In praise of solitude

Aloneness can be fulfilling and it is different from the ache of loneliness

On Sunday afternoon, solitude in the shade. Curtains drawn, legs stretched onto a table, book unfolded. No talking, only words as companion. Pages are allowed to rustle, phones have no permission to ring.

This solitary life is a calming place, a contented space that lies somewhere between the hectic hordes and loneliness. It's a retreat and yet it's not isolation. My tribe is not reclusive like J.D. Salinger, of whom it was once written in The New York Times, "For years it was a sort of journalistic sport for newspapers and magazines to send reporters to New Hampshire in hopes of a sighting."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 12, 2020, with the headline 'In praise of solitude'. Subscribe