All men are lonely. But sometimes it seems to me that we Americans are the loneliest of all. Our hunger for foreign places and new ways has been with us almost like a national disease. Our literature is stamped with a quality of longing and unrest, and our writers have been great wanderers.
It is a curious emotion, this certain homesickness I have in mind. With Americans, it is a national trait, as native to us as the roller-coaster or the jukebox. It is no simple longing for the home town or country of our birth. The emotion is Janus-faced: we are torn between a nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.
There’s nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book.
The mind is like a richly woven tapestry in which the colors are distilled from the experiences of the senses, and the design drawn from the convolutions of the intellect.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Cynthia Ozick American Novelist, Essayist
- Susan Sontag American Writer, Philosopher
- Kate Millet American Feminist, Writer, Sculptor
- Evelyn Scott American Novelist
- Dorothy Bryant American Novelist
- Joyce Carol Oates American Novelist
- Betty Smith American Author
- Zora Neale Hurston American Novelist
- Carrie Fisher American Actress
- Marjorie Kellogg American Author