Friday, February 01, 2013

Buddha on Midnight Sea

"Buddha on Midnight Sea" is the first story in Francesca Hampton's collection of the same name. It's about a man who suffers romantic disappointment, and thinking about vikings who go out to sea to die, he paddled out to sea.

My first thought was Old Man and the Sea, the Hemingway story. What I remember of that story was how revolted I was when fish ate up the big catch he got.

Men are so fragile in a way, I think its the yang of all the bravery stuff. He was disconnected, he went back to work and someone treated him like he didn't work there, and the nephew he sold the business to, brushed him off. It makes me cry to think how unconnected we can get at times. It's really our responsibility to connect with others, to nurture and tend to relationships.

After long ordeals, the main character of the story has a kind of spiritual awakening. It doesn't feel programatic, and in a way it's kind of played down. There are not quotes or headlines to it.

I read a story where someone had the wrong religious experience, like a Protestant who had a Catholic vision. I've always thought it would be interesting to get the wrong spiritual awakening, not the one you expected yourself to have.

When he's stuck in the ocean, I thought about that movie where the scuba divers were left, and nobody came to pick them up and they died. I yearn to be out in that desolate wilderness, but am also very afraid of it.

I won't spoil the end for people who haven't read it.

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