Solitude by Anthony Storr

Reading Notebook #27: What to Do When Your Existence May Need to Be Reappraised

From Solitude by Anthony Storr: The capacity to be alone is a valuable resource when changes of mental attitude are required. After major alterations in circumstances, fundamental reappraisal of the significance and meaning of existence may be needed. … Changes of attitude take time because our ways of thinking about life and ourselves so easily become […]

Jane Friedman (1994)

The Art of Losing Things Isn’t Hard to Master

I am very careless with my belongings. This past week, when I flew to NYC for Digital Book World, I left my purse and coat in the plane overhead bin. I walked right out of JFK after claiming my bags, climbed in a cab with a colleague, and it never occurred to me I didn’t […]

Bog Myrtle Beer & Irish Coffee Recipes

Upon arrival at the Irish farm in Kilgarvan, a bottle of homemade bog myrtle beer was waiting in the kitchen, as a welcoming gift. Apparently, bog myrtle leaves were used to flavor beer before hops became popular in Britain, and they are still used as a flavoring agent in Swedish spirits. (Bog myrtle leaves pictured […]

Inis Meain

Ireland 2009: All Experience Is an Arch

I returned home Monday night from a 3-week holiday in Ireland. (Read previous entries on this trip here and here.) A quick index of the trip: Canceled flights: 2 Delayed flights: 3 Re-routed itineraries: 1 Airport shutdowns: 1 Hotel shutdowns: 1 Road shutdowns: 1 Occurrences of lost luggage: 4 Unexpected nights spent in Dublin: 4 […]

Top 10 Moments on Inis Meain

1. Arrive at cottage late at night. The only heat source is the small stove in the living room. Unable to light a fire (run out of matches), so bundle up in coat, scarf, hat, and climb in bed under 3 layers of blankets. 2. Awake to pleasantly warm cottage (after taking off layers while […]

Immigration Officers and the Meaning of Existence

I wasn’t expecting trouble when I passed through immigration at the Dublin airport. I’m American, I’m privileged, and I look like I spend a lot of time reading indoors. I was the second person standing in the non-EU control line. The person ahead of me was a young guy who wasn’t wearing any shoes. Earlier, […]

Stone Shed in Ireland

My First Post (From Ireland)

On December 16, I left the United States for a 2-week vacation in Ireland. A key objective while I’m here (in the quiet and remote Aran Islands) is to rebuild my homepage. Good progress today.