Cures for Loneliness

Welcome. I’ve been absorbed in tales of other people’s lives this week: a Times Magazine feature about the Princeton professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta, who sees classics as complicit in systemic injustice and is “advocating reforms that would ‘explode the canon’ and ‘overhaul the discipline from nuts to bolts.’” The Times documentary “Framing Britney,” about Britney Spears and the court-ordered conservatorship she’s been under since 2013. A story about the mental training of the Polish tennis player Iga Swiatek, a favorite at the Australian Open. A profile of the writer Patricia Lockwood, who has a new novel out next week.

It’s one of my salves for loneliness, going deep, learning about someone else’s life. It’s easy, especially now, 10 months into the pandemic, to feel like the world’s gotten small. Stories help. Whatever keeps you connected, curious and aware of the vastness of experience helps.

“I have started a blog, where I write stories from my everyday life and I share thoughts and incidents that I wish I could tell to the people I love in person,” wrote Eleni G. from Ann Arbor, Mich.

Podcasts help Carrie B. in Morton, Wash., feel less isolated: “If I’m knitting alone, I put on a knitting podcast (there are more of them than you might expect!). This transforms my knitting alone experience so I feel like I’m knitting with friends. There’s conversation going on, and we are all doing the same thing. If I’m cooking, I’ll listen to food podcasts to the same effect.”

Amanda B. in Manhattan Beach, Calif., sends notes from home: “During my weekly grocery run I pick up a few tourist postcards (or you can make them with everyday materials found at home). They are quick and easy to write, my loved ones enjoy getting a personalized note with a beautiful picture on the front and I feel more connected to that person.”

JoAnn R. is connecting with her past: “Having kept a journal since 1956, I’d always meant to transcribe them, and the pandemic seemed as good a time as any. It’s been like time travel. Many of my cast of characters are gone. So in that respect, I’ve felt like a magician: There they are, alive and well again. When I take a deep dive into the past, I’m young, married and rearing my children, traveling, working, all my dogs are alive and exuberant. My parents and friends speak comforting words just as they always did.”

P.S.

There’s a new season of the excellent anthology series “The Sinner.” Each season is a different mystery; the common thread is Bill Pullman as the quirky Detective Harry Ambrose. Season 3 is just as suspenseful and scary as the previous two.

Take a virtual hike on the Pacific Crest Trail from the U.S.-Mexico border to the U.S.-Canada border in just three minutes.

And there’s an entire community on Reddit where canned seafood enthusiasts show off their hauls of sardines, mackerel and cod liver. Have a look.

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