On One Year of The Gay Recluse: The Ongoing Bliss and Sorrow of Urban Solitude


In which The Gay Recluse is officially one year old.

So guess what! We made it through an entire year.

For us, that meant 696 posts, 549 comments, 95 categories, 2,617 tags and 96,339 total views.

It’s true that we were a traffic whore at times.

Which we don’t regret, but lately we haven’t had the impulse.

The election, the financial crisis, the terrorists, the thuggish teenagers on the subway who last night aggressively told us we looked like the only other white guy on the train…so many things seem to lead to one conclusion: this is one of the worst times to be alive.

But then again, we saw Salome last night at the Metropolitan Opera.

The music was lush and percussive, yet — like the story of the sadistic princess who craves love at any cost — jarring and deranged.

Much like the city itself. (Which is why we make the rest of the country nervous.)

But when it ended, we felt exhilarated, and not all that bothered by the teenagers or the fact that it took an hour to get home when the subway door wouldn’t close at 116th Street.

Everyone should have the chance to live in the city for at least a little while, to understand not only its allure but its danger, the irrepressible energy and the ceaseless, maddening abrasion. Then they — and you know who we’re talking about, of course — might not want to slaughter us.

We slept, and our dreams were filled with anticipation.

As we considered what one year has brought, and what another has yet to bring.

We begin by noting that — even more than “freedom” — the word “community” has entered a new and perhaps unprecedented level of (mis)use from which the gay recluse will wish to completely disassociate himself. Particularly noxious are those forms of community — e.g., the gay community, the Irish community, the international community — regularly employed by politicians and reporters in the superficial and facile analysis that is the order of the day. We will not dwell on this extensively except to say that our most fundamental desire is for a community-free existence, one in which we always strive to remain immune to any such categorization, no matter how politically expedient, e.g., “The gay community expressed its pleasure at the election of Geraldine Ferraro to the United States Senate.” Exceptions will naturally be made for those communities defined not by tiresome categories of race, religion, class, location or — worst of all — nationality, but by a shared fondness for certain plants — particularly the alpine variety — animals, dying art forms such as the grand opera, and modes of public transportation, such as the D-train, e.g., “The D-train community has been perplexed by the stunning and inexplicable decline in service over the past few years, which has resulted in the serious deterioration of a once-vaunted line to a mere shadow of its former self.”

–The Gay Recluse, On The Desire for a Community-Free Existence, September 20, 2007

6 Responses to “On One Year of The Gay Recluse: The Ongoing Bliss and Sorrow of Urban Solitude”

  1. 1 Atherton Bartelby

    What a poignant reflection on your first blogiversary and life in the city; beautiful.

    (Although I will, however, admit to being slightly jealous of your site statistics, which far surpass my own first blogiversary of this past 22 January. *smile*)

  2. you should not be alone. you are too good.

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Atherton and Kirsten — much appreciated…

  4. Congratulations and ditto to both comments. I really enjoy your essays/poems/insights/commentaries/opinions very much (I don’t like the word “blogs” very much). Thank you for sharing the view from your world.

    “Every day I expect new things to happen that open the way to Success.”
    — Eric Butterworth

  5. 5 c.

    Mazel tov.


  6. Thanks, C — I appreciate all of your kind and insightful comments.

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