Overwhelm

I finished A Wild Sheep Chase and I'm onto Knausgaard again.

I find that I can't read it for very long, not for lack of enthusiasm or attention but because I get overwhelmed. It's not for the subject matter, either. It's something that's always happened to me when reading books, something stirs me and I have to get up from my seat and pace and think about what's been said, how I would react.

Now I'm the character. I'm on the bus and the shame of the young boy is my shame. I'm reliving my past alongside this new imagined present. On the bus and in my room in the Lower East Side, Berkeley, San Rafael or Miami. I'm watching the way the light changes as the sun goes down, the way the window slats make thin rectangles of light on the floor, a new window for me to see through to my own shame and I'm wincing and pacing and I go back to read just a little bit more before I can't take it, I'm back on my feet again, it's like the couch is spring-loaded how fast I shoot from there. How strange I would seem if anyone was around to see.

It seems like one of those awful things a writer would say on NPR, in a sedated voice. "Terry, literature overwhelms me."

But tonight it's true.