Journeys to Unknown Ends
By Karen Ballum on November 30, 2011
One of the things I loved most about Stella Duffy's Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore is that Theodora took risks. She wasn't exactly fearless, she calculated her risks carefully, but she let her instinct guide her. Perhaps no risk was bigger than when she left the stage and made a journey to an unknown end.
"She had never before sailed on and on, until the coastline she loved became a thin silver line, and, finally, disappeared entirely. Nor had she travelled as anything other than a worker, using the vessel to get from one venue to another, one private show to another gilded whorehouse to a third back-room bedroom. She had never before journeyed to an unknown end." p. 75
I can't begin to tell you how much I love the phrase "journey to an unknown end." I've bookmarked it, written it down and if I wasn't rather against writing in non-academic books I'd have highlighted, underlined and possibly circled it. There is something incredibly romantic about the idea of a journey to an unknown end. It is filled with excitement, anticipation and trepidation. What will await you? Will it be wonderful? Will it be terrible?
It makes me think of when I really and truly left home for the first time. I spent close to 24 hours in transit as I went from car to bus to train to finally a cab that would drop me off in front of my college dorm. While a friend travelled with me, her mother and younger siblings were with her. They were unit and I was alone. It was scary and exciting and just a little bit lonely. I had no idea what awaited me. I did not know if I had made the right choice. I just knew that I was undeniably and truly on my own for the first time in my life.
Theodora's journey was both wonderful and terrible. It didn't turn out the way she had hoped or planned, but it put her on the path that would lead to her becoming empress. I think that most of us will have to aim slightly lower but when I think about it, we're all on journeys to unknown ends. Like Theodora we all make the best decisions we can and hope that our instincts prove right.
Have you ever taken a journey to an unknown end? Are you on one now?
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