Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 8, No. 6, 2009
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
  Contributing Editors
Bernard Dubé
Sylvain Richard
David Solway
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Diane Gordon
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Marcel Dubois
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Contributors
  Noam Chomsky
Mark Kingwell
Naomi Klein
Arundhati Roy
Evelyn Lau
Stephen Lewis
Robert Fisk
Margaret Somverville
David Solway
Michael Moore
Julius Grey
Irshad Manji
Richard Rodriguez
Pico Iyer
Edward Said
Jean Baudrillard
Bill Moyers
Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Nayan Chanda
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward




Francis DiClemente is a writer and video producer in Syracuse, New York.

My father died in August of 2007 after a six-month battle with cancer; yet even before his passing, before the cancer ravaged his gaunt, shriveled and lifeless body, I felt I had been orphaned in my adulthood.

And while my mother, stepfather, brother and two sisters are all still alive, I believe I am psychologically abandoned on the basis of my unmarried status. In an emotional sense, I have been forsaken, left behind, separated from the rest of the normal human race, and exiled to the island of lonely misfit souls.

This lingering malaise developed in my advancing years simply because I failed to secure a bride. Meanwhile, nearly all of my colleagues, co-workers, peers, and friends from high school and college have managed to pair off, branching out and extending their families with the addition of wives, husbands, in-laws and children.

I, on the other hand, remain with only myself, a solo strand on a withering, fruitless tree. And as I edge closer to my 40th birthday, I must now accept and endure my perpetual bachelorhood.

I believe men are meant to have women and women to have men, and when this natural equation is unbalanced, an absence grows within that remains unfilled.

However, I am not delving into the cause of my disconnection from the opposite sex, but rather the effect -- the ramifications of my longstanding isolation. I have come to realize there exists in the English language no suitable synonym for the word loneliness; the same can be said for the word orphan. So I guess it's fitting that I identify myself as being orphaned by loneliness.

In his popular song, "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay," Otis Redding summed up the nature of loneliness with this line: "Just sittin' here resting my bones and this loneliness won't leave me alone." Surely Redding understood, like other great artists - Vincent van Gogh and Thomas Wolfe to name a few -- that loneliness is a nagging, persistent presence that never releases its grip.

It overtakes a person with such ferocity that only intercession by family, close friends and occasional casual lovers can free the stricken victim and restore life. But this only lasts for so long, because if nothing else, loneliness is a pattern that continually repeats itself. And more likely than not, individuals diagnosed with this condition are never healed; its progression results in the termination of the spirit and a personal fatality of the soul.

And this brings me back to my orphan status. For the spouse-deprived man or woman, his or her death is never mourned, because no children, husbands, wives, or in-laws are left behind. It is a silent death punctuated by a sense of loss that is final. There are no heirs squabbling over the summer cabin in the Adirondacks.

Hence, I face a grim future, and I feel a little like Ebenezer Scrooge looking at the headstone, overwhelmed with regret. Nonetheless, I have come to a conclusion on how to repair my life, escape this seemingly inevitable fate and thus alter my orphan status.

As I see it, I have only two choices. One -- find a good woman, get married, settle down here in central New York and become like everyone else. The other -- upon failing the first -- is to flee my home and take up residence in one of the nation's major cities: New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle or San Francisco. Pick one, any one - it doesn't really matter where I land.

Because if I am to remain alone, I want to live in a city where no one knows my name, where I won't run into any old friends who are brimming with wedded bliss, where the couples walking by me on the street are only strangers, and where I can no longer be haunted by the familiar surroundings that failed to produce a happily married life.

In effect, if I am unable to link up with a woman in the next few years, then I want to whitewash my past -- my family, my upbringing, my fractured adolescence, and my beloved upstate New York -- and begin again somewhere new.

Indeed this sounds cold and selfish, but in truth, I am in this world with only me. I am the orphan, a man alone, making decisions for a family of just one.

However, I also realize sometimes hope has a way of egging you on, provoking you and not allowing you to give up, even on yourself. So in reconsidering, I wonder: 'what does it matter when you get married -- at age 23 or 59 -- as long as you pick the right person to settle down with?' So maybe there's a chance I am not an orphan, as originally suspected, but only a late bloomer. And perhaps this prospect might allow me to embrace the future as opposed to dreading it. = shared webhosting, dedicated servers, development/consulting, no down time/top security, exceptional prices
Film Ratings Page of Sylvain Richard, film critic at Arts & Opinion - Montreal
Festival Nouveau Cinema de Montreal, Oct. 10-21st, (514) 844-2172
Montreal World Film Festival
CINEMANIA(Montreal) - festival de films francophone 1-11 novembre, Cinema Imperial info@514-878-0082: featuring Bernard Tavernier
Montreal Jazz Festival
Armand Vaillancourt: sculptor
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