Tag Archives: Maria Popova

This is Water

Today, Maria Popova tweeted that this is the 10th anniversary of David Foster Wallace’s remarkable commencement address at Kenyon College. I am linking to her post about commencement addresses, as well as the 22 minutes “This is Water” speech. I first learned of DFW through this speech, and it was the beginning of a wild admiration and love for the brain and thinking of this writer. Some days I think that sharing the thoughts of others on my blog is just fine. Today is one of those days.

Do consider watching the commencement speech, even if you do not typically click on my links. This speech is simply wonderful, full of wisdom and heartfelt transparency which speaks directly to the hearts of his listeners.

Maria Popova on Commencement Speeches

Hurry Up and Wait

Do you know Maria Popova? She is the curator of the weekly newsletter Brain Pickings. I first heard of Brain Pickings from an online friend in a group I used to be part of. I now follow Maria on Twitter (@brainpickings), as well as receive the weekly newsletter.

Truth is, I find her newsletter layout to be difficult to read because it so chock full of material. But I will acknowledge that part of the problem is probably the fact that I am often in a hurry. Which is what makes today’s post rather ironic, but also illuminating to me.

Recently, she mentioned a book called “Hurry Up and Wait” by Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler. I scrolled back through her Twitter feed to find the original tweet, but it did not appear through the entire month of May. But I trust that I heard about this book from her.

I had reserved it at the library the other day, and was whisking around cleaning up my front room this morning, saw the book, and decided to quickly read through it so I could take it back to the library. Not so fast. I began to thumb through the pages quickly, and suddenly the text accompanying the photographs arrested my attention. Page 20 “I was going to say something more about hurrying, but why take up your time? You have things to do. You can flip through this and go on to the what it is that’s waiting for you, the next thing.” Page 21: “And by this, I mean everything.” Suddenly, I got it. I slowed right down, and began to experience the process of reading the book, rather than just focusing on getting it over with.

Instead of whipping through a book and moving onto the next thing, I read it, and re-read it, and looked at the photo credits in the back, and took time to experience each photo and painting in the book, and I was reminded through it all that the time is now. The present moment is the one I am experiencing, and if I am spending the present moment thinking about the future, I am missing the now.

I notice myself scrolling through Facebook and Twitter kind of like thumbing through a magazine I’m not all that interested in. What’s next, what’s next, what’s next. Brain Pickings offers me the opportunity to ask what’s now, what is now, what is the now, what is in the now. Just like that, I shall slow down, at least until I’m distracted enough to start again to rush.

Page 55:

“How long can we stay here?

We hurry around for awhile

and then it’s time to go.

Time to go. Everybody says it.

Time to go.

And then we do.”