-Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., novelist (1922-2007)
A light bulb exploded somewhere nearby. The glass shattered into a shower of tiny fragments, and as they cascaded in the abyss of time, the filament burned in a flash of glory and died. I lay silent in front of the keyboard, staring at the blinking cursor and wondering what to do next, what to write.
23-year old Ernesto Guevara de la Serna wrote in the opening sentence of The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey, “This is not the story of heroic feats, or merely the narrative of a cynic; at least I do not mean it to be. It is a glimpse of two lives running parallel for a time, with similar hopes and convergent dreams.” In 1952, while still attending medical school, he and his 29-year old friend Alberto Granado started on a nine-month epic voyage across the South American continent from their home in Buenos Aires, Argentina to Caracas, Venezuela on board a 1939 Norton 500cc. The journey helped transform Ernesto Guevara from a care-free, middle-class university student into a Marxist revolutionary, who ultimately died as Che Guevara, one of the twentieth century most profound symbols and compelling heroes.
I'm by no means the reticent type, yet I had only blogged seven posts in 2013. It's easier to keep my rhetorical turmoil confined within. There will come the day when I can blab it all, of that I have little doubt. It would be too late then for my words to make a difference, but they were never meant to anyway. For you see, although I admire “Che” for what he lived and died for, I wasn't made of heroic material. I may have started this blog in 2006 as a care-free, middle-class, middle-aged Abufares, but I never expected a dramatic ascent to fame, nor a footnote in an obscure book of history.
Aris Messinis /AFP/Getty Images
While the future of my homeland is being deliberated upon over a slow-burning, yet scorching fire, thousands of my compatriots continue to die, meaningless numbers to an apathetic world, acceptable losses to the powers that be, victims to the modern day pecking order. What started as a deep sigh to breathe a lungful of the unsullied air of freedom has turned into a vicious war whose embers are continuously fed with coals of apotheosis and fanaticism.
This eighth post could be the last one of the year, so I might as well tell the “regulars”, who still pay my blog the occasional visit, that I've been writing behind their backs. Last month, I submitted an entry to the 2013 Writer's Digest Short Story Contest. I have no idea how it will rank among the more than five thousand other entries. It will be published if it makes it as one of the Top 25 finalists. If not, you'll be unfortunate enough to read it here. I'm currently working on a second short story, but my progress is even slower than Ban Ki-moon's expression of dismay, or was it disgust, over the "tragic" events taking place in Syria. This is not the time, nor the place, for cheery writing, and I'm afraid I don't make a decent commentator on world politics and current events. Since there only remains the truth that's worth writing about, I find myself caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Work has come to an almost complete stop here, but unlike those I once ignored and now despise, I haven't debased myself by blaming everyone but the perpetrators. Will next year, the one after, and those to follow be the same? If I have learned anything from the books I've read over the last eleven months, or from the wear and tear of growing older, it's that nothing lasts forever. Eventually, I will ignore those I despise, and fall head over heels in love with the ones I already love. I know that my own words will come back to haunt me for not being brave enough to have unleashed them when they would've counted for something, but in true existential form, I find myself stuck in this time and place with nowhen or nowhere to go. The least and most I can aspire for in my future is inherited liberty, for the price of pure freedom is too high for ordinary folks to pay. My consolation is that one day, truly free children will be born, but not until our guilty conscience is buried deep with us. Perhaps, I should write about them, the yet unborn, and the future they will forge, instead of lamenting a past that was never as rosy as I once led myself to believe. Happy Holidays Season Everyone!