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Amber Paulen


Social Networks for the Solitary

Reading Autobiography by John Cowper Powys, is as I’ve written here, like stepping into the raw eccentricities of a rare eccentric man. One element of his life, which always gets me as I’m reading along, is his unquestioning certainty in his “fetishes,” in his sadistic thoughts, in himself as a rare person in relation to other not so rare people. He takes no hesitation to declare himself full of malice, a misanthrope when he is; he bares no guilt for slinking off into the shadows, afraid of people and their faces. John Cowper Powys was as many writers were and are today, a thinking man, thoughts burgeoning in solitude.

Solitude is like ripe fertilizer for struggling ideas.

It doesn’t take any genius to figure out solitude is rare. Overpopulation and scheduled busyness keeps one running like a headless idiot from here to there. Give me the teenager who can spend two hours alone, no book, no computer, only the grave echo of his thoughts. Give me the adult who can spend two hours in complete silence, silence like the wind which passes over the chimney, there stirs a whistle in my soul.

I have been that teenager, I am that adult. The silence I find within me is so reassuring that there are no words for it. I wear solitude like some women wear evening gowns, proudly and in defiance. I do not shutter myself out from the “world at large” but expand to a world larger than what I could get from any conversation, any chance meeting, any book. Solitude is a rare gift.

Which brings me to online social networks. I’m trying Twitter. I’m trying Goodreads. I’m trying them for sheer shameless promotion. I’m not very good at them. They seem too comic to be true and another grand ole waste of precious time. But whatever… maybe you would like to join me?


I bought a bra with padding. My first bra with padding since a Wonderbra my mom gave me at a time when I wasn’t wearing bras at all. A Wonderbra does not make for smooth transition—from the free to the elements kind of a feeling to a confined and pumped-up kind of a feeling—I didn’t wear it much, except when I wanted to “experiment.” When I look back to those free to the elements days, years in fact, it is with slight envy, for to reproduce my carefreeness where bras are concerned would take some work, well, at least weeks of self-conscious bouncing and walking re-training. I bought a bra with padding.

The best days of my breasts were those days because they never crossed my mind. My memories do not harken me as a breasted woman; I was “free” in so many ways. To sunbathe topless is great joy for when one’s boobies are to the wind it is to experience them and to forget about them. To let yourself taste the sun as it streams the nipples; could it be better than a mouth? I thought so, as I laid up for the offering, it was a delicious freedom, some divine. To walk confident in bralessness is to be proud of breasts as they are yours.

I bought a bra with padding. And I like how it feels. All things to all times! Bralessness when held too staunchly has as much dogma as the constantly bulging. My point in all this is: hold nothing tightly. A loose grasp around our conceptions of ourselves, even boobies, is like the salve of sun on world-beaten days.


I’ve begun teaching english again. I like teaching english. It suits me. It reminds me of those old days gone by when students at university used to give academic lessons to help support their time. I didn’t even have to go look for kids to teach, they came to me. Work always finds me when I need it. I will not question why.


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