“I was dismayed to find in a tiny town that offered very little in the way of distraction, I nevertheless managed to be distracted much of the time. I had imagined a quiet place to write, but not that I would first need to foster more quiet within.”
from Kathleen Norris’s A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life: Acedia and Me.
Oh how I can relate to much of what Norris has written in Acedia and Me. A sense of boredom that overcomes me at times, making me listless and dreading to do even the most basic of chores. I had no idea that there was a word for this form of depression/routine/boredom and that it has a long history: ACEDIA. My computer’s dictionary defines it as spiritual or mental sloth; apathy–and it describes huge swatches of my life. How comforting to know that I share this state of being with others. I thought it was just a weirdness of my personality.
I think this is one of my favorite things about reading–I discover that so much about myself is actually universal, shared with and by many others. I don’t have to walk this path alone–I can follow trails blazed by monks, for example, in the 15 century.