Friday, February 08, 2013

On Work

Getting anything done requires attention to one thing for a sustained time. Think of video editing, how much you have to look at and keep in mind, how many large and tiny judgments you have to make on the basis of nothing but attention, how slow (mostly) and relentless a task it is, necessarily—larger or smaller according to the size of the project, obviously. It's the same with writing a novel. As soon as I turn to it, it comes back to life (wakes up) and I start making progress; but I am reluctant to turn to it, indeed procrastinate, because I don't want to narrow my focus: I want to stay with my own thoughts and feelings, stay open to the moment, be more not less mindful of my actual existence. At the same time the rapt experience of working, narrowing in, then opening up within the focus, is itself precious and uniquely satisfying. It's a relief to stop all that flitting about for a time, settle on a twig, and look closely at the bugs behind the bark.

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