Mar 25, 09
Read in September, 1997
A favorite passage from this book:
"Before coming to the Tamanawis I'd believed that solitude was a cure-all, a psychic panacea, an invisible knife certain to cut me clear ...; I'd believed that solitude would free me and, alone and independent, I would make myself into the person I wanted to be. But solitude, I found, was no guarantee of anything. Day after day, I stood alone ... and Presto! a swarm of hobgoblins came scuttling into my skull, hunkered down like hobos under a bridge and proceeded to yammer at the tops of their lungs! One voice would belt out some facile ditty ...; a second would join in with obscene or idiotic scraps of doggerel, trying to drown out the first; the third was my critic, pitching me shit, calling me names, giving me grief over every[thing:]. This one had a brother, the Whiner and most obnoxious of all, the Gloater. I was free. I was alone. It was hell. The confusion, the misery, the stupidity -- all of it followed me from Portland to the Tamanawis, and in the quiet it grew fecund and multiplied. It came from nobody but me.
And so I learned what solitude really was. It was raw material -- awesome, malleable, older than men or worlds or water. And it was merciless -- for it let a man become precisely what he alone made of himself. One either needed wisdom or tree-bark insensitivity to confront such a fearsome freedom."