La línea consta de un número infinito de puntos; el plano, de un número infinito de líneas; el volumen, de un número infinito de planos; el hipervolumen, de un número infinito de volúmenes...
No, unquestionably this is not--more geometrico--the best way of beginning my story. To claim that is it true is nowadays the convention of every made-up story. Mine, however, is true.
--Jorge Luis Borges
El Libro de Arena, The Book of Sand, by Jorge Luis Borges, was my gateway to the obsession I now call Literature. I read it in tenth grade, as part of a literature/writing course I was taking with a local author. Up to that point, I had been rather annoyed with the idea of literature. I was in my second year with this teacher, and I was beginning to be frustrated. Shakespeare was fun; the acting provided a bit of glamour. But I would never have expected to spend three years of my life studying written language.
Then I read Borges. As it is often with the direction of our lives, a (Providential?) chance, a shot in the dark led me to something that frightened me, intrigued me, inspired me deeply.
Borges short essay, which imagines the mystery and horror of an infinite book, encapsulates so many of my interests, backgrounds, goals, and fears. As a writer, I am frightened by libraries and bookstores, for the infinity of human discourse is infinitely discouraging. My insatiable appetite for information ultimately overcomes these fears, and I revel in the exhilaration of being lost in the flow of human information, in libraries, on the Web. Borges wrote in Spanish, the native tongue of my Guatemalan father and the second language of my mother, who spent well over a decade immersed in Spanish, learning indigenous languages and teaching Spanish to descendents of Mayans, of Olmecs. And Borges wrote in an unusual manner, his topics and style often looking oddly like hypertext.
This website is much like Borges's Book of Sand, a transient record of who-knows-what, text and pictures, flying by. Some of it may be decipherable. Some of it may add up. Some may not.
To write requires a bit of arrogance, a portion of courage to pick up the laptop, to raise the pen and claim worth.
I believe that writing also requires a bit of humility, a sense of purpose.
The Notebook of Sand will not be merely a repository of my life. As much as possible, I attempt to piece things together, create narrative, entertain, and inform. But I wouldn't ask you to trade it for a Bible, like the collector in The Book of Sand. Like the book, the story doesn't really begin on this website. Neither does it end on this website.
Follow the links. Let the world of information trickle between your toes. Sift the sand, make castles, play on the beach. Scratch your mark on the seaside; stand at the head of commanding dunes.
And smile back at the sun. Smile back at the library. Smile at the garden of forking paths. Smile at the Spanish, at the malfunctioning computer, at the flow of information. Smile.