Cultural Commentator

An American Parable of War

Cultural Commentator

An American Parable of War

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When I was a young man, full of conviction but knowing nothing of the world, I thought, in spite of myself, that I’d make my mark on things. I tried my hand at writing stories. The beginnings were bold and pregnant with intention, but I’d inevitably lose my way. I couldn’t bring myself to care about the characters; they seemed unreal to me, unsympathetic, and I would write them into narrative corners that I couldn’t find my way out of. Next I turned to painting, thinking the looser, more abstract boundaries of the medium would allow my creative spirit more leeway to wander. But the margins were muddy, and my sense of perspective was skewed. The result was a series of jumbled messes that resembled nothing, a spillage of indifference and wasted materials. It was an expensive hobby too, and not having any means to pay for my exercises in finding myself, save dwindling support from my increasingly frustrated family, I set it aside, always meaning to return to it when the opportunity arose.

Perhaps songwriting was my calling, I thought. I bought myself a fine guitar with the last of my money, and it seemed to work at first. I would find my way into a hastily strummed verse that seemed to have merit, but the business of threading it together with something more substantive eluded me. The subject matter of the songs offended with their banality, and I soon realized I had nothing to actually say. And so I moved on to the next flight of fancy, diving whole-hearted into each endeavor as if the previous failings had never happened, a petulant youth with a short memory, and a stockpile of aimless ambition.

Now that I’m older and have seen a bit more of the world, I sometimes wonder what happened to my fleetingly abandoned fictions and the half-finished landscapes I tilted at. Do they carry on somewhere else, outside of my scope of vision? Am I still the overseer of my creation, or has creeping entropy taken its due? Do they live in chaos now that I’ve left? Do my pitiful characters still bump to and fro in exasperated pursuit of their unfinished lives?

 

@lukeoneil47