Monday, March 14, 2011

I like Lincoln, but Maybe Not That Much

I bought a biography of Lincoln by David Herbert Donald. It won awards and stuff, and it is a thorough and readable biography. I read the Gore Vidal biography years ago, and enjoyed it so much that I thought I would enjoy a “real” Lincoln biography. But I’m afraid in the years since, my attention span has collapsed in upon itself to leave a tiny hole through which information must travel at steam-whistle speed. I can’t tell you how many times I checked Twitter in the two hours I devoted to reading this afternoon. I can’t tell you because it would be embarrassing. Suffice it to say that I am on page 73.

My mind wandered. I really should have given up and committed to spending the afternoon painting, or given my restless state of mind, sanding a frame or cleaning my studio.

I wish I had better control over my state of mind. I hear you say “learn to meditate.” That is good advice, imaginary person, but since my mind’s restlessness is based on my compulsion to learn and do everything before its too late (miming the international fake knife across throat motion), I have trouble sitting still and commanding my mind to do the same when it feels that every moment spent sitting still is a moment lost.

Well. It didn’t long for me to make the link between a Lincoln biography and the race towards death. Wait. That’s pretty much what any Lincoln biography is.

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