"When I had journeyed half of our life's way, I found myself within a shadowed forest, For I had lost the path that does not stray." Dante, Inferno
A Biblical lifespan is measured at three-score and ten years, which is why Dante chose 35 (half a lifespan) to be the age of his literary persona's journey through Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. No one knows when their time may come but 70 seems both reasonable and traditional, if one must make predictions. Poor Dante died when he was 56.
I'm not one for milestones but having just arrived at 35, the prospect of mid-life is hard to ignore. It feels like the crest of a hill from which one can look back, look forward, look all around and see for miles and miles. Everything is laid out and the air is exceptionally clean. Mid-life does my lungs some good. Much stock is being taken; you better believe it.
I have been writing Nutshell Kingdom for almost four years now. Did you know that I took the title liberally from Hamlet? "O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and count myself king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams." I am still pleased with that title. It still seems fitting.
I was always bothered that Nutshell never had a proper beginning, no invocation of any sort. Hopefully, this entry will serve in its stead. My head and my heart often move at such rapid speeds that my fingers cannot catch up and the result is always more disorderly than I would like. It is because of this that Nutshell Kingdom is going to change a little over the next few weeks or months. I'm going to slow down, write my entries in advance, maybe even proofread some before posting. There will be a serious attempt to take a little stock in my surroundings and myself. Content-wise, the plan is simple. My entries will be in the form of letters. The recipient of these letters will be the only fictional element. The rest will be a slow, winding explanation of myself at the mid-point of my life, a verbal talking my way back out of the shadowed forest that Dante describes. You can take off originality points if you like as I lifted the idea from a book. However, I know that the author of that book assuredly stole the idea from another book, and so on. It sounds so pretentious when I describe it and I hope to God it doesn't turn out that way. It is hard to say at this point, having not even begun yet. I guess my need for a "project" is pretty predictable, but there it is. I do know that I hope that it works and is somehow intelligible and readable. I hope you'll bear with me. I hope you'll like it.