A Bit More Wallace Shawn

I noticed on the floor, so far below us, all of our clothes, in their arbitrary pattern, as they’d fallen–what awfulness, what falseness they represented: everything in the world which we supposedly were but really were not: how easily a historian or a sociologist could deduce from looking at this disorderly pile our precise location in the long parade of the human race–the historical moment we’d lived in, our place on the economic scale, which city, which streets, what buildings we’d inhabited, what landscapes we’d known–how easily he could describe our tastes, our beliefs, the music, the books–to all of which we could only cry out very feebly, “No! No! You don’t understand!” Sometime–when?–before we were twenty–we’d reached into the heap of available thoughts and available practices and grabbed one thing and another to cover our nakedness, but always knowing it wasn’t really what we wanted. The tastes, the beliefs, the manner, the style–they all were hastily improvised approximations, as if we’d always planned to return to them later and revise them, fix them, but we never had.

–from Grasses of a Thousand Colors by Wallace Shawn (TSC, 2009)

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