Make Friends and Influence Others by Being Alone.

So it’s surely no coincidence that my passion for literary fiction
began, somewhere in my early teens, with the dawning realization that I
was a flawed creature, no longer the golden hero of my childhood
dreams. With my own heart already beating at cross-purposes, I read to
have my emerging view of the world, and my shaky place in it,
validated. Peers and parents seemed to take a dim view of this
interest: “Always with your head in a book. You’re anti-social.”
Actually, I was trying to be pro-social; I was reading to feel less
weird, to see my anxieties reflected in other “characters,” to enjoy
that delicious “shock of recognition.” Even then, the paradox seemed
clear: Reading is a solitary activity that makes me feel less alone. I
wasn’t escaping from life, but escaping into life, or into a sense of
it that more truly echoed my own.

Obviously, most pop culture leads us in the reverse direction, and the
people who love it (or, like me, intermittently love it) insist: “I
just want to be entertained. I want, for an hour or so, to get away
from my cares and woes.” Fine for them, fine for me too. That kind of
“escapism” is perfectly valid. But this stuff is all around us now, and
too much of it generates a further paradox: Escapist entertainment has
become its own vast prison. Often, we’re just exchanging one jail for
another, and one brand of woe for the next.

(Excerpted from.)

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Make Friends and Influence Others by Being Alone.

So it’s surely no coincidence that my passion for literary fiction
began, somewhere in my early teens, with the dawning realization that I
was a flawed creature, no longer the golden hero of my childhood
dreams. With my own heart already beating at cross-purposes, I read to
have my emerging view of the world, and my shaky place in it,
validated. Peers and parents seemed to take a dim view of this
interest: “Always with your head in a book. You’re anti-social.”
Actually, I was trying to be pro-social; I was reading to feel less
weird, to see my anxieties reflected in other “characters,” to enjoy
that delicious “shock of recognition.” Even then, the paradox seemed
clear: Reading is a solitary activity that makes me feel less alone. I
wasn’t escaping from life, but escaping into life, or into a sense of
it that more truly echoed my own.

Obviously, most pop culture leads us in the reverse direction, and the
people who love it (or, like me, intermittently love it) insist: “I
just want to be entertained. I want, for an hour or so, to get away
from my cares and woes.” Fine for them, fine for me too. That kind of
“escapism” is perfectly valid. But this stuff is all around us now, and
too much of it generates a further paradox: Escapist entertainment has
become its own vast prison. Often, we’re just exchanging one jail for
another, and one brand of woe for the next.

(Excerpted from.)

Posted in UncategorizedTagged

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