Sunlight warms the front porch in a way that leaves me unwilling to spend this winter day inside. The warmth reminds me of sitting beside a pond when the weather is just right, watching the occasional fish leave a swirl on the surface of the water.
I begin the day with a reread of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, only to be redirected elsewhere by a book entitled Influence, by Robert C. Cialdini, and then to other tasks. Tendencies to stray from set intentions seem to have already become unavoidable, and it’s not even noon as I write this. But you know what is said about good intentions — you do know what is said about good intentions, don’t you?
These days it’s as though there’s more than two sides to every story, and every side thinks it’s completely right. But were an ultimate truth to be known, I suspect there are, at minimum, partial truths to all sides when it comes to the ideologies we choose to adopt or the way we assess the lives we’ve lived.
I’ve heard a voice in my mind for a character I’ve yet to write for almost twenty years now. He says one line and one line only, as if the ending of a long story has finally come to pass. The line is the summation of his life, an assessment of what it’s all about, as much a question as an answer. It goes like this:
“We are born, we die, and in between we try to make some kind of sense of it.”
I don’t know that I will ever be able to create the kind of character that is worthy of the simplicity and profundity I find in that line. The vast array of experiences necessary to understand what the human being behind it must have gone through to sum up his entire experience of being alive into such a simplified response seems a challenge I’m not ready for quite yet. For now, it’s only a single sentence among an unknown number of them crossing the vast world of cyberspace in search of a last page in a book to call home.
“Maybe someday,” I tell him. “Maybe someday.”