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The Best of Rivals

By James K.A. Smith

Our solitude turns out to be crowded. The writer’s tiny hut is filled with ghosts; the painter’s chilly studio is populated by unseen rivals; in the poet’s hard-won hideaway, invisible influences lurk. Others are always already there. So much for the romantic myth.

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In Praise of Boredom

By James K.A. Smith

IN HIS BOOK The World Beyond Your Head, Matthew Crawford talks about what he calls “ecologies of attention”—the social infrastructure that shapes and channels the way we attend to the world. In an earlier age, quiet spaces cultivated the sort of attention that freed you up to read War and Peace. In the frantic ecology that…

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