…you must not let yourself be diverted out of your solitude by the fact that something in you wants to escape from it. Precisely this desire, if you use it calmly and judiciously, as a kind of tool, will help you to extend your solitude over a greater expanse of ground. People have tended (with the help of conventions) to resolve everything in the direction of easiness, of the light, and on the lightest side of the light; but it is clear that we must hold to the heavy, the difficult. All living things do this, everything in nature grows and defends itself according to its kind and is a distinct creature from out of its own resources, strives to be so at any cost and in the face of all resistance. We know little, but that we must hold fast to what is difficult is a certainty that will never forsake us. It is good to be alone, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult should be one more reason to do it.—Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Charlie Louth)
—found in Letters to a Young Poet (written 1902-1908; first published 1929; this translation 2011)
monophobia · /mah-nuh-FOE-bee-uh/ · /mɒnəʊˈfəʊbɪə/. noun. A severe, even morbid fear of being alone. Also, a generic term for a single, simple or specific phobia. From Greek mono- (alone, single, sole, only) + -phobia (a fear of, or aversion to, something). See also: eremophobia, isolophobia.[Read more…]
- There’s hope for the pandas → Finally, Some Privacy: After 10 Years, Giant Pandas Mate in Shuttered Zoo … and for us? → Thanks to COVID-19, Internet-Connected Sex Toy Sales Are Booming
- It turns out tunnel-boring machines are far from, well, boring. → Meet the Most Interesting Tunnel Boring Machines
- A promising early experiment that may become more important than ever. → A Brain Stimulation Experiment Relieved Depression in Nearly All of Its Participants | Paradoxical pairing: If You Have Anxiety and Depression but Feel Better During Coronavirus, You’re Not Alone
- If you’re an introvert jonesing for some of the stress of extroverting, Hyphal Mesh has you covered, every Tuesday at 12:30 PT / 3:30 ET.
- Paper-Bag Masks from 50 Years Ago
- People are finding delight in all kinds of things right now. Is it time to discover delight in the dead?
- The Letterform Archive is a (well) “curated collection of over 50,000 items related to lettering, typography, calligraphy, and graphic design.” And now the online archive is open to all.
- Some long(ish) reads: The Mortician and the Murderer | a bank-robbing Olympic cyclist naturally uses his bike as a getaway vehicle | The highly unusual company behind Sriracha, the world’s coolest hot sauce | How a tiny endangered species put a man in prison | The Crazy True Story of the Zanesville Zoo Escape
- Get ’em in your ears: NPR’s updated list of virtual concerts of all kinds | the Cabin Fever Tunes schedule of folk/country/americana livestreams | Nightly Met Opera streams. And your eyes: The Art Of Quarantine | Unraveling the Mysteries of Ancient Egypt’s Spellbinding Mummy Portraits | Jonathan Harris’ works. And a bit of both with the ongoing Social Distancing Festival.
- Today in 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into space on a voyage lasting 108 minutes. At lift-off, Gagarin spoke to ground control, saying “Off we go! Goodbye, until [we meet] soon, dear friends!” The first phrase, Poyekhali! in Russian (listen to it)—popularly translated as “Let’s go!” or “We’re off!”—became a popular phrase that is now a regular part of the Russian lexicon. See also: a ► 5-minute mini-documentary of the historic event, a nice piece on how Gagarin inspired Soviet design, Poyekhali! Gagarin cut, a collaboration between composer Úlfur Eldjárn and filmmaker Christopher Riley celebrating astronaut Tim Peake’s first orbit of Earth in 2015, and the finally-revealed true story of Gagarin’s death in 1968.
I don’t know what ► Paulette Traverso’s Messages from Quarantine is, exactly, but its surreal-y, dada-esque silence fits my headspace right now.