I started working on what was, as late as four years ago, an annual practice of an essay to mark Easter. One of the goals then was to attempt, at least at this special time, something of the long-form essay which I’ve decided will become more of a focus from now on, as i take a much-needed step back. I realized that, as Easter is fifty days long, I still have some time, but I intend to finish it within the Octave because I would not want to keep myself waiting.
One of the themes that came to mind as I revisited the writings of Paul Ricoeur last Saturday was how, to put it less elegantly, telling stories helps reframe how we see ourselves. It is the narrated self which, as one of his essays later notes, becomes the locus of conscience and the sense of being called, not only to account (as in the later part of his Oneself as Another) but also to a vocation. The latter requires, in my case, reframing how I see the landscape where I once roamed.
A key insight from last weekend was that part of this calling is to revisit an almost forgotten idea, for me: to ask where one can find something beyond the surfaces of that landscape. Revisiting that won’t take place in the space of an essay, but it will need a course correction of some magnitude. It means, most of all, that I will have to take the torturous path back to something that will not surprise those who’ve met me before 2011.
Good luck to me.