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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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Archive for the 'Bruns' Category

Gasping for breath

My true north is still elusive

January 1st, 2016

BY DOUG BRUNS

I was an intent and haughty young man, hungry for direction and purpose. I am less intent as an aging man and I have worked to lose the haughtiness, though I still remain hungry for direction and purpose. A true north, presented as a reasonable and intelligent sensibility, remains unknown, a shrouded mystery. Schopenhauer, that great sourpuss, said that walking is simply the function of interrupting the natural state of falling down. I am walking, and conscious that every step is taken in self-defense, taken to keep from collapsing. I have concluded that for me life holds only surprises and reveals nothing. I am in a poker game and am blind, having no idea what cards I hold.

manpacingI did not spring from the womb playing Mozart. I cannot do math. I have not experienced a particular urge to save the world or develop a vaccine or build an empire. I have no natural capacity for anything, as best I can tell. The writer in me struggles to spin my web, but all disciplines have their nature. I work from my gut. In short, I exist, like, as best I can tell, many of us exist, without a clarifying direction or calling, most of the time not even cognizant that we even exist. I keep my eyes open and take notes. I attempt to string them together and search for patterns. And at sixty I still search.

Driving through Ohio recently I realized how much I prefer straight lines. The highways of Pennsylvania, on the other hand, reminded me that hidden curves are, conversely, not to my liking. I want to see straight ahead as far as I can. I want my eye to rest on the horizon. Maybe that is why so many of us are drawn to the ocean. The eye is unimpeded and the curvature of the earth is distant and not threatening. Yet the only migraine I ever experienced occurred in Spain on the Costa del Sol, where the sun and the ocean and the expanse could not be escaped and in all directions intensity loomed. This was a painful thing to experience and all I take from it is an odd aversion to brilliance. A moth will singe its wings and die over a flame. And the search goes on.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: 13th Anniversary Issue, Bruns | Link to this Entry

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