If I had to summarize the lessons of the Trump era in one sentence, I would say, "The Trump years were a painful lesson in the toxic danger of self-absorption, though many people were too fixated on themselves to notice."
I'm as guilty as anybody—okay, not as guilty as those willing to scrap our democratic traditions, their own physical well-being and truth itself in service of a monster who whispers sweet nothings in their ears. But still pretty damn self-centered.
Though I'm aware of it, and try to fight it, and occasionally succeed. I like to think that counts for something.
For instance, in October, James Finn Garner, leading "Inside for Indies," a laudable effort to drive folks to independent bookstores for the holidays, asked me to give a tour of my home office. He didn't have to ask twice (well, okay, he did, but that was more from disorganization and delay than reluctance. I was glad to do it, eventually). There is something enticing about showing off your space. I definitely remember being in 7th grade, navigating the difficulties of Roehm Junior High School, and there being a hip young teacher, Miss Jones, a big 1973 afro, and I remember thinking, "If only Miss Jones could see my bedroom, she'd understand."
Anyway, I showed off my office, in a video I shot myself, and the result was suitably low production value that I didn't see need to share it beyond the leaf-in-the-wind of Twitter and the raise-a-finger-and-clear-your-throat-in-a-riot of Facebook. Leading, after only 10 weeks, to a grand total of 177 views on Facebook, which give you an idea of the kind of small ball I'm playing here. Frankly, I was glad not too many people saw it, between my skipping the punchline in the 55-word story I read (the title is "Published") to my godawful attempt to read a Louise Glück poem.
But a regular reader objected. A while back, and again this past week, Jakash writes:
I asked about this once and you replied that you were considering it. I'll ask one more time and then never mention it again.
Half of the commenters to your EGD post yesterday remarked about the photos of your old S-T office which accompanied it. (I was one of them, but still...)
I think they, and certainly some other folks, would be interested to see that video of your home (and months-long primary) office that you filmed for that independent-bookstore supporting online series a while back. Maybe you don't agree, or maybe you have another reason for not wanting to post it. Which is fine, needless to say.
Aw heck, if it's important to you, sure. So, with apologies in advance, you want me nattering on about books and writing in my home office for a dozen minutes, you can find it here.