Wednesday, March 08, 2006

About Jack

Jack is like a soulmate, although if you were to meet him (and if you knew me), I doubt that you would even notice the similarities between us. What he and I actually share is a particular quality. Call it a perspective on life.

I can't come right out and tell you what this shared trait of ours is, but I will tell you this much: Jack and I both know a technique for finding one's way out of those dark times in your life, those times when circumstance leave you feeling down and struggling to find your will. It's like a compass that stays true even through the darkest of days.

I learned this technique on my own many years ago when I was a child growing up in what were sometimes difficult circumstances. This discovery of mine became like a talisman of such great worth to me in those days that I have since come to treasure it and often contemplate it the way a priest might sit alone inside a sanctuary and meditate on some aspect of his theology. This knowledge has also proven useful to me even on those days when life has been, not so much black as merely overcast and dreary.

It's a little thing really, a truth that seems no more precious on first discovery than a dull rock buried in the mud along the shore of some farmyard creek. It is, in fact, not a magical talisman at all; it is in some ways the simplest thing in all the world, a technique that is so inglorious that most people cannot see it. When I have offered this insight to others who needed it, they have nearly always smiled, thanked me for the token, then promptly forgotten all about it, not realizing that inside that plain, gray stone lay something powerful, a hidden truth of deep philosophical import—an almost sure way out of their troubled times.

Truth is, Jack doesn't actually exist. Not yet, anyway. He's an imaginary character in a novel that I'm working on.

The idea came to me several years ago when this important spiritual value of mine suddenly decided to manifest itself in the fully-formed body of Jack (in my mind, of course). In a flash I saw his entire story: his past, his present, his future. He was my Athena, and at that point I knew what I had to do.

When I am finished, I am sad to say that still, no one but a very, very few will ever be able to see the treasure buried in the telling. That's okay. I will see it. And so will Jack, wherever he may be.

[P.S. Don't bother to ask for my technique. I won't tell you, and it wouldn't do you any good if I did. So you'll just have to wait and hope that someone decides to publish my story. Even then, I won't explain it. As with all fiction, only the readers who already understand the message (at least at some level) will appreciate the meaning of the tale.]

[P.P.S. Edited on 10Mar06 for clarity. I basically clarified what I meant by 'darkness'.]