Not for the faint of heart.
For recipients, the life span of an eNewsletter often begins with daily interest, even eagerness. Eventually one finds the finiteness of time crimping one’s desire to open these messages as frequently as before. You don’t delete it because you hope to return later in the day or on the weekend, but when a period of weeks lapses with these unopened missives sitting in your inbox, you know the end is approaching.
Each eNewsletter has its own reason for existence, its own justification. Many are intended to keep you up-to-date in a specific field of endeavor. Whether it be art, science, zoology, farming, investments, the cosmos or diesel technology, there are newsletters on the subject. Many that I have at one time signed up for I have later unsubscribed. For some reason this one, The Floating Library, never ceased from being stimulating to me.
The author of the site was a Dr. Sineokov, whom I supposed was some old Russian immigrant philosopher a la Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The content was always deep, often heart-wrenching, beautiful, compelling. There was a small iconographic image of what looked like an old blind man at the top of the page, which also contributed to this deceptive conclusion.
Perhaps it was a quote from Borges that first drew me. As I sifted the site’s content I discovered a manner of gems. And a kindred spirit of sorts, at least for one portion of my soul. Here are a few quotes that fed something in me.
“Borges is our Virgil; only he knows the way.”
– Alastair Reid
“He felt in a dumb, bitter and uncomprehending way like a man who has destroyed his home without having prepared another.”
– Graham Greene, Brighton Rock
“We fly forgotten as a dream, certainly, leaving the forgetful world behind us to trample and mar and misplace everything we have ever cared for. That is just the way of it, and it is remarkable.”
– Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“There they are, in my own handwriting: the words that have been my prayer, evening after evening. I copied them from the books I found them in, so that they would be right in front of me, issued from my hand as if they were my own words. And now I want to write them again, kneeling here before my tablet I want to write them; for in this way I can have them with me longer than when I read them, and every word will last and have time to echo and fade away.”
- R. M. Rilke
Then one day, it ended, and I missed it like a friend. Likewise, on the site there were no more entries. I felt an absence. I don’t recall how long it was before they posted the announcement. The creator/author of the site, it turned out, was a young man named Ben Price. Ben had been suffering from depression for a long time and made a decision to end his life. You can read about Ben here.
But the reason I share all this is because there is a “rest of the story.” Depression is treatable, I believe. Life is not an easy road, however. As I’ve oft been fond of quoting:
Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn till night my friend.
If you wish to explore the website created by Ben Price, you can find it here: https://thefloatinglibrary.com/
There’s something to be said for a beautiful melancholy.
Originally published at pioneerproductions.blogspot.com