Not without hardship I’ve conquered the solitary’s way of life.

I know its tests, limitations and satisfactions and over time

have shaped the scope of my needs to its limitations,

long ago abandoning excitement, intimacy, adventure, and antagonisms in favor

of quiet, steady, predictable contact with nature, reading and work.

Why invite the unanticipated, why court any more shocks or

surprises than those that life would be sure to deliver?

I am a ghost, a man who’s cut himself off

from sustained human contact and its possibilities, yielding to the

illusion that the exploration of the inner world will suffice.


Paraphrases from the novel Exit Ghost by Philip Roth.