Moments That Last

Did you mean “this could go on forever” in a good way?
Ben Lerner

It takes a moment to write a paragraph. This one was planned yesterday and will take about half an hour to compose. If I were being absolutely rigorous, I would have spent five minutes at the end of my working day deciding what to say and then exactly 27 minutes at the start of today saying it. But I’m a bit jetlagged, which is making my evenings and mornings less reliable than I would like, so this one is being written in a stolen moment after a shift in the library. Still, the aim is to produce what I want to call “durable text”, “publishable prose,” and the “durability” of your writing can almost be quantified: it takes about one minute to read a paragraph like this, but I’m putting those 27 minutes into writing it. This means you can reread it without undermining its coherence; if you are interested, you can keep coming back for more and it will keep on giving. You should be able to read it 27 times in the time it took me to write it and still not wear it out. A paragraph, let’s say, is a moment that may last for ever.

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