I give the body what it wants: sweets
and caresses, fatty substances, firm
beds to support it.
- William Bronk
And warm clothes. You need them where I live. Seattle. The land of eternal winter. I like coats with big pockets, or at least one big pocket, for carrying a book. It’s important to have a book available for those occasions when I have to wait for something. A doctor. A dentist. A bank teller. I used to be able to read books at the airport until they installed televisions everywhere. I’m not religious, but I could go to a chapel. Most airports have chapels, do they not? I could read there. I am assuming the chapels are equipped with speakers so that you can hear your flight announced in the relative quiet of the chapel. Reading a book feels increasingly quixotic these days. The human imagination feels under continual assault. It’s a feeling akin to standing kneedeep in the surf feeling the sand pulled out from your feet by the current. I feel that everything meaningful in the culture is getting pulled out from beneath my feet by a current of conformity. Conformity to corporate values. Which aren’t good values at all. Consequently I am always in pursuit of something that feels inherently anachronistic. Like reading a book. Or engorging my soul with something oracular. Which isn’t easy. There are so many temptations. So many diversions. Learning self-forgiveness is crucial. A formulation for indulgence should include explorations of a sensual nature, like soaking all day in a hot spring, or tasting fine wines. Or drifting through a sentence juggling high explosives. I have a theorem concerning indulgences and it is this: avoid cold. Avoid war. Avoid work. But above all avoid stucco. It’s just so ugly.