Went to the David Sedaris reading yesterday. It was pleasant being read to and finding the stories funny. Sigh. It's just that I get so anxious thinking about all the good books I should be reading or have read, so much so that I freeze up and avoid it all together. Knowledge is a scary thing to confront as an individual. I think that maybe I should go back and get another liberal arts degree, in history or something similar, so that I could understand our past and why the world is the way it is today. I don't always care, because my comfortable life status never really forces me to, but I always feel a persistent nagging that I should, as a human being, and especially as an American. (Now that I've moved over to avoiding people, perhaps I should start confronting large-scale ideas and issues..)
At the end, Mr. Sedaris kindly recommended a few books and authors. I looked up one of them, Tobias Wolff, and have been covertly reading his memoir on Google Books at work since this morning. Here's a wonderfully written passage from it (Background: his mother had enrolled him in a Catholic school to spite her Protestant ex-husband, and his nun teacher is requiring all students to go through their first confession):
“I thought about what to confess, but I could not break my sense of being at fault down to its components. Trying to get a particular sin out of it was like fishing a swamp, where you feel the tug of something that at first seems promising and then resistant and finally hopeless as you realize that you’ve snagged the bottom, that you have the whole planet on the other end of your line.”
- This Boy's Life
So perceptive of a little boy. With a sad childhood.