seeking inspiration in the mundane & unfamiliar
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One of the things about being a girl is that, often, no one encourages you to be ambitious. Sometimes you’re told you’re going to be a failure, but it’s more fun to rebel against that than rebelling against the idea you’re going to be a success—which is what a lot of guys get told. I got to rebel by succeeding, and it surprised everyone, including myself.
The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. Still, we endure stoically, because the etiquette books—written, no doubt, by extroverts—regard declining to banter as rude and gaps in conversation as awkward. We can only dream that someday, when our condition is more widely understood, when perhaps an Introverts’ Rights movement has blossomed and borne fruit, it will not be impolite to say “I’m an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush.”
It’s not just the journalists but the armed extremists who are freelancers in Syria. It’s another thing that makes the conflict there different, and so complicated to report. It must be galling for Syria’s freelance journalists to think that they’re worth more as cash cows and captives than for any of the reporting they went there to do. These men and women crossed a dangerous border to plug the gaps in our understanding of a many-layered conflict. When the hunting season came, they made easy prey. But here is something else that is true: they have a natural ability to bond with anyone and see the world through any point of view. They are some of the most cunning and resourceful people you’ll ever meet. If anyone can make it back, they can.

"Evaporated," Vanity Fair

What else could one do with such a tangled formation but transform it into writing? Not in order to untangle it and tie up loose ends. Not to say, neatly, “This is who I am, and that is why.” Not, finally, to reduce experience to a formula, but rather to convert confusion into curiosity, to face questions that don’t have easy answers, and to create spaces in which others, be they students or readers, might do the same.

Those who are putting in those last few hours at the job tell themselves that they don’t have time now, but after they have finally made partner, or finally saved another so many thousand dollars, then at last they will have the time, and they will take it.

Unfortunately, this is a very slippery slope to tread. There are some things that can only be done during a certain part of one’s life. You can only be a father or a mother to a young child while the child is young. Children soon enough grow away from their parents, and you can’t really tell an eighteen-year-old that at long last daddy is ready to play with him.

Another way to look at life is to look at it as a great shopping mall, not the usual kind, where goods are purchased with money, but one where such things as worldly success, love of music, enjoyment of painting, a six handicap golf game, a close relationship with your daughter, and many other similar things are also for sale. But the commodity with which they are purchased is not money but is time. And quite contrary to the way the capitalist system works with money and goods, every one of us is given exactly the same amount of time in each hour, in each day, and in each year. It is a limited amount, and it is impossible for anyone to be so rich in “time” that he can enjoy every single one of the things which time may buy.

So there is a choice to be made, just as in purchasing goods with money, although the choice in the one case is far less obvious than the choice in the other.