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Descent Into Hell

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Descent Into Hell Novel

A recent article on The Onion is relevant here: “Man Not Sure Why He Thought Most Psychologically Taxing Situation Of His Life Would Be The Thing To Make Him Productive.”

“Admitting that a highly contagious, deadly pandemic had done little to stoke his creativity, local man Michael Ayers confided to reporters Wednesday that he wasn’t sure why he had imagined the most stressful situation he had ever experienced would be the thing that finally made him more productive. […] At press time, Ayers had reportedly decided that, going forward, he would instead focus all his time and attention on feeling guilty about his lack of productivity.”

While hiking this past weekend, M. and I talked about how we’re both wiped out relating to a broader concept that envelops topics such as self-care, mindfulness, personal growth, etc. We’re both reading books relating to either psychology or spirituality or personal development, but are having the most difficult time sticking to them. M. said last week was the most time she’s spent watching TV, just turning Netflix on and zoning out. I wish mine was contained to just last week.

About six weeks ago I had an idea that I’d use each day of the week to read a different book. That way I’d have something fresh to focus on each day as the week progressed. This still might be a good idea, but right now it’s not working. All the books I chose are too similar and my intention (that they’d act as a crash course into Zen Buddhism and mindful practice) has veered from execution (I am struggling to return to any of them right now).

A couple months ago I picked up this book, Descent Into Hell, by Charles Williams. I grabbed it for a dollar or two at Goodwill, mostly because I thought it was funny, buying a book by that title from a store that exists to sell discarded remnants of peoples’ lives; heaven for some, hell for others. I have no idea what the book is about, but started in on it today rather than “feeling guilty about [my] lack of productivity,” working toward this stated reading objective I’ve set for myself. I’ve been a little hard on myself lately. It’s interesting to see how that ebbs and flows given the state we’re all in.