Run On

Having just finished reading (on Christmas Day) the astounding new novel, Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli, which is the Big Read choice here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, this year, and which has, close to the end, a whole chapter, titled “Echo Canyon,” written in one, long – 19 pages’ worth! – run-on, stream-of-consciousness sentence, I feel inspired to try my hand at something similar – not 19 pages’ worth, of course (I’ll spare you) – but the same idea: allowing thoughts to flow seemingly effortlessly onto the page, some of the thoughts that for the past few days have been swirling around in my mind like the monarch butterflies that flit from milkweed to milkweed in the pollinator garden here in Parque Juarez, where I walk nearly every day; because it’s post-Solstice now and the light (and with it, hope) is growing longer by the day, and it’s post-Christmas with all its unbearable, to me, hoopla (which, I’m convinced, J.C. himself, were he alive today, wouldn’t go for either), and it’s almost post-2019 (gracias a dios), so I’m looking forward to 2020 – such a nice, rounded, even number, don’t you think? – and all of its positive potential, plus I’m ruminating (Taurus bovine that I am) on other things, past and present, which is always a good thing to do – don’t you agree? – especially as one year comes to a close and another lies ahead like the unopened door each of us is approaching;

Just a few of the many, many intriguing front doors to be seen in San Miguel’s centro

first, I can’t believe I’m doing this, something I never would have accepted from my Freshman English students, writing a run-on (and on and on) sentence for others to actually read, but here I am flouting the rules, risking a bad grade, because I’ve reached the age (I’ll turn 75 this coming May) where I question manmade rules and sometimes bend or break them, and I think that’s okay, in fact more than okay, necessary, because some of the rules made by men to control others are just plain wrong and it takes years to come to this conclusion; take Christmas, for instance: I’ve learned (of necessity) to do it my way, which is to say, I choose solitude and a good book (Lost Children Archive was totally perfect for me this year) over socializing – not because I don’t love my loved ones but because I’m no fun to be around at this time of year – yes, I’m one of “those” and I’m not apologizing for myself anymore; that’s another good thing about reaching this age, you take a stance, plant your flag and say, “This is who I am, this is who I was meant to be!” and there’s a refreshing freedom in this – I’m even thinking of it as something of an art form — to be happy to be alone with a good book and a mixed bag of memories to open (or not) like wrapped gifts under an imaginary tree; so instead of self-pity (Why haven’t I had a “normal” life?! Where did I go wrong?) I now take pride in my “other-ness” and my heightened identity with the unseen others of this world who for whatever reason can’t even imagine having such a tree; yes, I’m running on, aren’t I? – toward what? – what’s my point? – what’s the point? – well, it always boils down to this for me:  only God knows what’s behind the facing door; my task is to just keep running (actually, at this age, walking) toward it, regardless, so that maybe I’ll be able to say in the end, as Paul wrote to Timothy: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (II Timothy 4:7); well, vamos a ver…

18 thoughts on “Run On”

  1. Love your writing, Bonnie. Thank you for stating clearly what I have felt lately. The “holidays” seem trite and full of commercialism. To thine own self be true…great motto for the new year. You live it well!

  2. Dear Bonnie…Remember reading Faulkner?? I thought I’d never sort out Absolim , Absolim!
    And for me I choose happiness and tuck me,oriels into their beds!
    Love to you in 2020…

  3. I get a quadruple whammy at this time of year; Christmas, wedding anniversary, birthday and the start of a new year. Always a looking back but more forward. Instead of writing resolutions, I try to think of a word that I will focus on during the coming year. I’ve used “Joy” more than once. I’m still contemplating what it will be in 2020.

  4. Dear Bon,

    Great job! Long sentences are all the rage. There’s a very long new book called Ducks, Newburyport that is only seven sentences.


    1. Wow, Paul, I hadn’t heard about that book. When I read the 19-page chapter in Lost Children Archive that’s all one sentence I found I had to come up for air regularly; it was like swimming under water. A whole new reading experience. Happy 2020 to you, my dear! — xx

  5. What is behind those doors? I’m thinking of moving to San Miguel and wondering what the housing actually looks like.

  6. I love the stream-of-consciousness style. And these beautiful doors…doors to a new year? I will look for the book right now. All your recommendations are always great. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo, Bonnie Bonita!

  7. That must’ve been a helluva book to inspire you to write a whole blogpost in one run-on sentence! I’ll have to check it out.

  8. Beautiful Bonnie — that run-on sentence is my favorite part of Lost Children Archive partly because it expresses our overlapping, interwoven thinking, just as your own run-on sentence does. The world moves ahead when the rules are acknowledged, evaluated and then broken.

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