On Boredom and Bad Smells

Mary Gordon at Salmagundi:

They have always been with me, these two fears: of boredom and bad smells. I have no memory of a life free of them.

We like to think that children are not bored. That what we call boredom is not open to them. That what is being called boredom must be something else: petulance, a too demanding nature, plain fatigue. We assume that children can be easily distracted and that if the distraction doesn’t work, another one can easily be found to take its place. This is simply not true. So much of the life of a child is a flat, unbroken plain, a nullity, a waiting for something, a waiting more painful than an adult’s because often what is desired cannot yet be named. I know that I was often bored as a child, and I can trace the reasons. I was not good at being a child. I did not find interesting the things that children were supposed to find interesting.

more here.