The Girl Who Loves Books: Exploring Loneliness with Paul Auster


On the same day, I fell in love with a writer for the first time and for the first time began to dream of living in New York. As my sixteenth birthday approached, I discovered a man named Paul Auster: he was just as lonely as I was.

However, he lived in New York, which for me was like New York, where he met interesting and attractive people every day, was inspired by them and shared them in his loneliness. I, on the other hand, stayed out of my room, applied black nail polish, listened to Nick Cave, smoked cigarettes and black coffee, and read and read and read non-stop.

New York was Lou Reed’s city. Transvestites, weird poets, smokers, rats, very busy women working in fashion magazines, tough girls going to art school, and everything I secretly thought about or wanted to be.

He was also one of the main characters in Paul Auster’s novels. He had a personality, albeit a neurotic one, and a soul, albeit a vulnerable one. It was a country, not a city. The land of those who feel deprived of roots and identity… Maybe that was where I was.

It’s always been a problem of belonging, it’s all for me. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t read the books of “native” authors and identify with them, in other words, I couldn’t feel like I belonged to my home.

Paul Auster gave me New York, the city I could dream of. Moreover, as I wanted, he wrote about his loneliness and tried to create his own mythology through his books. I ended up in Discovery of Solitude, Vertigo, Music of Chance, City of Glass. It was impossible not to fall in love with him.

Paul Auster talked about good luck music. Not from fate, fate, coincidence or coincidence, but from the concept of “luck” which is the sum of all of this and more. You really had a soundtrack, luckily I could feel it. The world was full of signs placed on every corner especially for me, and when I was sixteen, I believed that I could read these signs.

Nobody ever told me that I was special. Nobody ever said I was beautiful, smart or talented. Nobody believed me. Nobody saw me. But every time I was about to read a new novel by Paul Auster, I felt like I was part of something very big, very special, very magical. After reading it, I began to believe in myself. It seemed to me that he belonged only to me, that he wrote only for me.

Of course, I knew that you don’t expect everything from a writer … But I had to believe that he was talking to me. Because if no one is talking to you, you have two options: talking to yourself or imaginary conversations with others. And I didn’t want to talk to myself.

I believed in luck and thought that luck awaited me in New York. I really wanted to go to New York and live the life of a poor but free writer. Living in an attic, wearing a wide Indian robe, writing strange novels on a manual typewriter, filling out a diary with quotes from Goethe, meeting Lou Reed when he went out for cigarettes, eating bread and wine… That’s what I dreamed of. from.

But instead of New York, I went to Miami. In the summer of 1999, shortly before my sixteenth birthday, I went there to the house of my aunt and uncle. I lived here for two months among the iguanas and parrots, got my first boyfriend, sunbathed a lot, and discovered that I was actually not as unhappy as I thought.

But before all this, in one of the first weeks of my stay there, something so strange and incredible happened that it showed me how right I was in believing in luck. This is a true story. However, sometimes even I feel like I’m making it all up. It’s been a long time since I quit smoking, but sometimes I really feel like I’m in Paul Auster’s magic romance with all the characters smoking, full of weird happenings.

It was very hot in Miami. In those early days, I was mostly alone during the day and tried to spend time in air-conditioned rooms. I liked spending time alone in the city, taking the bus. My hair was frizzy from the humidity, I was not used to the tropical climate and insects, but I also knew that I was lucky to be here.

One day I got on the wrong bus and found a huge bookstore on the other side of town. The bookstore itself was like a small town, cool inside, and even coffee was sold on a small counter. I followed the smell of coffee and went inside, thinking that I would feel safe among thousands of books.

It was the perfect place. Then I came across Paul Auster’s Timbuktu. I sat down in an armchair, took the book on my knees and happily, in ecstasy, finished reading it. I couldn’t understand how time flew by…

When I left the bookstore, the sun was already setting and the sky was peach. I put on my headphones and walked slowly towards the bus stop. At that moment, I felt a shadow watching me from above.

My mouth dropped open as I looked up. It was a tiny rain cloud in the sunny sky, and it was getting darker. I quickened my steps as the rain came down on me, and to my horror I realized that the cloud was following me.

That’s when happiness rose in me like the sun. I had my own cloud and never complained about being alone or being rained on! Those were the days when I accepted what happened to me without question. The days I took the signs… I’ve never felt so special before.

I later learned that this cloud following you is a common occurrence in tropical climates and has a very plausible explanation. But at that moment, on that wonderful day, there were only the two of us in this world, and I was sure that Paul Auster sent it to me.

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