Which of these images, taken from
, best describes your experience of
reading this book?
Assembling these patched words in an electronic space, I feel half-blind, as if the entire
text is within reach, but because of some myopic condition I am only familiar with from
dreams, I can see only that part most immediately before me, and have no sense of how
that part relates to the rest. When I open a book I know where I am, which is restful. My
reading is spatial and even volumetric. I tell myself, I am a third of the way down through
a rectangular solid, I am a quarter of the way down the page, I am here on the page, here
on this line, here, here, here. But where am I now? I am in a here and a present moment
that has no history and no expectations for the future.
Or rather, history is only a haphazard hopscotch through other present moments. How
I got from one to the other is unclear. Though I could list my past moments, they would
remain discrete (and recombinant in potential if not in fact), hence without shape, without
end, without story. Or with as many stories as I care to put together.
When I was “young” (though all my parts were old) I turned over a leaf and found a
massed and crawling nest of earwigs. I dropped the leaf and backed away from these
creatures that appalled me singly not at all.
What is dreadful about the plural? The swarm, the infestation. Is it that, without the
necessary limits of any discrete entity, the swarm seems only accidentally, not essentially
bounded in size? That it becomes a fragment of an infinite quantity, suggesting infinity
despite its own accidental measurements, just because those measurements are
When I ran from the nest of earwigs, was I escaping a universe packed from seam to