“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
— F. Scott Fitzgerald
I discovered this quote on good old Tumblr (You can find me here, if you’re interested), and I couldn’t restrain myself from whisper-shouting, “YES!!!”
All of us, at some point in our lives, have felt disconnected. Like there was nobody out there who could understand our thoughts, our actions, our inner lives… and there was absolutely no way we could verbalize them. And then along would come a book, be it a novel, a memoir, a biography, or even a scientific journal, that reached out and grabbed us by the shoulder, looked into our eyes, and said, “You’re not alone.”
For me, Mark Haddon’s incredible novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time does it every time. Not because I struggle with autism, or even with a broken family, but simply because it is about a human triumphing over circumstances they have difficulty understanding, and then simply getting on with life, because that’s what you have to do.
Another author that encourages me in this way is P.G. Wodehouse, because he saw the silliness of the world, and delighted in it.
It makes me so grateful to the authors who struggled to put their own longings and loneliness into words, or were observant enough to translate them for other people.
Maybe that is part of the reason why we write. To put into words the things that are so hard to express. To reach out to another person, even hundreds of years after our time, and find a connection with them.
What books, authors, or even songs or movies, have made you feel like you weren’t alone?