“Longing, we say, because desire is full of endless distances.” —Robert Hass I have longing on my mind because I recently interviewed Madelaine Lucas about her debut novel, Thirst for Salt, which is a novel of longing for love, longing for a place, and longing to understand. It’s a beautiful, lyrical book, and it made me think about the place longing has in our lives. Longing is almost a genre unto itself.
Beautiful. I never thought about longing as so decisive, it’s own powerful emotion and how singular it is.
longing is an immense reserve of active power, touched with the creative, the tender, the divine. when we long, we move toward. we reach. it is held in the roots of the Word: form the Old English langian, meaning ‘to grow long,’ and the German langen—to reach, to extend. in Hebrew, it comes from the same root as the word for passion. The place you suffer, in other words, is the same place you reach from: the same place you care profoundly enough to act. to grow long.
thank you for your Words <3
I’ve felt a lot of longing since 2020. Back then it was for a woman’s touch. I’m not even talking about sex, literally just touch. You don’t know what you take for granted until it’s suddenly and inexplicably gone.
Yes! I loved your distinction between longing and desire. Both intense and often tied together yet longing colors your life so deeply.
The back story on Wyeth’s painting - such a courageous woman.
Chrsitina's World by Andrew Wyeth is one of my favourite paintings (along with the story behind it) - and it does capture longing in the way you describe. Really appreciated reading the meditation on longing versus desire.
I love your distinction here between desire and longing. Also, this painting by Wyeth is one of my favorites, as well as the Hass quote! Thanks for sharing these thoughts as well as your fantastic podcast. I discovered it a few weeks ago through Jeannine Oullette.
This is exactly what my soul needed to read today. 🥰 Always love these missives and how they add a layer of deep thought & introspection to my day.