Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

Catalogued: Delivered from Distraction

with one comment

A quote plucked from my current reading material.

Valley Courier Office, Reading, Ohio

I have been drawn to literary people my entire life. My heroes during my adolescence were Dostoyevsky and Shakespeare. I was an English major in college. I have always liked to write, and many of my closest friends are writers, editors, publishers, agents, columnists, or other kinds of workers in the word business. I have always been intrigued by a commonality I have noted in literary people. They tend to be highly creative, witty, ironic, a tad cynical, and a tad depressed. They tend to drink a lot of alcohol, or be in recovery from having done so. They tend to harbor great dreams, but over the years lose faith in their ability to fulfill those dreams. And yet they also tend to be tenacious, working hard even as they lose hope that their work will pay off.

[…] As a psychiatrist, I have come to think of the literary type in genetic terms. I believe they inherit the genes that predispose toward [reward deficiency syndrome], as well as the genes that predispose toward verbal dexterity, keen powers of observation, a highly developed sense of irony, and a touch of depression. Due to the RDS, they can’t find sufficient pleasure in ordinary life. So they resort to extraordinary means. For example, they write. They submit to that unforgiving discipline to try to improve upon life by creating order, even beauty, out of chaos. That is an extraordinary effort to find ordinary pleasure.

Edward M. Hallowell, Delivered from Distraction


Yes, I’m taking this idea directly from Conor F., because I like it so much. I never get around to “reviewing” books as a whole on here, though I always mean to. But I can handle posting quotes … We will go with “in my backpack,” rather than “on my bookshelf,” however, as a) I don’t have a bookshelf right now, and b) while Conor’s are quotes “plucked from [his] accumulated tomes,” the quotes I post will be from whatever book or magazine I am reading at the moment. And, yes, I carry a backpack with me to and from the office. Screw grown-up bags.


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