What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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Siddhartha
by Hermann Hesse

Field-Tested by Scott Smith

in Chicago, Illinois

Sometimes I wake up scared and a bit lost. Wondering where I am, where I'm going and when I'll be there. It's a common ailment I suffer from called “un-fulfillment.”


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So it's ironic, I suppose, that when, in my usual mind-space of existential quandary, I found myself searching the shelves of used books in the bowels of After Words, an independent Chicago bookstore. I never expected to, in the metaphoric sense of both being in the bowels of the bookstore (which is located next to the Jazz Record Mart, where I've also spent some time attempting to satisfy the same existential needs with names like, Ellington, Young, and Evans), and the bowels of my emotion, to come across a book that would be such a great fit with my existential quandary.

It's a book about having, giving it up, finding, losing, surrendering, finding it again, exploring some more, and ultimately, discovering the ever elusive feeling of fulfillment in fact leads us back to ourselves. “Siddhartha” literally means: “he who has attained his goals,” or “every wish fulfilled.”

Hermann Hesse's ‘most famous’ work is a 152-page gem, which I missed out on when I was supposed to read it in my younger years. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure how I got by without reading at all when I was younger. I suppose A.D.D., and the fact that when I did read, I'd read the same sentence over and over again until it put me to sleep. With the reading problem firmly at bay, I figured the $0.75 (plus tax) might be worth spending on a Nobel Prize-winning author.

And for what it's worth, it's the best ROI on $0.75 (plus tax) ever, in my life.

Scott Smth is a writer/director living in Chicago, Illinois.

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