About the Writer

Justine Graykin is a philosopher.  Freelance, in that she aligns herself with no established school of thought or academic institution.  This passionate desire to understand the world has led to a firm conviction that the scientific method is the best way to keep from fooling ourselves.  She graduated from the University of New Hampshire sometime in the dim past with degrees in English, Philosophy and Religious Studies.  She has continued to study these subjects: English, in discovering the way the language works, how it evolved and continues to evolve, and how to express herself effectively with it; Philosophy, in the oldest sense of the term, as striving to understand truth, both natural and metaphysical; Religious Studies, because spirituality is such a vital part of what it is to be human.

This has led her to a worldview that is atheistic, socialistic, and pacifist.  She believes that the way to the Good is through science informed by compassion.  All humans are kin, and national, ethnic and racial divisions get in the way of understanding this.  Indeed, humans are merely a part of a vast, interconnected ecosystem of living things.  Cooperation, not competition, must be taught and practiced in order for human beings–and all life–to thrive.

Her lifework has been achieving this understanding, which she finds deeply satisfying, even though she finds herself in the minority.  The expression of her beliefs has brought a good deal of criticism, particularly her atheism which, living as she does in a small community, has made her an outcast in some circles.  Because of her belief in compassion and cooperation, she does not feel the need to impose her views on others, although she will freely share them and explain them if asked.  She is not anti-theist.  She does not feel threatened by the religious beliefs of others, only by the negative actions those beliefs can sometimes cause.

Unfortunately, as deep as her understanding of the world may be, the complex world of human social relationships remains an impenetrable mystery, imperfectly understood.  Like many who lack the ability to interpret social cues and interpersonal dynamics, Justine has had a difficult time.  Applying the principles she uses as a philosopher, she has developed a broad understanding of how best to behave around her fellow humans, but the finer points still escape her.  It has held her back in many situations which require certain skills and intuitions to achieve success.  After a lifetime of trying, Justine now observes from an envious distance those for whom social interactions are a pleasant and instinctively easy matter.

It is not for lack of desire to connect with others, but an acute sensitivity and persistent anxiety.  Early losses (her mother died of cancer when Justine was 12) and a childhood lacking in real warmth and affection may have affected her ability to relate to others.  There were many occasions over the course of her life that a family member, or a person she considered a trusted friend, rejected her out of disapproval over who she was or what she’d done (or written).  The failure of a 25 year marriage was particularly traumatic.   Despite all efforts to be “philosophical” about these setbacks, Justine found herself unable to overcome what seemed to her the pain of perpetual disappointment and failure.  Even friends who had been consistently loyal and supportive she came to see as heartaches waiting to happen. She developed the neurotic conviction that every social encounter meant the chance she would misstep, say or do something inappropriate, and alienate herself from yet another person.

This has led to her current tendency towards isolation.  She finds alone to be easier, if far less desirable.

But she continues to write and to hold out hope that her fiction may yet provide connections with others that she herself has been unable to make.  She has spent a lifetime perfecting the craft and takes enormous pleasure in the work of writing, revising, creating and recreating.  Whether it be the articles published in the Concord Monitor, the blogs that have appeared on this site, or the fiction that is her real love, Justine Graykin is a writer who sees writing as a vital part of her life.  That she has not yet achieved commercial success is yet another heartbreak, but she clings to the Nietzschean principle of Sibi scribere: “The sensible author writes for no other posterity than his own, that is to say for his old age, so that then too he will be able to take pleasure in himself.”  Even if only a few people discover and enjoy her work, at least it will provide her with a sense of personal accomplishment and satisfaction for the rest of her days.  (More on this at About the Writing.“)

Justine lives in rural Deerfield, NH, finding pleasure in gardening and tending to a small flock of chickens and ducks.  She also seeks out the company of wilderness, solo hiking and camping in the White Mountains.  She continues to avidly follow new scientific discoveries in all fields, the better to inspire and inform her fiction.  Justine attends a few conventions in the area to promote her work and to connect with others.  She finds the society of fellow geeks to be more congenial than that of ordinary Mundanes.

Justine can be contacted by email  (jgraykin@gmail.com) and found on Facebook.


6 responses

2 10 2015

Enjoyed your article “Place in Time” in yesterday’s Monitor. Lovely piece.

2 10 2015

Glad you liked it. Sometimes a story just writes itself.

4 05 2016

Wednesday 04 May 2016

Excellent article, The Blame Game, in today’s Concord Monitor! Very thought provoking. Thanks Justine.

4 05 2016

You are quite welcome. It is my goal and purpose to provoke thought.

5 05 2016

in the blame game your words are clear. your statements are direct. i wish the largest problems we face could be dissected so easily. cause and effect are difficult to determine when the causes and many, and obscure; and the effects are indirect and might take years, or centuries to appear. and even then might be ascribed to a myriad of other cycles of cause and effect. .

blame is the easy was to go. and for some, gives pleasure.

5 05 2016

Determining cause and effect is an intellectual exercise which, as you so rightly point out, is difficult, complex, and often can give only partial or tentative answers. Blaming is more visceral, more emotional. It is satisfying to find a scapegoat and rage against them. It appeals to a baser part of our nature. Human beings, especially when outraged by some injustice, want immediate gratification. How many times are the police pressured to find a suspect and convict them quickly, whether they are truly guilty or not?

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