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We always sacrifice a virgin

“When I learned about the shrew, the poor unevolved, benighted shrew, which will keep jumping high in the air at a place in its accustomed path where an obstacle, a rock perhaps, once was but no longer is, well, I wondered about all those places where, though the obstacles have long been removed, one persists either in the jump or in taking the long way round. It seemed such an unnecessary jolt or expenditure of time and energy. And yet if you have acquired a profound aversion to just such a place simply because of an obstacle that once was there, or an incapacity to discern that the obstacle no longer exists, or an indifference as to whether it exists or not, or if the habit of pointless jumping, or detour, or even turning back dejected has become for you the path itself, or if you have a superstitious need to treat the spot as though the obstacle remained, or even a belief that the discovery that the obstacle is gone is in itself a punishable offense, if any of these things is true for you, then you are lost. Or probably lost, unless the habitual path, the compulsion, the leap, the turning back, the long detour have for you another value. Individuality, for instance, love, obsession. Or for that matter, art.” – Renata Adler, Pitch Dark

Published inLit & CritRenata Adler

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