Saturday, May 22, 2010
I knew what I was doing at Paw-Paw: I was beginning the lifelong task of tuning my own gauges. I was there to brace myself for leaving. I was having my childhood. But I was haunting it, as well, practically reading it, and preventing it. How much noticing could I permit myself without driving myself round the bend? Too much noticing and I was too self-conscious to live; I trapped and paralyzed myself, and dragged my friends down with me, so we couldn’t meet each other’s eyes, my own loud awareness damning us both. Too little noticing, though—I would risk much to avoid this—and I would miss the whole show. I would wake on my deathbed and say, What was that?
— Annie Dillard, An American Childhood