In The World

“Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader” (TPR)


The way books are in the world, and the ways in which we connect them. One of the wondrous (strange? alarming?) things about our late night conversations is that the next day I cannot remember fully if I said something, merely thought it, or heard you say it.

There’s a delicious sort of mixing that occurs in that space between my head, the pillow, and the cell network that connects my voice to yours. Disorienting, but not disconcerting.

The outside world is shuttered in white. The university is closed, which only happens every few years at most. Rare for a town here in upstate NY to shut down because of snow! But shut down we have, as I retreat to my room to work on this NSF history (report) and my own workings, musings, beings.

I have, for as far back as I can remember in my self-awareness, felt an affinity for those other lost souls: who find in the world a continuous renewal of the self. Do you really know who you are, if you don’t know the world you live in? That sudden realization, as Vivian Gornick in the Paris Review piece states, that you exist within “the dictates of flesh-and-blood reality?”

If the only truth is we are always-already unmade, or always-already being created, not discovered, what is freedom? “A considered life,” miserable but malleable; the ability to seek and understand, critique but not alter. Useless omnipotence.