William Pester, Hollywood “hermit”

Hollywood in the 1920s to 1940s produced several colorful hermits already mentioned among these entries and featured among the galleries. Another was William Pester, the German-born Friedrich Wilhelm Pester, who resided under one of the two letter L’s in the famous Hollywood sign. Pester dressed in a robe, at least at first, and was later not apparently entirely solitary. He was called the “Hermit of Palm Springs.”

URLs: 1. http://www.mydesert.com/article/20121128/NEWS01/311280007/Palm-Springs-hermit-made-mark-nudist-tourist-attraction-inmate, and 2. http://www.mydesert.com/interactive/article/20121129/NEWS/121129001/William-Pester-Hermit-Palm-Springs?odyssey=tab|topnews, plus a German-language article: http://www.geschichte-borna.de/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=93:friedrich-wilhelm-pester-der-eremit-von-palm-springs&catid=38:persoenlichkeiten&Itemid=72

Sara Maitland interviewed

Sara Maitland, author of A Book of Silence (2008), is interviewed by Telegraph (UK) correspondent Peter Stanford. Maitland lives in a shepherd’s cottage (shieling) in Galloway, Scotland, where she continues to write, her latest project being Gossip from the Forest, a reexamination of forests in fairy tales of Grimm and others.

Writes Stanford of Maitland’s solitude:

The things she misses in her shieling, she says, are simpler and very specific. “The first is physical contact in moments of stress, not the big ones, but when I come in from a walk and it has been raining and I am soaked and I have a deep desire for someone to be there to say, ‘God, you’re wet.’ And the second is when someone has annoyed me, usually by email, I have no one there to let off steam with, and so frequently I find myself telling the person I am angry with my reply. I need someone to puncture my rage bubble.”

The other thing she finds herself hankering after, she says, is the sort of catch-all conversation we are having. “I’m a profoundly frivolous person and I grew up with smarty-pants dinner conversations. If I am ever asked to be in Who’s Who, I will put as my hobby deipnosophy, banter-like exchanges round a dinner table.” Couldn’t she just break silence once a month and invite local friends over for a good set-to over supper? “You don’t understand,” she protests, a look of mock horror on her face, “there is hardly a soul within spitting distance of where I live.” Their loss is my gain.