I’m attempting to read Gustav Flaubert’s The Temptation of Saint Anthony, his 1874 depiction of the saint’s struggle with vice and distraction while searching for salvation in the Egyptian desert two thousand years ago.

Flaubert’s account inspired one of my favorite artists, Odilon Redon, whose eerie etchings sought to capture the “unfettered, immaterial world of the psyche.” The titles alone conjure worlds reminiscent of a Godspeed You! Black Emperor album: Then There Appears a Singular Being, Having the Head of a Man on the Body of a Fish, Everywhere Eyeballs Are Aflame, and Different Peoples Inhabit the Countries of the Ocean. And now you can buy a Temptation of Saint Anthony face mask because we’ve built ourselves a fine little hell.

I wrote a few more notes on my decayed attention, berserkers, and my father’s spiral notepads in my January letter.