You, Reader, are thinking that this post will be about today’s prompt: Passport. When you first saw the word, you might have thought of all things related to it, like traveling to exotic destinations, a suitcase filled with tourist paraphernalia, or the little black book that is immediately distinguished from all other little black books. Or maybe, it’s blue. Or red. Depending on the country it’s generated from.
Further thinking led you to the thrill you associate with holidays. You’re looking outside your window now, sighing from the heat. Summer has arrived, guns blazing, and is determined to scorch you. As you’re reading this, sweat drips down your brow and you reach for the nearest towel. You, Reader, could choose between a white or brown one, but decide on the brown. It’ll mask the dirt from your forehead as you wipe it, better than the white one. Plus, you won’t feel so disgusted when you need to use it again.
So thinking about traveling also entails the problems of booking tickets and finding a lodging. You have to consider whether you will travel solo, or with a group of people. And most importantly, where you’d like to go. If you want to go with a group of people, who will you go with? Your family? Friends? Colleagues? Maybe not your family. You’re young and full of adventure, and you think if you go with family, they’ll only end up doing the most banal things-like hunt down existing family members in that location, or go temple/church hopping. All that is boring, these routines set in stone.
Then you think of friends and colleagues. Everyone is busy. Some have promotions to look forward to. Some are birthing babies. So you decide to take yourself somewhere. As you are dreaming, you see the screen in front of you slowly shimmer, as if a light breeze is whistling through the nearby palm trees, somehow able to ruffle the screen as it were the pages of a book.
You reach out to your wallet, to see how much money you can spare. You cringe in dismay. You are yet young, struggling to make a mark in your career. You don’t have the bare minimum to finance a vacation.
This is where I, the Author steps in. Do not forget Reader, that you are first and foremost a reader, and everything you chance upon is a text to be read. Yes, I’m talking about the movie you watched last night, the menu of a new restaurant that was slipped beneath your door, seamlessly blent with the morning newspaper, and the sun you happened to see setting the other day. Don’t think you’re delusional, Reader, if you believed the sun waved to you before it disappeared beneath the horizon, promising it’ll be back the next day. It is promises (and texts) like this which make you believe in…believing.
So now I ask you, Reader, to stand before your bookshelf. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have one. Think of all that you have read. Now that can be confusing, so let me guide you.
You are fingering the spine of a Murakami book. You are trying to remember the story as it were told, about a bar owner and how a mysterious woman of his past appears and pulls the rug out from beneath him. You are toppling, and you can’t help but taste the words, the food-especially miso soup and rice. It’s time to move on now, so you head to Shinjuku station and board the next train.
When you open your eyes, you are on a boat with the Old Man. His hands are cramped, and he is laying, slumped against the stern of the small skiff. You cannot offer any help, so you stare at the calm expanse of blue water on either side of you. The boat is directed by an unseen force, something you presume to be underwater. Strange. You’ve been on the boat long enough, and it is becoming too small to accommodate two people simultaneously. So you plunge into the icy depths.
When you resurface, you’re hit by a blast of frigid air. You are on the Swiss Alps, and you see the dark figure of something approaching you swiftly. As the figure closes in on you, you make out the monstrous shape of a Fiend. It looks as though it’s hot on the trails of something, or someone, and you hope to god its not you. So you quickly flatten yourself against a cave. You’re freezing, and when you breathe, you exhale perfect rings of fog that you couldn’t manage with a cigarette.
Now, Reader, open your eyes. sit back down, and look at the screen. You are perhaps thankful for this mini globetrot, or it might have made you feel bitter. But somewhere, perhaps you’re thankful for all the reading you’ve done throughout your life. If you can’t see them places, you can always imagine them. And imagination is a sort of travel, isn’t it? One that does not require a passport.
Oh, Reader, I’ve forgotten to mention, I did not write anything about the previous word prompt Fortune.
And you, Reader, are thankful that only one Italo Calvino exists in the world. It is you, reader, who is truly fortunate. Fortunate that I, the Author, am but a poor copy, a failed mimicry artist.