Tag Archives: solitude

The Acquisitionist.



She wasn’t sure who had inserted the list of seven deadlies into the catholic penitential practice. Likely not an indulgent English King and surely not his God ( to whom all sins were created equal ) but, regardless whence they’d come, these were the generally recognized cardinal variety: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, rage, and sloth.

He’d conquered a couple of them.

To the observer, this one was never lazy. And, demonstrating rage being expressly forbidden in the unspoken code of professional conduct, if present, there were no witnesses. Likewise gluttony, as applied to the ingestion of substances; while inclined toward the fats of bacon and cheese, he’d never been seen packing it in.

But, the corporate organism had definitely found a host.

She’d been around long enough to remember life quite free of mendacious, monopolizing influence. There were still members of her family who rarely left home – home being the house, the homestead, the four walls and the rock garden out front of the furnished porch and the flowers and vegetables out back.

And, even those among her ilk who had escaped poverty on the most verdant side of old money could be found, after an elegant meal, reading an historical novel by a grand fire in the study, whose window overlooked a carefully cultivated rose garden, the latest recording of fine symphonic music filtering a rarified air punctuated only by perhaps the occasional waft of equally fine pipe tobacco.

Quite outside of such a truly removed scene, and squarely at the hub of all things prescient, he stood. Arms folded tightly against the chest, square head cocked, lips tightly closed and eyes lowered so as to feign genuine interest in his subject, not a native of these parts he resembled no one in the room, an aspect which drew an even greater degree of interest from those who clamored after social connection. He was the acquisitionist; one only stood near him if one had nothing to lose but one’s identity.

Does the wisdom of age render sin with greater clarity?

Turned out, she’d discovered the seven deadlies had been isolated by the Christian hermits – monks, living in Egypt. Perhaps solitude, and its accompanying reflective contemplation, rendered this clarity.  She only knew that the acquisitionist was never alone for very long. That which he’d been lusting after fed his envy, and his envy the greed which drove the grasping. As for that which he had managed to seize, the cloud of minions at his beck had seen to it that all who starved for a reason to feel important resounded the chorus of his affirmations at the altar of their own unwitting self sacrifice. It would take at least another decade before most of them would know the encroaching negation which floated along in his wake, waiting to lap up against their own saturated, wilting flesh.

Perhaps all that remained was pride. But, he’d feel enough of that for all the rest of them, put together.  In the end, they would be required simply to feel nothing.






© 4/7/18  Ruth Ann Scanzillo       All rights those of the author, whose insights these are, and whose name appears above this line. Go watch a movie. Thanks.




Feeling Like It.

A word to those of us who just don’t feel like it.

Human motivation. What a delicate, even fragile thing. We can all turn on a dime, can we not. Suppose we spent an entire lifetime just responding, to requests, prompts, instructions; would we come to the end of the day wondering why?

The growing-up Sundays in our house were always neatly set. By the end of the previous Sunday, we knew what we’d be doing Sunday coming. No point in planning, or leaving a moment to chance; Sunday was “the Lord’s Day”, and we’d be starting and ending the day “at meeting.”

Yea, verily; Worship, Sunday “school”, beef roast in the oven, the kitchen always a little sticky with humidity in a house built before central air…..a big, hot meal, maybe a book, a nap, and Gospel meeting by 7. No TV, because, well, there wasn’t one in our house ’til I was 17.

Saturdays, Fridays………everybody had their lives. And, everybody still does.

But, nowadays, it’s all about “options”. So many. Pick one. Or, pick two. Look at the clock. Can we get here, and then go over there before what is over there is already over?

We arrive. We do this, see that. We greet people, making hasty small talk because, well, there’s the other thing. Time to go. Time to arrive, and do it all again. It’s exhilarating. It’s a social life.

And, somebody said we need it.

As a very young child, I recall my older brother creating any number of events involving classmates and friends, both inside the house and out. Basketball in the driveway. Big band in the basement. There was always something to watch happening. And, I remember feeling like I should be there, so as not to “miss” anything. And, so I grew…..always needing to be included, so that, if something happened, I would get to be there. Clamoring, begging to be allowed to go, to see, to watch, to do.

But, there was also intense pleasure and satisfaction in solitude. Was this because everything else was always happening just beyond my reach? Yet, drawing pictures, or cutting out paper and textured objects and glueing them into things; singing, and listening to records; playing the piano……reading stories…..writing stories…..perhaps hours and hours would pass, and I would happily spend them. Nobody ever said:  “Why don’t you go outside and find something to do?” Not to me.

The kids my own age seemed to be outside. They seemed to be about doing things with each other, like riding bikes or playing games with balls. I remember the way my summer clothes felt against my skin while I watched them doing these things. I remember going to the beach, and making things out of sand with my little brother while the other kids went in the water. Being asked to “come out and play” was rare; often, I just didn’t feel like it.

When Dad wasn’t working, he’d be in and out, running short errands, or just sitting. He loved to sit and watch. On the porch. On a bench. On the davenport. Sometimes he’d sing to himself, or play his harmonica and bones. Mom never sat, unless she was at the sewing machine, which was much of the time. She rarely went out, unless we needed groceries or it was Sunday.

Now, we do one of two things. We spend time getting ready, and then we go. We see everybody. It’s a throng. We wriggle in and out, feeling the energy created by so much life. We squeeze into a seat. We eat a really good meal. We look at things. We spend a bit of money on something attractive. We leave. Or, we stay right where we are, and wait until the little voice tells us what we want to do today.

I only speak for myself. But, my offering of this moment goes out to each and every one of you who, in the face of overwhelming options, might need a gentle nudge: do what you feel like doing today.

I wonder what would change about life if we all waited, a few minutes each day, to hear that little voice – before responding to all our options. I wonder if we might feel serenely peaceful in our own company. I wonder if we might spend an entire day just enjoying: our. selves.


© ruth a.scanzillo


all rights, you know the tune.