The Mirage at the End of the Road

I’m at about 73,000 words on WONDER GONE MISSING–my desert novel of wonder, grief, and cults–and somewhere, oh somewhere ahead, is the ending. It’s like those mirages you see on the highway in the summer heat: The closer I get, the farther away it seems.

mirage dali

The thing is: I WANT this ending. I’m craving it. There’s nothing quite like the feeling the next day after you’ve completed a first full draft on a long project. Hell, it’s pretty good after a short one too.

But that ending, like all perfect endings, is an illusion.

Dali, perhaps, would agree. He created his own Mirage in the desert in 1946. When I look at the piece, I see all our hopes and desires somewhere in that elusive forever. Dali’s take on the piece is that it’s a metaphor about love. Venus (the woman) is reaching for the flower on Apollo’s head to symbolize the mirage of perfect love. What’s incredible to me is that this image was created for a company called Bryan Hosiery.

It’s an ad!

Hey, Matilda, what’s that hosiery Dali liked?

Bryan Hosiery.

Right, right. Gotta buy some after I get off work. My stockings have a run.

I think the piece is pretty spectacular. But it’s also not really well known/appreciated because it was created for money–as if money tainted it somehow. Funny how people like to apply this idea whenever it suits. Most works of art find their way into our lives BECAUSE someone paid for it. (The Last Supper paid for Da Vinci’s real supper, y’all). And what’s more: we usually we don’t appreciate the art we get for free either. Your great-uncle’s ice fishing stories he wrote one summer on a whim because he thought writing was a breeze, come to mind.

But at any rate. It’s a good thing to remember. Perfection kills the process. Perfect is the unreal. It’s the mirage we keep searching for. But, in the end, there’s only travel and pushing forward.

Drive on through the mirage, my lovelies.

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