Thursday, March 24, 2011

Borges week 2, prompt 1

Big Fight. Anger. Slamming the door. Taking off with no intended destination. Dead of winter, icy roads. Car swerves out of control. Tries to gain control of the truck. Fail. Flipping off the road. Bad accident, and the loss of a life. Life is truly unexpected.
On December 19, 2009 about the middle of the day I received a phone call that one of my best friends had died in a car accident. At that moment, I couldn’t believe it, the only thought running through my mind was there is no possible way that it could have happened to him. I was stunned and couldn’t grasp the concept that he had died in a terrible accident. My hometown community and friends didn’t know what to do or say besides morn over the loss.
It’s been a little over a year now that my friend passed away and it has made me question my own beliefs. Death is a very controversial topic that can be debated about forever. The question involving death and where you end up when your life on earth is over is a mystery. Of course the religious aspect of either going to heaven or hell can be the main answer to the question. Until I encountered this experience, I truly never questioned my belief system. I truly think someone can’t question their beliefs until a tragic event has occurred in their life. Before this event occurred I assumed there was no particular direction in life, I believed that each individual decision that a person makes has an effect on the outcome in their future. I never really thought that maybe our lives as humans have a predestined future that is set in stone. But now I believe that there is a possibility that our lives may have a mapped out future that we do not have any control of.     
This topic of our belief system has been debated about for centuries and the meaning of life and why we were created. People over time have searched for answers to the actual meaning of life on earth. Many different answers have been brought up, but the true meaning behind them may never be known. The fact that we as humans do not know the answer to these questions is very troubling to people that are in search for an answer as to why. It is hard not knowing what lies in the future of our lives, because we are unable to plan what is ahead of us. As Borges points out in The Circle Ruins, “in happiness or in mere confusion; it was only natural that the sorcerer should fear for the future…” It’s difficult not to know the future.  I have felt that maybe I could have done something to change the outcome of this situation if I had know the final result.  But this is not the world that we live in and you cannot prevent events from occurring if they are ultimately destined to happen.
If our lives are truly predestined then there must be a higher being who is creating that path. Its possible that we have found the true identity of this higher being but it is impossible to truly confirm it. It is also possible that we cant even begin to rap ourselves around this realm of what the higher being actually is. And maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  Life is unexpected, so you cant change your pre destination. For the past year many of the events in my life have been affected by this tragic event. I have come to the point where I understand that many of the questions that have stemmed from his death will never be answered. Maybe the only time these questions may be answered is when I die or maybe not. Or maybe there isn’t a meaning behind our existence and when you die your life simply may just end.


  1. I like the content/idea of this essay, but I think you may need to include more references to "Circular Ruins" or to Borges' ideas in general. You could definitely include something about the sorcerer being unaware of even his own existence and purpose in the world.

    Also,I would move the paragraph that begins with "This topic of our belief system..." up towards the beginning of the essay. You could use this paragraph to better focus and move into your own thoughts about belief systems & how we approach death.

  2. One rule unites fiction and essay writing: precision is better than vagueness at least 99 times out of a 100.

    The writer might have challenged, or imagined challenging, a belief system which means everything to him, or to his character. But what is this belief system, and why does the death of a friend challenge it? Does the narrator initially believe in an all-loving, all-forgiving God who answers prayer? Does he believe in a vague God who establishes an orderly universe, but doesn't interfere in people's day to day lives? Does he believe in nothing at all?

    How does his life change because of the tragedy? Does he drink to excess? Does he not drink at all? Does he fall in, or out of, love? Does he do something foolish? Does his friend haunt his dreams?

    It is possible that every single one of these questions might be off the mark. What I'm addressing is that fiction (even more than essays) demands a language of precision. Characters have particular experiences, particular beliefs, and particular tragedies.
    Your coiled, compact beginning has potential; the style is your own, and you cover some important ground quickly. Then you lose focus, and become generic. You can't *ever* be generic if a piece of fiction is going to work.