It is said that an important part of practicing Tai Chi is not to practice Tai Chi. This riddle puzzled me until I applied it in my own life. It was the time when I actively chose to ignore my desire to read. I stopped cold. No poetry. No prose of any kind. My mind became a hermitage within whose walls not even humming was to be tolerated. This was but one more way I had chosen to remove myself from the world around me. As with life, I found myself obsessively scrutinizing literature as if it were trying to trick me. I looked for angles. I winked at death symbols carefully placed on the night stand. I made mental note of foreshadowing, whose potential I found often lost in its own darkness. In short, what had once been a wondrous journey of the mind had somehow become a tedious and constant critique.