I find a lot in what I write (not so much as I’ve posted here but the pieces I scribble down to fill the gaps between moments in my day) a reoccurring theme that shows up. Nothingness, abyss, void, something like the suspension of any notion of reality or space or time. I use it quite frequently as a dump, discarding emotions and characters to the oblivion but I also enjoy thinking about being at the brink of this unreality as well. Either boldly toying with catastrophe, standing at the brink of existence or being driven there by some force. I believe that the fascination is partly to due with brinksmanship, as I had learned was the popular strategy during the Cold War and the cultural response it elicited in American society which involved in one way or another, and quite ambiguously, both of the notions I’ve just explained. On one hand the opposing sides were seeing who could get closest to the edge as if the future of mankind was a novelty and, on the other, being pushed by political posturing and nationalist sentiment to the precipice of existence.
But unconsciously, I wonder how close we get without ever knowing it, how many times our lives have been a fraction of a second away from certain doom before being pulled back to the realm of the living by the complex and indiscriminate calculations of fate. I was thinking about this while crossing the street one night without looking, and wondering if in the instances where I had thrown caution to the wind I had been blindsided and killed and just not known it and because I didn’t know it had just gone on living as if nothing had happened. Much like the voice that sits in the back of your head encouraging you to jump off the LRT platform as the train comes rolling through, or the visions that race through your head when you’re far above ground level in a tower or skyscraper or even completely unrestrained on a roof and you envision yourself free-falling towards the ground.
And then perhaps the oblivion isn’t really an oblivion, perhaps it is just another reality we fall into much by accident. As if the moment before you hit the ground or before the highway tractor demolishes the vehicle that you foolishly pulled out into his path you’re just changed over to another someone’s life. I think it may have been Borges or Kafka or one of those lot who wrote about living every single life that has ever lived. So that through these little lapses in judgement I have been all the different people that I see or read about and at the same time, the people who see me are actually me and don’t recognize the circumstances that brought them to their particular position in the world as we know it.