Some dedicated decluttering of my workspace (inspired by Merlin Mann's example) yielded two nice finds today: Harvey Pekar's The Quitter, which I bought last fall and then placed upon a stack of books (which continued to grow), and, sitting in a file tray, a page with some thoughts on the idea of "covering" a century or half-century of literature in a college semester:
When I think about what the word cover is supposed to mean, I think of the joke scenario of tourists rushing from one landmark or museum to another, determined to "see" (or better, "have seen") each one so that they can cross it off their list and get on to something else. But the desire to "cover" or "get things done" is antithetical to genuine appreciation of places or works of the imagination. (And I'm reminded that one of the meanings of cover is "to hide from sight or knowledge.") The real work of seeing might be thought of as a matter of uncovering, which takes time and extended attention. That's the mindset of the museum-goer who looks at just a handful of works and leaves the museum having had an authentic experience of looking at art. And who then keeps looking, again and again.
Another decluttering post
Teunously related post
Harvey Pekar's The Quitter