The second in our series, “The Mind: Hmmm. I Don’t Know.”

I marked interesting phrasings or passages that stuck out as I read Jonathan Franzen’s book of essays, “How to Be Alone.” A week or so later, I now turn back to find the flagged passages. And I have to wonder. What struck me so much about the phrase “the business end of a broken rake”. Or that “the Arkansas [River], roiling and bucking just beyond, is the color of steamed artichokes.” Or that a seventy-two year old Texan lady liquidated her furniture store “because she could make better money on Wall Street and (she quips) the stock is easier to carry.”

It’s not like I marked a trillion passages, either. Maybe only five or six per 25-page essay.

This quote, at least, I know I marked because it was sort of a lowering of expectations for writers, which gave me a little kick of optimism: “…imaginative writing is fundamentally amatuer. It’s the lone person scouring the trash heap, not the skilled team assembling an entertainment, and we Americans are lucky enough to live in the most wonderful world of junk.”

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