I’ve been distracted of late. Since returning from Western Australia, I’ve had a lot of trouble settling down to work at the desk. I’ve spent too much time browsing the internet for information that I don’t really need, checking out Facebook and fiddling with bits of stray paperwork. Which is probably why I really enjoyed reading Damon Young‘s Distraction: A Philosopher’s Guide to Being Free
Distraction is accessible, informative and fun – traits we don’t conventionally associate with works of philosophy. I know a lot of older teenagers who will really enjoy reading this book – I’m buying multiple copies for Christmas presents.
I especially love this particular quote from the book:
‘But if we want emancipation from distraction, we have to listen more carefully. Because if we are the ones who have to live and die (rather than machines) then we have to be decisive about the values that inform, motivate and justify our lives. This is something technology will never do for us.’
In all the workshops that I conduct with young writers, I try and encourage kids to listen to the stories that are part of their every day existence, to look keenly at the world around them. In a world full of colourful distractions, sometimes the best stories get overlooked. Which is exactly what is happening to the manuscript of my futuristic novel Vulture’s Gate – all the distractions in my life are letting me overlook how important it is to finish it. Not least because my editor will be really cranky if I don’t meet deadline. I don’t need more inspiration – this is the fourth draft – but I do need to stop allowing myself to be distracted by things of less importance. Time to be decisive and get back to the future.