Advice and Life

You see more sitting still than chasing after.

That’s Jonathan Franzen and one of his ten rules for fiction writing.  Like all infuriatingly good advice, it’s almost impossible to know exactly what it means, and there are few limits on its application.  I met a woman at a dinner party who listed for me the three fundamental human needs:  1) the need for cognitive control, 2) belonging, and 3) distinctiveness.  Now I see them everywhere.  In daily interaction.  In emails.  Add all that to a week where phrases like intellectualizing one’s emotions and radical nihilism have cropped up in conversation, and sitting still seems like a good idea.


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