Thursday, December 23, 2004


How does it all end? This epic, this saga, this poem in three canticles - this simple story - how does it end?

You see two selves - one who spends her days chasing fantasies, pursuing these chimaera through dark and light, never quite catching them. Glimpsing, every now and then, these spectral beasts - whom she accepts as truth - she goes off running, chasing them again and again, only to find herself forever reaching a dead end. She ends her days cynical and alone.

The other self spends her days acquiring pieces of the puzzle. She's educated, she's got a job which challenges her, a husband who loves her, a home which comforts her, and a child who worships her. She accomplished all of this by letting go of those chimaera. Those fantasies, those spectres, those dreams. She turned her back on childhood fancies, on goals which any fool could have told her were unattainable. She settled, and she, too, ends her days cynical and alone.

So, what then?

In an entry from Leon Trotsky's Diary in Exile, dated April 3, 1935, Trotsky had this to say:

"Life is not an easy matter... You cannot live through it without falling into frustration and cynicism unless you have before you a great idea which raises you above personal misery, above weakness, above all kinds of perfidy and baseness."

Of course, great ideas can't stop a Soviet agent from plunging an ice pick into the base of your skull (which is precisely what happened to Trotsky just five years after his writing this), but having a great idea, a passion, can certainly give your life substance.

Yes, it all comes back to passions, and it's funny that the idea of passions (or lack thereof) is now brought to my mind, just as it was nearly one year ago today. On Monday, December 29, 2003, I wrote of my envy for passionate people:
Impassioned people fascinate me. Even if they're passionate about something that the rest of the world finds dreadfully dull, it's the very state of impassionment [which] intrigues.

Today, a year later, I can add to it, this: An impassioned person is easily envied because her life certainly has meaning and substance thus significance. Her passion provides a focus, and gives hope that there is more to her story than her self.

And this is all one really needs.

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