What Happens to Your Identity When You Don’t Speak to Anyone for 27 Years

Longreads

Anyone who reveals what he?s learned, Chris told me, is not by his definition a true hermit. Chris had come around on the idea of himself as a hermit, and eventually embraced it. When I mentioned Thoreau, who spent two years at Walden, Chris dismissed him with a single word: ?dilettante.?

True hermits, according to Chris, do not write books, do not have friends, and do not answer questions. I asked why he didn?t at least keep a journal in the woods. Chris scoffed. ?I expected to die out there. Who would read my journal? You? I?d rather take it to my grave.? The only reason he was talking to me now, he said, is because he was locked in jail and needed practice interacting with others.

?But you must have thought about things,? I said. ?About your life, about the human condition.?

Chris became surprisingly introspective. ?I did examine…

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About Jane Wilson

Jane Wilson graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, was a trial attorney for 25 years and has served on the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy on numerous occasions. She was an Adjunct Professor of Law at Cleveland State University for several years and served as an Interim Associate Professor of Law in the clinical program at Case Law School. In 2009, she returned to the small southwestern Michigan community where she was raised, and wrote a novel.
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