... that's a phrase from Henry Miller, but apparently it applies to Wilfrid Sheed as well: An Upbeat Account of Down Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Sheed and I have something in common. We both spent a part of our childhood in Torresdale, incorrectly described here as "a town not unlike the setting for Pennsylvania Gothic." To begin with, it isn't a town. It's a section - the northeasternmost section - of Philadelphia. What the hell has in common with American Gothic I have no way of knowing. Sheed may well have found it lonely, especially since he arrived there nine years before I did. When we moved there, it was still pretty rural. Our house was in the middle of a wodds, the roads were gravel, and there were still some very small working farms. I loved it, but then I rarely feel lonely.