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Archive for the month “February, 2012”

What’s Outside the Window?

“What is outside the window?.” A question posed by Roberto Bolano to myself last night. Oh boy, you inconsiderate bastard, I thought. He had left me no answer. As I paced around my hotel room, absolutely perplexed, my mind was moving. What did he mean, what does it mean? This man has kept my attention for six hundred and forty six pages and as I turned number six hundred and forty seven and read that last line, Roberto still had me.

I tried to understand what he meant, where he was going. What was this genius of words trying to say with a picture. A square with dashes for lines, the same you would assume is telling you to cut here, to carefully create a perfect shape into the last page of a perfect book. It must be something grand. I just hoped to be smart enough to know.

I decided to focus on what it meant to me, it’s not like I could go ask the guy, I am sure he is buried in South America somewhere, a shrine I hope. The only answer I had, was no answer at all. It was a riddle, I knew that much.

What is outside the window? Was it prison bars? What is outside the window? Was it longitudes and latitudes? What is outside the window? As I stared in, I wondered is it me? I knew one thing for sure, I don’t know.

That final thought repeating in my head, I don’t know, I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s what he intended for me to think. I found it perfect anyway.

No one knows what’s outside the window or outside of anything for that matter. You must get up, get out of that couch, stop staring at that god-damned window called a television. Get up, get out. Go find out for yourself. You need to, you must stop staring and wondering.

Yes, the safety of whatever enclosure you might find yourself in is most certainly comforting. Yes, those walls keep you free from getting hurt, free from falling and free from breathing the city’s toxic air. They are also depressing. That room is also, exactly what is, enclosed. It is enclosing quickly on your life, on your soul.

Go, quick, find some danger, find some love, get hurt, get going!

If you are staring out right now, wondering, what is outside the window? Good. Go out that door, the door of your office building, the door of your home, apartment or loft, the door of your heart, the door of your mind, the door of your soul and find out.

Hurry, your breath is fogging the glass and winter is coming.

Outside a window in Montana

Shadow Chasing

At first a dream came to me, unknown, like a shadow. It was nothing but a gray blob circling my every move right in tune with my watch and the falling sun. It would come twice a day and I would keep an eye on it as it passed just in front of my nose and lose interest as it circled out of sight. I could see it, unsure of its origin.

Then one day I asked myself, where is this light coming from?

What is casting this shadow, this glimpse of something more? What is this burning sensation in my chest? (The feeling can be disruptive and irritating, like heartburn) What is causing these thoughts that are taking me away from my every day hectic schedule of a life already created? What is to be made of this dark and twisty thing that keeps my brain turning, my heart pumping and my feet moving?

Is it a greater need to feel destined and to fulfill such fates with my own power? Is it the need to wipe away that shadow and stand basking in its source? (The only shadow my own, for others to follow.)

The bigger question is do I dare to find out? I am guilty (like most of us) of making that fatalistic choice, by turning out the lights and choosing to walk at night. To have the only dreams I have, be the ones I wake up from.  But let’s be honest, in the real world of big time responsibilities and a list of tasks that never gets shorter, who actually has time for all this shadow chasing?

I have a shadow I am chasing of my own. I have a dream that grows more clearly each day. I have no choice but to do everything it takes to follow it. To dare to make the time, to take the time!  I have to do whatever it takes. I need to get the time even when it seems like there isn’t any left to have.

I have been making choices to reach this goal. I recently canceled my cable. I canceled my Netflix. I sold my Playstation. I sold my television. I have eliminated all of the obvious external distractions. The next to go are those pesky ones inside my head and Words with Friends.

All I have left to do is chase. I have to ask myself what I want and get it. There will be obstacles, that is a given. I will overcome them. I will prevail. I am certain in the end there is nothing more important than the chase itself. That giving yourself completely to the chase is a requirement of a having a life fulfilled, to reach that ever elusive happiness.

I choose to give myself up completely to the chase. And with time I’ve created, I will surely forge ahead. I will write one day about how I stared deep into the eyes of my shadow and met the challenge. I will tell you all about how I went down this path, as unglamorous as it might be, and won. I want to share with all of you of the time I took my soul and shook it from its comfort and took it home.

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