"Century of the Wind" by Eduardo Galeano is the third and last volume of the Memory of Fire trilogy, a riveting account of Latin American history. Galeano doesn't skip over difficult events but surprises readers by helping them feel the significance of every historical moment. He oversteps boundaries by breathing life into a “boring subject.” In the preface of “Century of the Wind,” he even states that the book does not conform to any literary form, such as a “narrative, essay, epic poem, chronicle, testimony,” claiming that “perhaps it belongs to all or to none.” This book has easily become one of my favourites, and I'm embarrassed to say that it was recommended by a university professor I often complained about.
Water droplets raced across the window as our plane accelerated into the winter night. Flickering outside, a lonely red light blinked against the silhouette of a wing. I couldn’t see the horizon nor the people working on the tarmac. It was in that moment, buckled in place, surrounded by sleeping passengers, suddenly aware of the new year, when I faced an old realization. No matter where I am, I cannot escape the feeling of time flying.
It’s December 1st.
I woke up around 10 a.m. thinking about new year’s resolutions—whether I would do them, if they worked for me in the past, where I’d find motivation to keep up. Lately, I’m grateful for more time to rest, but I’m also restless—wondering if I am falling short of the enlightenment I’m striving for. I don’t expect myself to start a cultural revolution, but I hope that I won’t fall into default living, the kind where I rely on default behaviors and frequently change my opinions based on what’s in front of me. I hope that as long as I’m kicking, I’m alive.
For many years, when someone asked me, “how was your week?”, I often replied, “good, not much happened, how about you?”— quickly deflecting the attention from myself to another. For some reason, those questions--how are you? how was your week? what are you up to?--asked out of courtesy and good-nature, made me feel shame, as if I had done something wrong and they were confronting me about it. Assessing my life was a painful process because I graded my day based on my accomplishments and productivity.
I’ve been on a journey of accepting my short-comings, especially regarding what I don’t know, and it’s making me more brave. I was under the impression that if I didn’t grasp all the nuances of a topic, if I didn’t express every possible argument and rebuttal to display that yes—I had considered all sides of the story—then I had no right to speak. And while it’s important to be critical and well-informed, which I will always strive to be, I am learning that my standards are both unrealistic and harmful, specifically for spaces like a personal blog where, I think, it’s well-established that these are my opinions.
Four weeks ago this blog was published. After the adrenaline of publishing a website wore off, I realized that I still missed the most important thing: the content. I made a list of topic ideas for my first post. To name a few: how to start a website, book response to [insert book title], how gratefulness transformed my life. All good ideas, but if (for some odd reason) you skipped over the title of this article, you’ll see that I decided to write about school.
Elisa is a Vietnamese-Canadian writer and editor. Her work focuses on familial love, self-discovery, and immigrant experiences.