On hope and despair


Two things happened – Heather Able’s remarkably apt words excerpted from her debut novel The Optimistic Decade and a conversation where one found the other not as dull as the written words. So, may be there are two selves. One which speaks – in person, on phone etc and the other that writes, in a way, voicing the mind’s banter. And these are often times two personas. Are the two version of the same individual possible, outside of the labels like bipolar or some such psychological bin?

Able manages to place her finger right on, like a seasoned surgeon, out on the rounds checking his charge of patients. She writes – 

“We fail and fail. We stand abashed. We are doing something wrong. But look how beautiful we are, as we keep sweeping the darkness back each night, to allow one more day to arrive.”

Act with a firm sense of ideal, yet be ready to see it all fall apart. This is what she seems to be saying. It gets better in these lines seemingly yielded from self reflection – 

I’m beginning to understand what it means to live with an idealism conjoined with despair, with cynicism. It means you work despite futility. You go to a protest, shout alongside strangers, and come home to read the terrible news. You plot out your new series of mystery novels while dying in a hospital bed.

Work despite futility. This reconciles the two personas. This explains. 

And this is the truth of the voice you heard today, for the first time. 

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