All my adult life I have kept a distance from other people, it has been my way of coping, because I become so incredibly close to others in my thoughts and feelings of course, they only have to look away dismissively for a storm to break inside me. That closeness naturally informs my relationship with children, too, that is what allows me to sit down and play with them, but as they lack any veneer of courtesy and decency that adults have, this also means they can freely penetrate the outer bulwark of my personality, and then wreak as much havoc as they wish. My only defense, when it all started, was either sheer physical strength, which I was not able to use, or else simply to pretend I wasn’t bothered, possibly the best approach, but something I wasn’t so adept at, since the children, at least the most forward of them, immediately discovered how uncomfortable I was in their presence.
Oh, how undignified this was!
The New Yorker is running an excerpt from the second book of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s massive six-book masterpiece My Struggle, which will be released later in May. [via The New Yorker]