JUDY WOODRUFF: The international bestselling author Ann Patchett has written seven novels and three nonfiction books. She contributes essays and criticism to an array of newspapers and journals. And she owns a bookstore in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. A lot on her plate? Well, most would think so. But it's not a matter of juggling. Tonight, in our essay, In My Humble Opinion, the case for doing one thing at a time.
ANN PATCHETT, Owner, Parnassus Books: In my 30s, I decided to get serious about baking. I bought cookbooks and went to work. It was shocking how often my attempts failed. My cakes were flat, dry, sunken, flavorless. You name it. After taking careful inventory of my equipment and ingredients, I was forced to call myself into question: Was I reading the recipe carefully? Was I following directions? Not exactly. I had done most of what was required, but never all of it. So, I baked a cake while paying full attention to nothing but the cake, and it came out perfectly. It looked like the cake in the book. Baking turned out to be a lesson in what we used to call reading comprehension. I hadn't been paying attention to the text, which might have been because I was talking on the phone while folding the wet and dry ingredients, or I was folding the laundry while running the mixer, or making a note to myself in the margins of the cookbook to write a piece about cakes. Behold, the confidence it takes to glance at a recipe from the corner of one eye and think it will all turn out fine, or behold the confidence it takes to drive a car while sending a text message, though, if you're going to try and fail at multitasking, it's better do it in the kitchen than on the interstate. People like to ask me the secret to writing novels. For me, it's the ability to stay focused. Admitting that I'm incapable of multitasking was the important first step. In order to write a novel, I have to show up to work fully present and concentrate on one thing. It turns out this is also the secret to baking a cake, and being in a successful relationship, and being a good parent and a good friend. If your attention span has shrunken like a sweater accidentally thrown in the dryer, and you want to stretch it out again, then reading a book can serve the same purpose as writing one. Like baking, reading books can be the antidote to fragmentation and distraction. Chapter by chapter, you can retrain yourself to pay attention for longer periods of time. Books are also a great source of entertainment, education, and empathy. They're available for free at your local library, and are for sale at your local independent bookstore for a fraction of the cost of a new iPhone. I was told this essay should be three minutes' long, that three minutes is the length of time people would pay attention. So, read some more books, and next time, we will talk for longer.
1.it's a matter of 是某方面的问题
In the final analysis, it's a matter of honesty.
2.come out 结果/到头来
In this grim little episode of recent American history, few people come out well.
3.stretch out 伸展
He was about to stretch out his hand to grab me.
4.take inventory 盘点
So as we begin, let us take inventory.
安·帕契特，Parnassus Books店主：在我三十多岁时，我决定认真对待烘焙这件事 。我买了烹饪书，去做 。我的尝试失败了，这让我大为震惊 。我做的蛋糕乏善可陈，干燥，凹陷，食之无味 。随你说吧 。在仔细盘点了我的设备和配料后，我不得不扪心自问：我之前有没有好好阅读食谱？我是按照指导步骤来的吗？不完全 。大部分需要做的事，我都做了，但从未完全 。所以，我（再）烤蛋糕时，除了蛋糕，心无旁骛，最后结果相当完美 。那蛋糕看起来就像书中所描述的那样 。结果，烘焙给我们所谓的阅读理解，上了一课 。我之前从未专注于我手中的文本，可能是因为那时我一边讲着电话，一边手里摆弄着干湿配料，或者搅拌机在工作的时候，我（顺便）叠下衣服，或者在食谱的页边空白处给自己写点关于蛋糕的只言片语 。瞧，用眼角瞥一下食谱就想当然地认为它很不错的信心，或瞧那一边发信息一边开车的信心，但如果你尝试同时处理多项任务，结果却失败了，你最好还是让这一切发生在厨房里吧，可别发生在洲际公路上 。人们总喜欢问我写小说的秘密 。对我来说，那就是保持专注的能力 。承认我不能同时完成多项任务，是重要的第一步 。为了写一部小说，我必须身心临在，全神贯注于一件事 。事实证明，这也是烤蛋糕及维系良好关系的秘诀，也是成就一个好父母和好朋友的秘诀 。如果你的注意时长缩短了，就像一件毛衣不小心甩到干衣机里一样，你想把它延长，那么读书和写作都可以达到相同的目的 。和烘焙一样，阅读书籍可以成为矫正碎片化和分心的良方 。一章一节，你可以训练自己长期专注 。书籍也是娱乐、教育和产生共鸣的重要源泉 。你当地的图书馆可以免费提供书籍，当地也有进行独立销售的书店，这些花销也就是你那新iPhone的九牛一毛 。有人告诉我，我这篇文章应该控制在三分钟的长度，这三分钟是人们专注的时长 。所以，多读一些书，下次我们再聊 。