a presence that disturbs me with the joy

Twelve months after walking out through the glass revolving doors of the College with a degree, our hero walks through the same doors with a Master’s degree in English Literature and so the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty is complete. So what has our hero learned?

Stand in any library, any bookshop, anyplace where there are lots of books. They tell stories, good ones and bad ones. They try to explain things. Reading books brings about a transcendental sense of nihilism. You are going to die. Everyone you know is going to die. That is a guarantee. You are totally screwed in this regard.

So why waste that time reading?

Because, inevitably, if you read shit you will discover that you are not the first person who was ever anxious, confused or frightened. It is not even close. You are in a long queue. There is nothing unique about your struggle. Lots of people have been as screwed up as you are, the same fears and worries have crossed their minds too, often a century or two before you were born. Some of them took the time to write these thoughts down. You can read them, learn from them, cherish or forget them. Someday you might follow in their footsteps and write something down and some other soul on the highway of life will find it, read it and take solace from it. It is a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it is not education. It is history. It is poetry.

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