The following quote from W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn is currently guzzling Molotov cocktails in my brain. Though the book was written just prior to the real internet boom, I can’t believe how relevant this is. I’m sure there’s some medical wisdom somewhere that suggests that simply the act of being acutely diagnosed can cause one horse-slap of a recovery.

The quick context is that he is talking about old-fashioned weavers–the types that were literally tied to their skeletal, wooden looms for the whole work day, staring at complex threads being worked over by their hands. So, on page 283, he says:

“…[W]e are able to maintain ourselves on this earth only by being harnessed to the machines we have invented. That weavers in particular, together with scholars and writers with whom they had much in common, tended to suffer from melancholy and all the evils associated with it, is understandable given the nature of their work, which forced them to sit bent over, day after day, straining to keep their eye on the complex patterns they created. It is difficult to imagine the depths of despair into which those can be driven who, even after the end of the working day, are engrossed in their intricate designs and who are pursued, into their dreams by the feeling that they have hold of the wrong thread.”

That is all.


About bp

I'm writing a book. It's called, Wake, Sleeper. My writing revolves around this idea of art: attempts to recover what is lost.
This entry was posted in Series: Essays in Embryo, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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