Monday, February 16, 2009

Are we there yet?

In the wee hours this morning, I realized that my interests in Middle Eastern and South Asian literature were taking me somewhere, to some place I couldn't yet see.

I don't mean this in the sense that literature is transporting me via imagination. No, that would be too easy (and, possibly, trite). My reading does take me, if you will, to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Israel / Palestine, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria . . . But this, again, is not what I mean.

It seems as if I'm in the backseat of a car with a map but I can't see the driver and the windshield is fogged up. I just know that the car is moving and that the map is, so far, useless.

I only know that I'm no longer reading just because I enjoy the shadowy forms that come to life when everything else around me seems to disappear. I'm not merely escaping. I'm not only being entertained. These facets of the experience remain but there's more. I just don't know what else there is. Yet.

And I want to know. I also want there to be some shape, some place on a map that I can circle and say, "I'm finally here!" I just don't know where that is. Yet.

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