The pleasure in reading fiction is to find new things whether it is looking at something we think we know or something altogether alien to us. Perhaps this is because we crave understanding, if not in our own lives, at least in the confines of a book. This must have been one of the reasons for the Bible or virtually any other religious text. Unfortunately, I think most people have come to believe that religious writings offer some sense of control to our lives.
I have often written that English furniture from the 18th century has its rules, but that those rules are inevitably excepted, again and again. The moment you look for an absolute and feel that you have found one, you will soon find an exception. The people I admire most in my field are the ones who understand this and who take the time to add up the possibilities before any declamation.
Invariably, it is our conviction in our rightness which undoes us. This is a common lesson in literature. It is equally true that we need to be convinced that we are right in what we do. That is confidence and it is a lesson of literature as well. This conundrum is, in short, to make both variables happy within us without overdoing one or the other.
The last two books I have read mentioned Heidigger in both, one book on gardening and the other a novel. The reference was to living in the moment. I get that feeling of living in the moment when I spot a great piece of English furniture, particularly when no one else has seen it. I sense that conundrums of existence notwithstanding, this is a universal truth–to live in the moment. Or perhaps it is just a sucker punch.