I really don’t know what I want to say tonight, but I’m sitting here with a lot of feelings, so I thought I’d just write. I hope you guys aren’t feeling neglected — I swear, in the past few days, followers have been dropping like flies! Dearest readers, what is it that I did?! I sincerely apologize. Maybe you are all sick of hearing about my novel and NaNoWriMo. So I’m going to talk about something else today. I must warn you that I’m exhausted at the moment, and this will probably come out as word vomit.
Tonight I want to talk about snow. Despite growing up in Ann Arbor and seeing snow for the better part of every year, the first snowfall never fails to get me. Snow is like the lover I’ve had since I was born, but I never fail to be surprised and ecstatic when he comes to visit. There’s something about a beautiful layer of white on pavement and grass and tree branches that is magical. It makes me feel like everything is possible, like one day blood will no longer be shed and people of all kinds, shapes, and sizes will sit around a fireplace and hold hands and sing Kumbaya.
I’ve been reading too much post-Surrealist Latin American angst. Jorge Luis Borges, the famed Argentinian writer of poetry and prose, has this exquisite short story called “La muerte y la brújula”, “Death and the Compass”. Using the triangular structure of detective, sidekick, and antagonist, he crafts a crime story in which the detective’s complete faith in his reason leads him to his death. In the end, before he dies at the hands of the antagonist, the detective asks him to kill him differently next time and the murderer agrees. The story is Borges’ critique of the Age of Reason and he does it ironically through logical and rational — almost geometrical — steps.
On nights like these, I get the feeling that we’ve all got it wrong. What are we doing with ourselves, living these structured lives motivated by money, status, and entertainment? I think the Surrealists were on to something when they said that this was not life. In our modern world, life is lived on the edges of society, in the shadows, in the slums. When I was young, I lived a fuller life. I had emotions that I’ve long lost. I used to have this particular sensation — I can even remember where I was when I had it — and I would wonder why such a strong feeling had no name in the English vocabulary. I should have written it down, because now I’ve forgotten it. I used to have these out-of-body experiences where I could distinguish between my mind and my body. And then I’d look around me, at the people and materials, and I’d laugh at the absurdity of it all. What would happen if I marched naked down a street in broad daylight? It was only my body they saw — my soul was invisible to them.
Life is pointless if you think about it. The more progress you think you make, you’re only taking steps towards your death. So what can you do? Don’t fight it, celebrate it. In the wise words of Albert Camus, you must imagine yourself happy. Take delight in the struggle.
Tonight, I announce to the world: I am struggling. Shit is hitting my fan from every direction and I can only laugh at it. That is all. Goodnight and good luck.
Hasta pronto amigos,