As I sit in My Dockside Chair

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I sit in my dockside chair and watch the water and the sky and the reflections that ripple in the waves as the fishing boats go by, and hear the birds and smell the air and feel the cold breeze on my face and arms, and think, “This is nothing.” And it’s true: it really is nothing. This day is nothing. This dock is nothing. These feelings and thoughts, they’re nothing. But they’re a good nothing, a very good nothing, the very best nothing: the kind of nothing you wish there were more of, the kind of nothing you live to regret for not having appreciated it more, the nothing that is life itself, at its best. And even when its finally yours for a change, even then you know it can’t last, that it will be over sooner than you know. And even when you know it, still, it will have eluded you, this miraculous nothing. You’ll feel as though you missed it, as though it never happened, or it happened but to some one else in a story you read long, long ago: this sitting on a chair on a dock on a cloudy lakeside day with nothing to do.

About Peter Selgin

Peter Selgin is the author of Drowning Lessons, winner of the 2007 Flannery O’Connor Award for Fiction, Life Goes to the Movies, a novel, two books on the craft of fiction, and several children’s books. His memoir, Confessions of a Left-Handed Man, was short-listed for the William Saroyan International Prize. His latest novel, The Water Master, won the William Faulkner Society Prize, selected by Random House Senior Editor Will Murphy. His work has won the Missouri Review Editors’ Prize, the Dana Award, six Best American Essay notable essay citations, and two selections for the Best American series. A second memoir, The Inventors, is forthcoming from Hawthorne Books in April of 2016. He teaches at Antioch University’s MFA program and is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia College & State University.

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