Thursday, June 29, 2006

Exiled to the End Zone

"Of all the aspects of exile, silence pleased me least. Other things were not so displeasing. Exile compensates the banished by offering certain opportunities. Each day, for example, I spent some time in meditation. This never failed to be a lovely interlude, for there was nothing to meditate on. Each day I added a new word to my vocabulary, wrote a letter to someone I loved, and memorized the name of one more president of the United States and the years of his term in office. Simplicity, repetition, solitude, starkness, discipline upon discipline. There were profits here, things that could be used to make me stronger; the small fanatical monk who clung to my liver would thrive on such ascetic scraps. And then there was geography. We were in the middle of the middle of nowhere, that terrain so flat and bare, suggestive of the end of recorded time, a splendid sense of remoteness firing my soul. It was easy to feel that back up there, where men spoke the name civilization in wistful tones, I was wanted for some terrible crime.

Exile in a real place. a place of few bodies and many stones, is just an extension (a packaging) of the other exile, the state of being separated from whatever is left of the center of one's own private history."

--Don DeLillo from the novel End Zone, 1972.


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