"Loneliness" Essay from The New York Times Op-Ed Page by Cynthia Buchanan
Copyright © 2015 by Cynthia Buchanan Cowley • All rights reserved
Subjects: English, Creative Writing, Literature, Novel Study, Psychology
GRADE LEVELS: Higher Education, Staff, Adult
Four-page reflective unit by novelist, essayist and playwright Cynthia Buchanan.
Page 1: Title page: "Loneliness" essay by Cynthia Buchanan--The New York Times
Page 2: Author's introduction: 275 words: "My New York! New York! Essay on 'Loneliness'"
Page 3: Essay: 800 words: "Falseness Has Made Us Lonely...Lonelier."
Page 4: Theme linked to Maiden a novel by Cynthia Buchanan (Lily Tomlin praise on the cover)
This short unit supports critical thinking as it applies to literature and creative writing.
Understanding human emotions in fiction and nonfiction makes you more compassionate towards yourself and others, since the human brain is designed for kindness.
The unit encourages discussion and writing assignments, whether comparing and contrasting characters from fiction and drama or students create their own characters based on intense emotion.
Remembering humor is the universal healer in all cultures may be a "value added" with this literary unit.
Synopsis of Contents
When Southwest novelist and playwright Cynthia Buchanan first moved to New York City and published her comic novel Maiden to spectacular reviews, she received a call from the editor of The New York Times Op-Ed page, Pulitzer prize winning journalist Harrison Salisbury. A fan of Maiden, he asked her to "write anything you want about your novel." Essay for the Op-Ed page.
Her essay “Falseness Has Made Us Lonely…Lonelier” the editors later selected for their hardback collection, The Indignant Years: Art and Articles from The New York Times Op-Ed Page. The anthology included Nobel prize winner Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, German-born political theorist Hannah Arendt and American general Maxwell D. Taylor.
Listed among "best" titles by The New York Times Book Review and the American Library Association, Maiden was acclaimed by the Encyclopedia Britannica as a premier novel that compared with the works of Gustave Flaubert, Henry James, Joan Didion and Sylvia Plath. Maiden was taught as an American classic at Harvard, Dartmouth, New York University, University of California at Los Angles and at Iowa Writers' Workshop, among others.
Columbia Pictures bought Maiden film rights through an option by Lily Tomlin, who then commissioned Buchanan to write for her. The author created such Tomlin characters as "Sister Boogie Woman," "Crystal the Quadriplegic" and "Susie Sorority" for the comedienne's tours and Broadway show. As well, Lily Tomlin starred in Buchanan's play at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., under a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for new American playwrights.
Cynthia Buchanan earned an M.A. in Creative Writing in English from the University of the Americas in Mexico and was awarded a Fulbright grant in Creative Writing in Spain, under the U.S. State Department. Her fiction, nonfiction and literary criticism has been published widely, from The New York Times, The Washington Post and Newsweek to such diverse literary quarterlies as Harvard Advocate, Cornell Review and Transatlantic Review.
She now lives in Texas, where she has completed several short stories, a new play and two new novels Cowgirl Polygamy and The Scarlet Spaniard. Buchanan is currently at work on a Latino graphic novel, Aztec Eagles of World War II: Mexico's Heroes, America's Brothers. (www.aztecagles.net)