I have this daydream: I’m at work, and one day I just don’t come back from lunch. I don’t say anything to anybody — no goodbyes and no yelling. I don’t tell anybody what I really think of them, I just leave. I go home, I gather a few things, not even enough to fill a duffel bag, and then I go to the airport. At the airport I study the screen, look to see where the next few flights are headed, and I make a choice. It doesn’t matter so much where I go, just as long as it isn’t here.
Of course this will never happen. But even though it will never happen, it is the dream of it that is important. We need these fantasies of escape, of grand adventures that whisk us away from the humdrum obligation of our lives. They are necessary to live. This dream life nourishes us, keeps us going in times of desperation, when we get bogged down. In our dreams we find freedom, pure and exhilarating, and it is only there that we will find much of our desires sated. It is in our dreams that we lead lives that only wish fulfillment can bring us.
But we cannot feed ourselves on fantasy alone. Obligation has its pleasures too, and in our obligations we can find the meat of life, the things that give it weight, the things that make us feel like what we do matters — the warm confinement of family and friends, the genuine rewards found in a job well done, the power of a love that is reciprocated, the daring feat that is sharing your life with other human beings. This is the struggle maturity brings, this divide between the adolescent longing to break free and the more durable joys of adulthood.
On November 7th, The Disagreement presents Golden Parachutes Vs. The Holidays, where four writers will explore these notions of what it might mean to get away clean and what it might mean to instead stay home. ‘Tis the season for guilt, recriminations both self and otherwise, and, of course, gluttonous celebration, so come and kick it off with us.
You’ll find us at Culturefix, 9 Clinton Street, starting at 7pm.
Aaron Smith is a reporter at CNNMoney where he covers Wall Street, the gun industry and white collar crooks like Bernie Madoff. Before he went to college to study creative writing, he thruhiked the Appalachian Trail and joined the circus. He traveled with Ringling Brothers and the Big Apple Circus, living on the train and setting up the big top. Now he lives in Brooklyn with his rock star wife and brand new son. Originally from Florida, he has always been obsessed with alligators.
Tracy O’Neill is a writer living in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in The Literarian, Vol.1 Brooklyn, and Promethean. In 2012, she was awarded the NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship by the Center for Fiction. She currently teaches at the City College of New York.
The new collection of one-page fictions, You Are Make Very Important Bathtime by David Moscovich, is available from Journal of Experimental Fiction (Geneva, IL). Moscovich lives with chronic insomnia in New York City and runs Louffa Press, a micro-press dedicated to printing innovative fiction.
Marina Weiss is a research assistant in the department of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. She is the poetry editor of the magazine formerly known as Explosion-Proof, and her poetry is published or forthcoming in Tin House, Narrative, Canteen, Paper Darts, Painted Bride Quarterly, dislocate, and elsewhere.