The Opposite of Loneliness

What is with this March snow?  It has thrown me completely off track.

In fact, I wrote an entire blog yesterday that I somehow didn’t save and have lost forever.  I think it was my best blog too.  I even said to Saul last night “This last blog I just wrote is a good one.  Possibly my best.”

Now I can’t even remember what I wrote about.

I have vague snatches of memory.  I remember writing that people who brag about sex are usually not very good at it.   But why was I writing about that?   You’d think I’d remember.

It’s the frustrating thing about creativity.   Whether you are a writer, painter, stain glass maker or musician, you have to find something deep inside yourself or from some mysterious place where the muses live to do what you do.  You can’t just summon it at will.   I do believe though, if you show up every day and practice at it, you can learn tricks to summon whatever gets the creative juices flowing.   That is why I try to write on the bus every day.  I write my book in the morning and my blog at night.  Sometimes I even remember to save my blog

I do remember writing about being upset about the weather because I had to miss my Writers Group yet again!     I’ve been waiting to read the last chapter of my memoir for three weeks now!  Two weeks ago, it was the first march snowstorm.  Last week our group leader was sick with pink eye, and this week was the 2nd snowstorm.  It’s not that it’s held my writing up.  There are earlier chapters to clean up, but something about reading my last chapter out loud to the group that I have been part of every week for over a year is symbolic to me.

Oh!  Now I remember why I was talking about sex.  I was writing about how much I love my writers group.   And there has only been one short-lived member who really didn’t work out and made everyone crazy.  He was very arrogant and bragged that his sex scenes were better than actual sex.

Well, the next week I got stuck at work and arrived at the writers group late.   Apparently, this guy had just finished reading his sex scene and the women in the group honestly looked as if he had actually physically assaulted them.  They were horrified by the crudeness and misogyny of his writing.  I think a few of them wanted to shower afterwards.   I was glad but a little sorry I missed it.  What could it have been that so offended and alienated these women?    One group member tried to give him constructive criticism and asked why his character didn’t wear a condom when he was having anonymous sex with this woman.  “I’ve never worn a condom in my life and I’ve had lots of sex” the writer replied.  It was an odd night in the group and that guy only lasted a few more sessions. I didn’t ask what happened to him.  Our writers group is a little like the mafia.  Sometimes people just mysteriously disappear.

So, I was saying in my experience that people who brag about how good they are at writing or at sex are usually NOT good.  And if you brag you are good at both writing and sex then you are really in trouble.

I myself am just average at both activities mostly because I’m easily distracted.  I’ve been known to suddenly blurt out things like “Did you read online that Bernadette Peters brings a certain pathos to Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly on Broadway that neither Bette Midler nor Carol Channing could summon in their performances?

It’s really pretty unbelievable that I actually finished a book and that someone actually married me.

It’s crazy to be finishing a book you have been working on for over 10 years.  When I started it, my sister and mother were both alive and now their deaths are a major part of the story.

Don’t get the wrong idea.   It’s not that I’m just writing life as it happens and calling it a memoir.

Chapter 533

Today I forgot to save my blog post and had to rewrite it.  I got some little salmon and some Brussel sprouts at the salad bar for lunch.  The salmon was dry but what do you expect at a salad bar?  Nothing else much happened. 

Chapter 534

Slept late today.   The cats need their teeth brushed.  Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.


When I started the book, it was going to be about my rather unconventional childhood.  Then I abandoned that idea to write about my sister’s death.  Now I have combined the two.

When I started, I didn’t know how it would end and it didn’t know how different my life would be when I finished it.  I never thought I’d be married and living in a small town and reading chapters to my husband every night.  I was sure when I started this, I was going to be single for the rest of my life

My husband Saul and I have a friend Will who was befriended by his gay uncle (“guncle”) when he was younger, so he knows all about All About Eve and Mildred Pierce and Angela Lansbury being the first lady of musical theatre.  There is not even a tiny generation gap between us even though his is only 30 and I am a gay man of a certain age.

Will worries that he will be single all his life like I worried I would be.   He loves to observe Saul and me as we stumble through our daily journey of how to be a healthy couple.

The other morning, he was standing in the hallway as I was applying testosterone gel to my shoulders.   It’s not as sexy as it sounds.  A few years ago, my doctor noted my testosterone levels were low.  This didn’t make me particularly effeminate (no matter what some of you might say) but apparently, it can make you a bit more lethargic and less able to focus (hence the Bernadette Peters/Dolly Levi outburst).  So now every morning I have to apply a gel to my shoulders

Guys are always intrigued by this and always ask if they can borrow some as if it will make them some kind of sex god.   If it does make me a sex god,  I of course would not brag about it so you’ll never know.

Anyway, as I was doing this Saul ran into the bathroom with a bloody finger.

“The cat scratched me.  I need to sterilize my finger!”

“No I need to wash this testosterone off my hand first!  I’ll grow hair on my knuckles”

“I’ll get infected!  Let me get to the sink‼”

“Just wait a minute!”

I looked over at Will.

“You know those nights when you feel really lonely and dream of a different life?” I asked him.

“Well this is the opposite of loneliness.”

That second line was from Saul and he was right.

However you think your life or your book or your art or really anything is going to turn out, it seem the only guarantee is that it will be different.

My life like this book has had a ton of twists and turns and a lot of chapters I didn’t see coming.  I even think I have a vague idea what my death will look like but I’m sure that will be different too.  I just hope that it doesn’t happen before I get to read my final chapter  to my writers group.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  KEITH HOFFMAN is looking for a ticket to Hello Dolly.



Published by


Keith Hoffman lives with his artist husband, dog and two cats in the small town Lambertville, New Jersey 72 miles outside of New York City. He has completed a memoir entitled The Summer My Sister Grew Sideburns.

2 thoughts on “The Opposite of Loneliness”

Leave a Reply to adlanoddave Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s