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This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Unfocused? - Not Really - My Infinite Summer -- About of a third of the way through the 1,000 page Infinite Jest, I've committed to it. Brittney Gilbert, at the Infinite Summer blog, has a great post on the experience, that matches mine. From You Have Chosen To Be In Here...
Infinite Jest takes focus. I cannot listen to music while reading this novel, nor can I take it in with television on in the background. I can't skim parts and still get the gist. The text requires 100% participation on my part. It has become a meditation. I have to be present and mindful in order to fully ingest the words before me. I cannot click to open a new tab, to check to Twitter to see if anyone famous has died, or refresh D-Listed. (Which I am proud to say I have not done even once during the drafting of this post. Yet.) It's just me and the lavish landscape Wallace created.

"I am in here."

I have chosen to care about this book, to give it a place in my life. In doing so I am rewarded with messages in IJ about the importance of being present. Of just breathing. Themes abound in IJ about focus, about choosing what it is that you pay attention to, and how crucial it is to do that with the utmost care. If only because our whole lives depend on it.

...

The non-linear (to say the least) structure, the constant change in voice, forced flipping, always flipping, to the back of the book for endnotes are elements that donít allow you to get lost in a story. "You are reading a book," you are often reminded. You are in here. You are not Cinderella at the ball or Hermione at Hogwarts, you are reading Infinite Jest. You may get caught up in the frenzy of Erdedy's panicked wait for pot, but not for long. Soon you are reading Infinite Jest again...
I'm glad it's the first real piece of fiction I've picked up in more than a few years.

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