Monday, February 6, 2012


There has been a lot of press lately about the joys of living alone. There was a piece in the New York Times yesterday. This morning I heard a report on NPR about the same phenomena. In Scandinavia, 60% of young adults live alone.

I get it, I do. Though we are a social species, in cities we are almost constantly around other people, especially if we ride the subway, walk around, etc. Having a refuge away from other humans is a great luxury.

This morning I was thinking that here at the chateau, in my little nest, I feel like Rapunzel BEFORE everything went to hell. In early French versions of that fairytale, instead of an evil witch, there is a powerful fairy with a verdant, magic garden. Because Rapunzel's pregnant mother craves a vegetable only available in the fairy's magical garden, the fairy knows it is her duty to help raise the child. At the christening, the fairy sprinkles the baby with a magic potion to make her wise, beautiful and kind. But she accidentally sprinkles too much of the mojo. After that the fairy decides the child will be taken advantage of for her beauty, intelligence and kindness, hence decides to build a beautiful tower in which the girl can grow up. There is no end to the luxuries in this tower. In the version of the story I'm talking about, "Parslinette," the author describes in great detail the beautiful clothes, sumptuous furniture, and the numerous studios in which Parslinette paints, draws, plays musical instruments, sews, writes. The tower itself is made of silver, encrusted with jewels and pearls. Parslinette spends her days making art, talking to the trees and animals of the forest, singing, combing her hair and wearing fabulous outfits.

"Who among us wouldn't love such a life?" writes the author.


I should mention that even in the Parslinette version, when the prince finds the beautiful girl in the tower and "marries her immediately" - you know what that means, right? - the fairy is not amused. The ardent prince is tossed out the window and the girl receives a rather serious haircut. They find each other in the end of course, but oh my, it never goes well when characters decide to trick a powerful fairy. Yikes.

When I ask for visions of what's ahead in my life, what I "see" is a time when I'll again live with others. The soul of the chateau, a grand old lady, says I'll know exactly when it's time to leave my beloved nest. It isn't for awhile, apparently, as I'm told I'm still settling here.

Not that I always know what's best for me, but I'm just offering, in case the soul of the chateau or the Fates or the ancestors are listening, that I could be here awhile, living alone, happy as a clam - literally. I'm in no rush! Also apparently I am in sync with pop culture. Is anyone up there listening? Yes? Thanks.


Rinkly Rimes said...

Merely wandered into your blog during a sleepless night. Your account intrigued me, first of all because of the fairy-story and then because of your remark about 'once again living with others'. It seems you're something of a fairy-tale Princess yourself. I am happily (most of the time) married, but I sometimes think I would enjoy marching to my own drum!

Reya Mellicker said...

I'm the Princess and the Pea, Rinkly. Fussy and controlling - I have the perfect personality to live alone.

Angela said...

Dear sister Reya, I tried to send you a mail, but it was returned. What I really wanted to know was the address of your tower, so I can write you a handwritten letter. Have you still got my mail address?
I think I need other people to communicate with. Being alone for a while is fine with me, I even need it, but if I have no one to chat with, I want to write letters!

steven said...

reya - it's the strangest thing but other than university - and when is anyone really alone in university? - i have only lived alone for one year of my life! it wasn't in a lovely tower with all the amenities either . . . steven

Steve Reed said...

I was always happy living alone, and I'm glad to see it's getting the respect it deserves in our mating-obsessed culture!

Whitney Lee said...

I've never lived alone. I've rarely even spent a night alone and never since having kids. The irony is that I am a person who cannot function without a certain amount of solitude. If my children don't nap, I don't get a chance to walk the dog without the stroller, I can't find an hour for yoga, whatever it may be, I turn into what's lovingly known around here as "Mean Mommy." I literally cannot refuel without some quality alone time. I'm not sure what I'd do with nothing but...