View Full Version : Through a Mirror Darkly Lit

December 4th, 2011, 08:18 AM
I have no idea in which category this short piece should be placed, so I'll put it here for lack of better home.


Through a Mirror Darkly Lit

It's tough to spend your life yearning to be a producer, to be an innovator, to be a mover and a shaker and a tomorrow-maker. You get these dreams because you live for the new, you want the knowledge and the experience. It's like growing up with a love for food and the experience of eating, and going to culinary school because of that love. But cooking and eating are two different things, two very different things. If you truly love cooking, you'll be a great cook. But most of the time, what we truly love is eating. A great eater can be a good cook, but will always in the end be just a great eater. That is the inherent, blissfully unobserved truth of America: we are a nation of eaters descended from a nation of cooks.

I envy those of you who have passion for the act, who lust to create. Perversely, I lust for that lust. I yearn for enthusiasm. My greatest dream is to dream, and dream big. In talking to those rare few who follow in the footsteps of our forebears I see that you cannot even conceive of mere consumption. You must create... it is what makes you who you are.

Our attitudes do not shape who we are; they merely show where we have been, mark where we are, and predict where we are going. She sees life as a thing made with her hands, a thing that sometimes breaks down and sometimes needs tweaking and sometimes gets new parts that make it run differently, but it's a thing that she has built and that she has driven; she will never know shapelessness. His life is a garden tended and kept by the efforts of himself and so many around him, all of them working together because this garden is theirs, too, and they all know the seasons and prepare for them together; he will never know solitude, even if he is alone. You could plot their lives on a course, knowing this. Not the specific destinations-- those are hidden behind the fog of things unknowable-- but you can see how they will cope with disaster and make use of opportunity. You can't know where they will be, but you can know how they will get there.

If we look, we see one another through a lens, in great detail and clarity, distorted only by the focus of the lens and the cataracts over our mind's eye. To see oneself, though, we must peer through a mirror darkly lit and dusted. What do you see when you peer at that shadowed image? What life is reflected back? Does she see the machine of her own making surrounding her? Does he gaze upon the rows of tended fruits and watch the labors of his fellows shape his path? And what do you see when you peer through your lens at me? Do you see what I see when I look through the mirror by guttering candlelight?

There is a raft. It drifts among the islands, skirts about the reefs. There is a radio, and there is a small paddle. And there are wind, and waves, and storms past and future. The radio crackles: you can make out snatches here and there. The man sits cross-legged on the raft, watching. Always watching. Once in a while he'll dip the paddle into the water. Mostly, though, he sits. He lets the sea carry him where it will.

When he sleeps, he dreams that he is sailing, and that he has a destination.

Miss Catrina
December 28th, 2011, 02:36 AM
I see this as a depiction of ambivalence.

I do find the perspective of this piece a little unclear. In the beginning the narrator refers to "I" - and then later to "he". "I" and "he" seem to represent the same person - but I'm unsure.