In a Reading Phase

William Maxwell once wrote, in “The Writer as Illusionist: A Speech Delivered at Smith College March 4, 1955,” “Though the writer may from time to time entertain paranoiac suspicions about critics and book reviewers, about his publisher; and even about the reading public, the truth is that he has no enemy but interruption.” It seems like this fall has been one long string of interruptions. Or, put another way, maybe I’m just in a reading phase. I haven’t been working on my book project, and I obviously haven’t been writing anything here. Usually November is a deliberately introspective and self-reflexive month for me, but not this year – less so this year than any other, I thought just the other day. And who knows why – I’m older; work is busy and even somewhat enjoyable these days, with several side projects merging from the periphery into the fore and we’ll see where they lead; I have a hard time finding uninterrupted space; I can’t focus. I’ve been distracted, though by what I can’t really say.

What I can say is that it’s been a year since I went to Paris and published my first series of posts – pictures and observations – from the city of light. One year ago today. Last November 18th, and it seems like no time has passed.

And yet, another year gone.

Recently finished reading Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer; as I remarked to a friend, it was at once otherworldly, incredibly moving, totally egomaniacal, linguistically gymnastic, and just fucking weird. Also finished Ulrich Boser’s The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft

 

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