So Dry, So Dark

I am not in the mood to write coherently this morning. So I probably will write gibberish, as I am wont to do.


There are places so dry cracks appear in the sky the moment the morning sun washes away the darkness. Darkness conceals the cracks; light exposes them. And heat expands them. Just the opposite of what happens when the brutality of winter is at its peak.

But what of humid environments? What of the sky there?

No one knows. People do not return from those places to tell their stories. Some surmise visitors to wet places drown. Others say wet places are like paradise; no one wants to leave. I once asked a fish for his take on the matter. “What is a wet place?,” he replied, the way his long-dead cousin had done years before.

The moral of the story (if this is a story) is this: We know who, what, and where we are only by comparing our circumstances to those outside our experience. Try telling that to a five-year-old. Or a twenty-five-year-old. Or someone considerably older. Expect dull, blank stares to greet your tale and the moral it conveys. Remember David Foster Wallace’s story about a fish wondering about water? Same thing. Just in a less eloquent form. Though Wallace did not mention the cracks in the sky and their influencers. Perhaps because cracks in the sky are visible only to people whose delusions are of a particular, especially peculiar, type. But that’s just a guess, a hunch guided by nothing more than a whisker bent slightly out of alignment with the rest of its regiment.


I am off to breakfast this morning to renew an acquaintance; someone with whom I used to discuss writing. Our writing styles differ dramatically from one another and the content we tend to include in our fiction is quite different.  I have largely abandoned fiction for the past few years; my reasons are clear to me but not something I want on display for now. And I am not sure I want to reveal my reasons to another writer. But that remains to be seen. It is my understanding my writer acquaintance has abandoned fiction—perhaps writing all together—of late, as well. Those factors notwithstanding, perhaps each of us can help rekindle the spark toward writing fiction suited to our respective approaches. But if not, the cost of trying is just a little time and a meal.


Leonard Cohen introduced me to cracks in the sky. And in everything. I had always wondered how the light gets in. For most of us, when we have questions, we tend to “Ask Google.” But for poets and philosophers of a certain stature, the appropriate question has always been “Ask Leonard.” Now that Leonard is gone, there’s no one but the mirror to ask the questions. And Google usually answers faster.



About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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