Saturday, November 02, 2013


I have almost no skills whatsoever. It happens that I can write a little. Not nearly as well as an educated person could write a century ago, but since nowadays many people can hardly write at all, it is useful and (very rarely) even a slightly big deal that I can write a little. Also I am able to read. Nothing special about that either. Except that nowadays almost no one reads, particularly not in the traditional fashion, considered now to be archaic: in a straight back chair, in a silent room, for three hours, with a blank page to copy out admirable sentences. People are too connected now. People are too important. There are so many exciting things on which to click. It is possible that I have somehow become stranded in the 19th century. Telephones I find spooky and unnerving, like a person who never leaves home without a Ouija board. Driving an automobile, no matter how cautiously, seems to me a rash and reckless act. I say that I am able to write and I am able to read. However, it often happens that I am unable to write or read. I am not a reliable person. I admit it. I could never get a job as an automated teller machine or a commuter train. When I cannot write and I cannot read, I try to pay attention. Of course this is exactly nothing. Paying attention cannot be said to be a talent, not even in the slight way that writing or reading might be said to be. Just the same, there are fewer and fewer people paying attention. So few that the ability itself appears endangered. So many things clamor for our attention now. So many noisy, bright, and unpleasant things. No small number are downright terrifying. I am not in any way a special or talented person. I am only taking advantage of the general decline.

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