Who is a Soloist?

It was a cute little bungalow in a neighborhood of bungalows near Minnehaha Creek Park in Minneapolis. Thanks to a hefty down payment from my grandmother, who had passed when I was ten, I could buy it.

As I walked into the title company building for the closing, I was proud of myself. I had a full-time day job that was giving me free tuition to take classes at night for my Master’s degree. I was growing up. I was buying a house!

The bungalow was built in 1924. I bought it from the son of the original owners. They had moved in as newlyweds and lived there for the rest of their lives. It took their son three years to be able to put it on the market.

The conference room for the closing was too small and too hot, with a too big table. We filled the chairs, backs pressed against the walls. My attorney sat next to me, the seller’s attorney was across from him. I had brought my own pen because I’d heard there was a lot of signing to do and I wanted a good pen. I was buying a house!

The seller’s attorney passed the contract across the table to my attorney, who passed it to me. He pointed where to make my first signature, on the line to confirm that yes, this is me.

I read the text that preceded it. “I, Jule Kucera, a spinster—”

Why that word? My eyes filled. The very thing that had made me proud now made me feel small.

“Why does it say ‘spinster’?” My voice cracked. I couldn’t help it.

Their attorney flinched. “It’s only to indicate no one else has—”

My attorney pulled the contract from under my damp palm as the other attorney finished his explanation.

“—legal rights to the property.”

The contract was pushed back to me. I looked down, blinked to clear the wavery text. Several thick slashes obliterated the offensive word. Printed above was “a single woman.” I smiled at my attorney. The closing continued without further incident.

Obviously, I’ve never liked the word ‘spinster.’ But I’m also not fond of ‘single.’ It sounds so alone. Solitary.

My preferred word is ‘soloist.’ It sounds like someone who has solo adventures!

But even ‘soloist’ is a misnomer.

Yes, I live alone, but I am not alone. None of us is alone, not ever. Yes, I have a ‘community of belonging’ as my friend Jill calls it, and I also always have love.

Two quotes I claim:

“Let me be love in the room, even if I’m the only one in the room.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, via a webinar

“Just because you see no one and no one answers when you call, that is insufficient proof you are alone.”  – Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark

In this season that can make us acutely aware of what we don’t have, let’s remember what we do have.




PS: I’m not exact about the BBTaylor quote because I can’t find where I wrote it and my hard copy of the book went to a friend.

PPS: I wrote much more about being a soloist and how to have enough love in your life in Vessel of Affection, now renamed, How’s Your Love Bucket? (For some reason, ‘Vessel of Affection’ wasn’t all that catchy…)

Chewing the Cud of Good

close-up of a large rock next to grasses

Thankful for enduring love.

Large Rock in the shape of a heart



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