The woman who reads the fashion magazines isn't passively imaging the act of having; she's actively imagining the act of shopping. (And distantly imagining the act of wearing.) She turns down pages not because she wants to look again but because, for that moment, she really intends to buy that--for a decisive moment she did buy it, even if she knows she never will. Reading recipe books is an active practice too, even if all the action takes place in your mind. We reanimate our passions by imagining the possibilities, and the act of wanting ends up mattering more than the fact of getting. It's not the false hope that it will turn out right that makes us go on with our reading but our being resigned to the knowledge that it won't ever, quite.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Paragraph of the Week
The New Yorker, Nov. 23, 2009. Adam Gopnik, "What's the Recipe?"