The Insteadness You’ve Been Waiting For! Now Online!

The other day, my wife and I went to hear this writer, Jonathan Lethem, speak at the Portland Arts & Lectures series.

Mr Lethem gave a very interesting—and funny—talk about a variety of things. I think I’ll read some of his books. But what really happened was his talk made me start a new website:

The most interesting thing to me in his talk was when he started explaining this word/concept he had made up: insteadness.

As I understand insteadness, it is the thing we focus on when we should maybe focus on something else. Jonathan told a longish—but funny—joke to explain it, but I don’t think it would be that funny to repeat here. It involved a conference of parapsychologists and a goat—you get the idea.

Suffice it to say that Jonathan’s idea of insteadness was pretty rich: you could see insteadnesses as bad (they distract us from what we should be paying attention to) and as good (maybe all art is really the creation of insteadnesses).

So I decided that maybe this whole idea of insteadness needs more work, and, for lack of a better idea, I set up a website at so we can get started.

I invited Jonathan to weigh in/help out at, but he hasn’t gotten back to me yet. He’s probably busy with something else instead.

I put up one insteadness already as an example, but we need more.