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How should a person be on holiday?

Just another man being taught something by Sheila Heti's book.

I’m back! I had the most wonderful trip away. Last month, I worked so much I started to worry I’d never relax or think calmly ever again. But all the madness disappeared as soon as Cannes Lions ended. Jude picked me up and we drove into Italy – it was boiling hot and we stuck to the hills or the sea where there was room to breathe and the warm air smelt like Australia. First all my brain was fit for was chatting and laughing. Then I could read again, and the first book I devoured was Sheila Heti’s How should a person be? What is there to say about this strange, outrageously good work? I’ll leave that to proper critics:

An extract on N+1 | “The culture decides what it wants”: Sheila Heti on writing, youth and beauty in The Awl | “I felt a lot of despair. I put How Should a Person Be? in the drawer. Finally I took it back out. I decided it was the wrong thing to do. I couldn’t accept that a drawer was the fate of this book. I felt determined to make it work.” Sheila Heti in The Millions | Why smart, serious men have misunderstood Sheila Heti’s new book, on Slate | “Though we can’t know for sure, it’s tempting to believe that How Should a Person Be? tells the real story of Heti’s artistic redemption.” A review on BookForum | The Age of Girlfriends in The New Yorker | Sheila Heti on Girls: “I don’t think I’ve ever done that before—rewatched scenes from something I’ve liked. It felt like rereading the scenes you love in a book.” Paris Review.

But as for me – well, I don’t know whether it was taking a break or reading HSAPB? but my mind, the part that gets put on hold when I am swimming in paid work, burst into life again. I feel like I’m back on track.

PS. Did you catch the amazing guest READ.LOOK.THINKs that went up while I was away? Thank you Sophie, Emily, Natalie and Hila.

PPS. Vic taught me, once and for all, how to load film in my camera and take it out. So I have lots of pictures to share from my trip!

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