Part memoir, part meditation on solitude, Drinking the Rain chronicles Alix Kates Shulman’s decade long journey of self-discovery. At fifty and facing a crumbling marriage, novelist Shulman (Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen) leaves the hustle and bustle of New York City and retreats to a small rustic cottage on an island off the coast of Maine. The cottage has no plumbing, power or telephone yet Shulman wants for nothing. As she forages for wild greens and shellfish among the tidal pools and sandy beaches, she discovers the joys of frugality, self-sufficiency and harmony with nature.
Yet, no man – or woman – is an island. As medical waste washes up on her beach and local fisherman combat the “red tide,” Shulman mourns the increasing toxicity of the environment and reflects on the interconnectedness of the world. And when her job as a writer and teacher takes her to Colorado, Arizona, New York City, and back again to her cottage in Maine, she struggles with how to stay true to her solitary self and to be connected to the world at the same time.
Like Thoreau, I believe that, “in wildness is the preservation of the world.” Shulman’s account of living in solitude on a Maine island spoke to me on a spiritual level.
Favorite quote: “To be whole requires one to be in oneself and the world at once.”
— Sarah Brown