The Sheltering Sky
As the holidays and the dark days of winter approach, many people cope with depression or suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or are just plain cold and sad. In December of 2009, Escape Into Life founding editor, Chris Al-Aswad (1979-2010), was feeling cold and restless, was steadily writing in his journal, and was busy composing essays for his website. Trying to comfort himself and keep warm, he visited a favorite place, the friendly library on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University, where he was reading The Sheltering Sky, by Paul Bowles. Alas, it is known to be a novel of existential despair. While it may not have raised Chris’s spirits, it did lead to this insight on the human condition, which ends in an uplifting acceptance:
More and more the task of living becomes merely transitional—a moving from Point A to Point B. I’m always in transit with where I would like to be—and never just there. I shouldn’t say never. When I write these essays, I am present, I am home, my mind and body are one. Writing is an act of prayer.