Deep Autumn

There is something enticing about the cusps of the year, the melding of summer and winter into one through the transition periods of spring and fall. Short little crocuses burst up from beneath the snow and ice, and even the trees pulse with quickening life, sap and rivers flowing rapidly, equally fluid. Even the sky melts into a sort of liquid spattering that falls gently to earth. The soil beings to breathe under the gentle rain, exhaling misty puffs smelling of last year’s leaves and the white crispness of newly thawed ground. It is in spring that we cast of the old layers – old life, old ideas, old desires – and attempt to do a spring cleaning of ourselves, reaffirming what is most good.

Autumn, the true depth of autumn, seems even more alive. The first edge of winter, hanging in the air, lends a sort of danger to the season, an alert crispness present at all times in the cooler temperatures as well as the quality of the air itself. The air becomes drier – the night skies, completely clear. It is in autumn that the stars shine down on us the most awesomely, like so many splinters of reflective broken glass. It is in autumn, with the nights growing longer, colder, and also more vivid, that we begin to understand who we are both as inviolate individuals and the complex interweaving of humanity that refuses to be untangled. It is in autumn that we begin to suspect our true worth to our fellow man, and to wonder at the existence of others.

As a lover of fairy tales, children’s stories, and literature, I was intrigued by this article on the relative value of different stories.  In an era of reality television and rampant blogging, what is the relative worth of personal opinion, truth, and individual experience?  Does the artfully crafted short story which make never be published or read by a wide audience, have more or less worth than the serial Japanese cell phone novel with minimal details and broad themes that will be read and reread by millions?  Who determines the standards of the writing craft, and what should be read as ‘serious’ writing?  Are there truly new forms, or are flash fiction and the aforementioned cell phone novel only the use of new technologies and realization of a shorter attention span?  Should we even be trying to create something new, or should we resign ourselves to doing what has already been done as well as we can?  Finally, with all the lives that have been lived before mine, what comparative worth does my perspective have?  Can it be crystallized and distilled for preservation?  Should it be?

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