Snow

Winter 2010. I need to use my film camera again.

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,

R

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9 thoughts on “Snow

  1. I would say that no matter what you do, no matter how your actions affect the world, no matter what, you are always taking your steps towards death. Since we were born this is what we’ve been doing, there is nothing wrong in this, it is the natural progression of our lives, finite as they are. I would say not to concern yourself with this fact, as recognizing it doesn’t truly change anything.I would say, live for a sense of accomplishment, live for yourself, but above all, live for a sense of happiness. Obviously it is easier said than done, and on that note, I can only wish you good luck!

    • Whoa I just read the Wikipedia page and it sounds incredibly fascinating! “When someone is experiencing depression, their causa sui (or heroism project) is failing, and they are being consistently reminded of their mortality and insignificance as a result.” Hmm…

      I really do need to get back into reading, but it’s difficult when you have so many things going on. After I finish writing this damn book, I will go to the bookstore.

  2. Hi Rebecca,

    I think you’re not the only one that thinks in that way. Nevertheless i hope you find your own answer soon, because that’s the only one that matters really. And remember that death has an equalizer effect, making you think that at the end nothing matters because everyone will end in the same way. But that’s not really true, while you are alive, society enrich ourselves in many ways that maybe you haven’t even noticed.

    When you understand better death, you will begin to think more about time. And when you understand better the concept of time, you will begin to understand better liberty and ethics.

    By my side i recommend you to read 2 or 3 books from a very famous spanish named Fernado Savater. If you are open minded, maybe these books can change your perspective of life. The problem is that maybe you won’t find these books on an ordinary bookstore, so Amazon maybe will be the best option. The books are ordered by priority:

    1) MUST HAVE (really): Ética para Amador: http://www.amazon.com/Etica-para-Amador-Spanish-Edition/dp/6077626872/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384300404&sr=8-1&keywords=fernando+savater

    2) Historia de la Filosofia, sin temor ni temblor: http://www.amazon.com/Historia-Filosofia-temblor-Spanish-Edition/dp/6070703146/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1384300432&sr=8-6&keywords=fernando+savater

    3) Política para Amador: http://www.amazon.com/Pol%C3%ADtica-para-Amador-Fernando-Savater/dp/8434401010/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1384300490&sr=8-5&keywords=pol%C3%ADtica+para+amador

    If you read the 3 books, you will see that being conscious of your finite condition is very important. But that’s only the begining, you will start to worry more about how to enrich your life and how important are the others to have a “good life”. I share the same philosophy of life as the author: “El secreto de la felicidad es tener gustos sencillos y una mente compleja, el problema es que a menudo la mente es sencilla y los gustos son complejos”.

    Have a nice day and hope that you will get better soon!

    • Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to recommend those books. Ética para Amador sounds amazing, I will definitely buy it when I get a chance. You’re absolutely right that there’s so many things we do during our finite lifetimes that can make a great impact.

      La cita es magnífica y describe perfectamente mi problema. 😉

      Que tengas un muy buen día,

      R

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