When stories end

“Perhaps,” the girl said. “There is always a moment when stories end, a moment when everything is blue and black and silent, and the teller does not want to believe it’s over, and the listener does not, and so they both hold their breath and hope fervently as pilgrims that it is not over, that there are more tales to come … But no breath can be held forever, and all tales end. … Even mine.”

The Orphan’s Tale: In the Cities of Coin and Spice, by Catherynne M. Valente

The world is a book …


I’ve been thinking about this quote. Yes, the world is a book, but is it really so bad if you only read one page? Yes, you have a limited scope of experiences if you don’t travel to other places, but with the ease of connecting to other places via books, movies and the web, I’m not convinced that “only” reading a page of our great book, Gaia, is such a bad thing.

I should note that I firmly believe that everyone should live somewhere completely different than what they’re used to for at least a year (if they have the means to do so). I think it was Joanne who suggested this to me, and I pushed myself to do so when I went to grad school: I went from the ocean-touched eclectic vibe of Halifax, NS to the prairie-bound theatrical cowboy vibe of Edmonton, AB. I’ve been here for 5 years or so, and, if nothing else, I’ve learned how very much I loved and cherished all that Halifax had to offer.

Here’s the thing: I don’t think that it’s about where you have or have not been – it’s about what you open yourself up to. If one place is one page, what if that one page is boring or part of a story you’re not terribly interested in? Are you going to dive in and read the whole page, or just have a cursory skim to get the basics? A single page can bring a lot into your life if you read it with intention, study it, read between the lines, digest it.

I’m suffering from reader’s blahs. In theory, Edmonton has a lot to offer, but very few of it’s words have grabbed me enough to draw me in. I know that we make our own adventures and I’m sure that I could find lots of treasures on this page, but it’s huge and poorly serviced by Page Transit. So, yes, I lived here and learned a great deal about myself while here, but it hasn’t done much to contribute to my world book. That’s what made me realize that it’s not about the number of pages you read (i.e., how much you travel). It’s about how you read that page.

So, yes, travel if you can, but travel with intent. Find pages that inspire you. Look for what pages can teach you, and if you find nothing to your liking, move on to another.

FYI: The creator has a whole series of inspirational quotes with his photography. You can browse his Flickr photostream or check out all his quotes on his website (where you can also buy digital copies). 

Cultural heroes

“There is not much difference between the hero and the coward: they both feel the same fears and anxieties. The hero acts in spite of these fears and anxieties, whereas the coward turns away from action. The cultural hero seeks to break the chains of his or her culture’s particular illusions; the coward lives in denial.

Sharon Gannon & David Life