When I started the blog I had to name it. I love naming things, but all the words and phrases I wanted to use were taken so I knew I'd have to pick something really unique. I remembered an essay I wrote senior year in high school that has always stuck with me. The assignment was to write something inspired by a (very) short story by the Argentine writer Jose Luis Borges, called "Borges and I." We had all just read it and other writings by Borges ecause the author himself had just visited our school.
So I tried that name, and sure enough it wasn't taken. I've been meaning to put the essay on here ever since, just for contextual interest. But I couldn't put my hands on the original. Fortuitously, when my mom was out visiting in January, she located it -- in a folder in a pantry cabinet of all places! My dad typed it up digitally for me this week.
With all the reading about Buddhism and Eastern wisdom traditions I did last summer, and their fundamental rejection of "dualisms" it's ironic that I'm coming back to something that has one. But it rang true then and reverberates today. Anyway, here it is, snapshot of an 18-year-old starting out:
E. Bliss and Me
Awhile ago, when the universe was order and things were together, it was E. Bliss and me, walking along a road right next to each other. In step even. But roads have junctions and hidden drives and highway entry ramps and sometimes they just fade into two soft ruts and grass. So we're not right next to each other all the time anymore.
Now, I take the route and the directions and choices pretty seriously. I walk with purpose, or at least drive. I try to think out as many things as I can, feverishly: the way I walk, what lies around --- everything at once, until my mind is a cacaphony of bleeps and roars.
Then E. Bliss takes off down a side road, or a sliver of alleyway between two brownstones. She is a rag tag army of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste, led by laughter. Occasionally, E. Bliss will give a whoop from some tree above my purposeful path, or she'll jump out from a cluster of raspberry bushes, or she'll be waiting for me on a park bench around the next bend. This other girl will look at me and grin and maybe even shout, "Hey, dingle-brain! Look up there! Look what's below! Caress the color of this grass. Listen to these songs: still water, market people calling out. You could be having as much fun as I am. You..."
And just as I shake myself out of theory-studded thought, out of the abstract, out of my funneled passion for books and learning, E. Bliss has spirited herself away again. E. Bliss shows herself brightly, quickly, with a spontaneity I am still trying to understand. When she's disappeared, she's left a warm, strong chord that rings around my ears until it fades, gently rinsing my brain like rhythmic waves. E. Bliss, as the moon, draws and releases the tides of those waves.
I think of a body walking, dancing, moving -- and its corresponding shadow. Only there's a time lag, and the shadow is never quite in step with the body; it jerks and drags and wanders along in a comical performance. A buffoon's rendition of the body's movement. Now, whether E. Bliss is the body or the ragged shadow, I don't know. All I know is that I'm glad she's there, to bother me, to bring me grins, to leave me poems. If E. Bliss weren't around somewhere, I wouldn't have the strength to keep kicking up the dust on this road. And E. Bliss, in turn, would just float away into a wide, hungry sky if she wasn't grounded in me, if she didn't have my mind to play with, or my humorless body to tease. I'd call it tragedy (or even death) if we couldn't connect.
"Ecology and English" senior elective with Christine Robinson aka "CRob"
Phillips Exeter Academy
Exeter, New Hampshire