What I Read This Week - 17th March

I've been struggling through a fog this week (and some of last week, too). A changing-of-the-seasons illness; a bright, mild fever, days spent oscillating between the couch and the bed, bouts of frustration and depression broken by periods of relative pleasure, as the rain came down outside and I was all wrapped up inside, with no obligation other than to myself, to make myself better. I've consumed innumerable kinds of soup, swallowed pills, kept my voice to a whisper. And I'd like to say that during all that down-time I read voraciously and smartly, made a dent in my ever-expanding list of things to "read later", but the truth is: yes, I read Jane Eyre for the first time, and I'm most of the way through Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, but I mostly lay around watching episodes of Grey's Anatomy, marveling at how well the women's lipstick seems to adhere to their lips, even during 12-hour surgeries or passionate trysts. Today a heavy snow is falling (or a snow is falling heavily), reminding me of a St. Patrick's day blizzard we had one year in Boston; the weather had just begun to warm up, so it was a great disappointment to wake and realize that we had taken one step forward but about a hundred steps backwards. That afternoon my roommate and I took a bottle of André up to our rooftop and made a snowman that more strongly resembled a bowling pin. Later some friends and I went to a bar on Boylston street and sat around feeling almost grown up, because we really were almost grown up, in the sense that we were approaching the end of our college education.

Anyhow are are a few things that reached me through the fog:

- On (Un)organized Consumption (Cheri Lucas)

at the end of the day, we’re all going to miss almost everything.

Cheri being timely and elegantly spot-on, as usual.

- Meaghan O'Connell answers a question from a college student

But also I will say that college is your last chance to not worry about making a living — not that that’s always the case, but if it *is* the case, then it’s your last chance (well, uh, unless you are independently wealthy or marry someone who is? in which case, you won’t have to worry about money but you will still worry about your life, believe me) — so if you like reading books and talking and thinking and writing about books, do it while you can! It’s very hard to find a way to do that and also be a person in the world at the same time (and when you’re in college you’re not quite yet a person in the world, except for the people who are activists in college, who i do not mean to offend).

- What's the point of running? (Mark Rowlands at the Guardian)

This experience is found in other sports too: an absorption in the deed and not the goal; the activity and not the outcome. This is play in its purest form.

I don't run, or run much anymore - I have a mystery ailment that tends to prevent me getting more than a mile from the house before I have to limp back, and I'm too cheap (or, probably more accurately, too afraid) to see a physiotherapist - but I know this feeling anyhow, since it is, as Rowlands says, "found in other sports too". I like the idea that this feeling of absorption - absorption in the practice, not the result - is play. I've been writing about this sort of thing recently, and Rowlands' article seemed particularly apropos.