The Mystics of Mile End

by Sofia

I am reading The Mystics of Mile End. I tried to finish it quickly so I could move on to something else because I didn’t like how it started. But between yesterday and today it got weird and picked up and now I am enjoying it. In it, a young woman is losing it after her father dies. She tries to understand kabbalah through a manuscript her father had just finished writing before he died, finding clues and symbols in everything she sees, most of which are not what she’s looking for, but it’s all still a mad journey in pursuit of the answers she needs.

Mike wrote to say he loved me because was getting on a small plane and he was a bit scared. For an hour and a half, while I read, he was Shrodinger’s cat, and there was nothing I could do about it but wait. Reading the book exaggerated the surreal nature of the wait.

It’s been several months — maybe years? — of having a very profane existence, and I suspect it is in large part due to the fact that I have been reading non-fiction. It’s fiction like this book, the kind that warps your feeling of reality, the immersive kind that distorts the myths pertaining to and sensations of what it’s like to be alive, that transport me to a space that I know so well that it is comforting, even as it is discomfiting. That distortion, that suspension of belief, has somehow been more constant in my life than any other part of it. The plasticity of the world around me has been such that I know that no place that I know is fully true. Not the perfect sunshine of San Diego, not the vast flatness of the Pampa, not the verdant humidity of Maryland, not the subzero overcast grey of Montreal winter. Not the ways I’ve felt over the course of my life, not the languages that I have spoken, not the way people are in the places I have been. Everything is relative and subject to change when you change the scenery, if you do something different, or even if you just wait long enough. But the sweet, seductive confounding of your senses, of your grasp on the world and what it’s about, that will always happen when you get caught up in any book, song, trip, movie, or story that you become engrossed in.

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