The Office as a Burial Ground: Undated Image of a Writer

In an oral culture you are with others in groups, and you hear living voices, and you are frequently out of doors and engaged with the world. In a literate culture you value withdrawal from groups and withdrawal from voices, and are indoors a lot. You want to be alone. You want to disengage from the world, and step aside from the world, and set it onto a table top for examination at your liesure. You want quiet behind your mausoleum of desk drawers, behind the stacks of papers that surround you like stacks of burial shawls waiting their turn for your attention, only to rise over you and bury you. You are the writer who has lost control of your office. You are like the bee that has come through a window and cannot find its way out again, worrying the tables and the walls and substituting the flower it finds on the wallpaper for the living flower it has lost in the warm buzzing garden, which you are. 

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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