An excerpt from the journal of a young, naive artfuldodger:

"September 13, 1998. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Some things are utterly useless, but absolutely necessary. The pattern recurs constantly, like my friend, Martin, who said that all of his travels only made him see that everything he needed was at home. All his friends, his life, was here. But he had to leave and come back before he could see that. That is why the wise men smile from their moutaintops, never explaining to the young men what they know. What the young men do is useless, futile, beautiful, magical, perfect. 'Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.'

Me, I seek a way out of my bubble. I feel it all around me -- a plastic place of emptiness between me and the world. I don't know if it comes from my parents, or from me. Maybe it is my ego. Maybe it is the way things are and will stay. But maybe if I keep traveling, if I go fast enough, it will fly off in the wind and the emptiness will fill up and the world will sing through me. Or maybe all I need to do is to sit still, perfectly still, and the shield will relax, and I will fall into the world's song. But I have to try. And however the bubble falls, I will know that all of my attempts were futile, beautiful, magical, perfect."

Maybe my family is lucky. Nothing too bad has happened to us, despite odds. This is the bubble that i depend on when, full of fear of cities and such, i walk through Brooklyn by myself after midnight. This bubble is what i cite comically when i tell my parents not to worry about me, when i would rather say, i can take care of myself.

A soap bubble, when exposed to air, thins and finally breaks. This is transience. This is learning to live.

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