t was a dark and stormy night, I thought, as I crawled along at a burro’s pace. I gazed up through the windshield at the spooky forks of emerald-colored lightning illuminating the bloated cumulus above. It’d been many years since I’d last witnessed this type of spectacular thunder-snow; of course back then I’d been peering out at it through my apartment window, sipping from a mug of steaming hot cocoa, not sliding around an icy mountain in a fucking matchbox car.

The wet snow pelted my car in meaty clumps and the shrieking polar winds would not relent, carrying on like some unpleasant drunk at an office party. A cannon crack of thunder echoed across the hills – war and rumors of war. Visibility was nil and the heavy accumulation caked up on the tires like fondant, making the car almost impossible to control. Panic had set in.

Switching on the radio, I settled back in my seat. Calm voices crackled through the speakers, soothing my nerves.

“…thank you, Wendy, for your input. We now have Jerry Friedman on the line. For those of you just joining us, tonight’s topic is all about achieving one’s personal goals through the power of positive thinking. Jerry, you say you have some unique perspective?”

“Hi Diana, long-time listener, first-time caller here. To be clear, I’m not sure if I’d classify my perspective as exceptionally unique, more an agglomeration of different ideas and philosophies I’ve gathered over the years. I suppose you could say by the act of processing them all through my own mechanism, as it were, I’ve achieved a personal understanding which might be germane to the subject at hand”

“Absolutely, Jerry, please continue…”

“The last caller mentioned that she’d always had a problem meeting new people, which left her in a state of isolation and despair. It was when she began to visualize her perfect relationship in extensive detail, sending out this image to the Universe, that he appeared, like magic, in her life, almost as if she herself had made him manifest.”

“Yes…I think that’s a good synopsis. I’m sensing an air of incredulity in there somewhere…”

“Not incredulity. I feel everyone has a right to their own conclusions. That being said, I would tend to believe that rather than somehow willing this man into existence through the power of her mind, she merely opened herself up to the idea of him. She caught the wave into what I refer to as the ‘magic zone,’ cracking into an unconscious state which allowed her to perceive a different kind of reality, a reality which connected her to a deeper understanding of self and, in turn, those around her.”

“Could you elaborate?”

“I don’t believe she ‘sent anything’ out there, in fact, she could not. Because, you see, everything is already out there. All she did was open up the doors within she’d been systematically locking over the course of her life. We all have our own individual needs, goals, dreams…yet most of us struggle day-to-day, living an existence contrary to these aspirations. This woman was desperate for human contact, it was her greatest need, what she valued the most, yet she cut herself off from the possibility – wrapping herself up in an all-consuming job she hated and slavish routine. That’s strange behavior, but we all do it. We do it out of fear. From the time we’re children, we’ve already begun locking doors to protect our ego from injury. The irony is, we’re closing ourselves off from the things we need the most in the process. So, how can we break this cycle of self-sabotage? It’s simple – you have to work at what you value. Whether it’s associated with a career, or a relationship, or a spiritual longing, we all must do the work. Try applying a new perspective to an old problem, break the habits – throw caution to the wind. When you commit fully to the things you want to achieve for yourself, you’re committing yourself to a new reality, opening yourself up to possibility. That’s the ‘magic zone.’”

“Right, I understand now, but was she not in a sense ‘doing the work’ through her process of visualization?”

“You’re right there to a point, but I feel she’s kidding herself if she believes her boyfriend materialized by anything she ‘sent out’ to the Universe. Moreover, the ‘work’ she did sounds passive if you ask me, but who knows, maybe it could have helped her transition into this unconscious state I was talking about. Perhaps, by concentrating so hard on her goal, she was able to free her ego, unlock those doors. Of course, at this point we can’t know, can we? Is this really the man of her dreams? Has she, in fact, achieved what she values most?”

“I wish her all the best to be sure…as I do you, Jerry Friedman, thank you very much for your call…”

I turned the radio off and drove in silence for a long while. The heavy dark poured in through the windows like cold tar and my spine, a knotted rope, creaked as if tied from a rafter. Slowly but surely, I was able to make it around one frozen pass, then another, and another. Though it seemed impossible, the inclement weather began to let up, and by the time I’d reached the thruway it had turned to a gentle drizzle.

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Lives in Manhattan around the corner from a diner which serves poisonous tuna melts and adequate java. My dissections, commentaries, and occasional rantings have been published by a wide range of online sites, pulpy outposts, and fugitive rags.

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