On Loneliness (aloneness)

Spending so much time by myself and not talking to anyone gets kind of lonely. I am here for my second weekend. It is nice to have a different schedule with nothing to do, but I find myself alone. It is quiet and I miss the outdoors and the woods and the peace and the solitude that I have come to be so spoiled with in the states and at out land in Naples, NY in particular. I do enjoy the time, but I do feel alone. Quiet and alone. I really have no one to talk to but this machine. My house mate Francesco is great but also independent with may of his own things and friends and goings' on. All around me there is activity and people and noise and stuff alive and sharing and moving. I feel, especially during weekends, isolated and in my own world or as though I am in an enclosed spear. I feel that no one really sees me and I move through the environment alone, like I have just lost a loved one, or lost my way home to my family and loved ones.

It is quite curious, and lonely, and good, and bad, and great, and terrible, and isolated. To an extreme, I feel as though I have voluntarily put my self in isolation. I have banished myself from my world, social environment and most of what I know and appreciate. I must wonder, and I am sure I will wonder more, especially during the darkest parts of the winter, what have I done to myself. In an extreme way I can appreciate what the monks spending their lives in the caves feel like.

I had the good fortune to meet an Italian photographer from Tuscany this week named Roberto Salbitani. He is in town teaching a workshop and we have spent a few good hours together talking about many things. During one of our discussions over coffee he said that he lives alone and really needs to live alone. He went on to say that at times he is lonely, but that feeling and working with it is a really good teacher for him. Being alone forces him get closer to his own personal philosophies and psyche. Being alone removes all of the stimuli that we are bombarded with in everyday life. It gets us closer to who we are and what we think, and what we believe. For me right now I can really use this thought and thank him for giving me this valuable information at a very necessary time. Just writing this makes me feel better.

Roberto is quite a fascinating man. He seems to be a recluse. Living out in the quiet beauty of the hills of Tuscany. A photographer and, as I understand, a writer. We connected through the soul. We share attitudes about living and creation and being creative. His teaching is about photography as a way of life.

I was there in the next room at the Cineteca while he was teaching and I was invited to sit in while he showed his work. Most of it was talk more than show, but I got the message. It came through loud and clear in a different language (and I do not mean Italian). Knowing nothing about him I got the message, the feeling, and the soul of the man.