I wonder whether, twenty or forty or a hundred years ago people were complaining about their lack of focus. There are many objects of blame (kids! internet!) but whether any of those feeds into it or not, it all comes down to what I choose to focus on. And in the effort to hone my focus, I’m going to turn to…Anton Chekhov.
Not that the answer lies in The Lady with the Lapdog, though that would be interesting. It’s that I have this tendency to read a story here, a novel there…and nothing sticks. So I’m going to start reading authors – their entire works (stories, plays, letters, notebooks, whatever they wrote) and try to develop a richer understanding of their lives and their craft. Chekhov is first partly because I love his stories and plays and have dipped into his (brilliant) letters and notebooks. The letters alone are a mix of the quotidian and miniature stories and character sketches. He is the sort of writer whose work makes one want to try harder.