Mount Silenus, Destroyer of Illusions
“A surreal existentialist crisis” Publishers Weekly
“The mountain is nothing more than an extra hilly hill,” you say, cringing. “I was letting a word freak me out. If you don’t tame their power they control you.”
Positive thinking is a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of hubris and stupidity. Try taming cyanide. The perils inherent to things exist independent of our descriptions and attitudes. Wolverines for instance. And Oxycodone. And mountains.
You walk on. Silenus grows faster than you’d expect given your cautious pace, as if clawing at you. An abstraction flickers to life: 20% of climbers take up permanent residence here, which means hundreds of breathing, eating, farting, laughing, beer-drinking, poker-playing men DIED here. They forever ceased and desisted from breathing, eating, farting, laughing, drinking beer, and playing poker courtesy of what you’re about to commence. These were not suicides. They were trying every inch of the way to avoid this irreversible and often unpleasant transformation. Then what happens? Welcome to the concrete reality of this question.
The clouds expand and diminish and the sky sheds a grimy exoskeleton to reveal an orange heart pulsing within a vast creature of which you are a mere cell. The sun pools on the snow like orange juice.
The sun, what is it?
In all your meanderings and voyages you’ve never stopped and gawked at the bone-chilling peculiarity of this. Is the existence of Existence humdrum and self-explanatory, or do these questions open empty chambers no free samples from Dr. Schlotski can fill?
Based on a disastrous attempt
And you, what are you, and where? That mysterious theatre behind your eyes and between your ears, what perpetuates its dynamism?
“I’ll tackle it tomorrow when the weather’s nicer. I need to get an earlier start. Timing is of the essence.”
In a world where no consensus exists on its creation, who can say with certainty that guzzling champagne in the bath is not the greatest accomplishment in life? Return to your kingdom. Silenus will wait.
A Vertical Odyssey of Extraordinary Peril began as therapy for Post-Traumatic Mountaineering Disorder (PTMD). Some events never recede on the horizon of Time. Dismissing them as the past is wishful thinking. That they occurred before other things is a trivial property, incidental and irrelevant to the sovereignty they wield. Jablonski filled hard drives with descriptions & analyses of what happened, then projected it into the eyes of characters spanning centuries.