Sven Birkerts is the author of 8 books, most recently The Art of Time in Memoir: Then, Again (Graywolf). He edits the journal AGNI at Boston University and directs the Bennington Writing Seminars. He will publish The Other Walk, a book of memoiristic reflections, next year. He is haunted by the idea of obsolescence and has been diagnosed with the rare disorder ‘ephemeraphobia,’ the dominant symptom of which is living with the sense that everything is being outmoded even as it is being used. His defense against this is to create elaborate Crusoe-ish scenarios in which old useless props like rotary phones, puncturing can openers, and vacuum tubes have to be repurposed in innovative ways. The sadness of the loss of anything is compensated by the fantasy of its transformation into a new use.