor congratulated him on the street. His son did buy him a mobile phone two months ago, but he has yet to make a call, and no one outside his family knows his number. "I resent being disturbed in this way," says Higgs. "Why should people be able to interrupt me like that?" Because they want to keep in touch? "But I don't want to be in touch," he laughs. It's an intrusion into my way of life, and certainly on principle I don't feel obliged to accept it."
"The hermit physicist." The Week, Dec. 27, 2013. p. 8.

Anneli Rufus noted that the psychopath warning list usually includes isolation/loner:

Yeah, but that could also be on a list of ways to identify a genius.
Anneli Rufus. Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto. Da Capo Press, 2003. p. 259.

On needing privacy for the creative process:

When I went upstairs a third time--the Bunker bathroom needed extra toilet paper--This Guy said, without looking up, "Go the fuck downstairs and write already."
So I did. I emerged toward dawn and slid into bed next to him with immense gratitude. In the morning, I told him I'd forgotten he was there.
"The ultimate compliment," he said.
I think you can balance writing and a relationship. It helps to have a room of your own...
"The Writer's Life: Advice from the Bunker." Jenna Blum. The Grub Street Free Press. Fall 2004. Vol 1, Issue 2. p. 13.
"'When I talk about my work,' she once told me 'it skids and shatters and gets away.' To this day, I never ask a writer what he or she is 'doing.'"
Perdita Schaffner (daughter of the author). In the introduction to H. D. [Hilda Doolittle] The Gift. New York: New Directions, 1982. p. x.

On occasionally seeking company:

"But you're not a child and don't have a child's needs," he said without a trace of admonition. "A child is in danger without company because it's helpless, but an adult has access to any need imaginable: food, medicine, companionship. All an adult has to do is to pick up the phone and call a doctor or drive to the supermarket or meet a friend for coffee."
Barbara Feldon. Living Alone and Loving It: A Guide to Relishing the Single Life. New York: Fireside, 2003. pp. 22-23.
“Here is a student, the interviewer told the Harvard admissions committee in his report about the conversation, ‘who has 'fit in' in two places in a short time, and is not a loner (in a circumstance where it could easily happen).’"
Julie Zauzmer. Conning Harvard. Guilford, Conn.: Lyons Press, 2012. p. 57

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