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Speculative

You are no doubt wondering why such a tragic and dark-laden title, “Within the Hour of the Wolf,” was chosen for this piece. Is the writer some crazed lunatic who runs rampant into the night howling at the moon in symphony—nay in oneness—with the nocturnal beasts? “Well…no.” Yet at the same time a resounding [cue an operatic singer punctuating the last word on a high note] “YYYEEESSS!!!” Yes in that you may have observed a certain nameless individual, in the past, running, or at least stumbling, in the dark (beer in hand) howling at the moon. Whether or not there was actually a moon at the time of this occurrence is inconsequential at this point. As you well know, “boys will be boys.” Needless to say, that is far removed from this writer’s current situation. “I mean, really. It has been months, or at the very least weeks, since I have done anything as indecorous as that.” The last statement declared with such false-bravado that the reader could almost feel the lie resonating off the page, so to speak.

No more to the point. The title refers to the myth of the Hour of the Wolf—the hour between night and dawn. You may have heard that within this time frame people are at their most vulnerable. It is the witching hour: a moment when most people die, sleep is deepest, and nightmares are most real. Moreover, it is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their past failures, heart-aches, and indiscretions. In other words, it is when the ghosts and demons from your past are most powerful. This grief-stricken-condition inevitably leads you to a state of isolation and loneliness. Left alone with the darkness of your own thoughts, it is understandable why thoughts of suicide are at their strongest. Hence, you have the whole doleful wolf howling into the empty wildness analogy. This is where the Father character in SCTV—which was once upon a time a popular Canadian sitcom—would be looking strangely into the camera and utter in a creepy voice, “Woo, are you scared, Billy?”

Theatrics aside, the Hour of the Wolf—for those in a proper state of mind—could be seen as more than just some mystical, gloom and doom, suicide-pack occasion. It is also when the night owls come out to play. Because most people are asleep, silence is your only companion. Nestled within your own self-contained-quietude, the Hour of the Wolf becomes an ideal time to read, to study, to draw, or just day-dream, err, night-waking-dream. In any event, your mind is free to wander and imagine, undisturbed. It is a pursuit you have so little chance to do during the grinding rigors of the day. And all at once, you may find yourself hinged upon a delicate balance between creativity and consciousness. It is a condition John Keats, a Romantics writer, referred to as Negative Capability. What Keats was referring to is a sense of imagination that borders between thought and sensation which he felt was a way of allowing you to give yourself completely over to the MOMENT, whatever that moment may be. Essentially, with no worries or responsibilities to anchor you down, your mind is set free: to reflect upon the past; to dream about the future; to ponder the intricacies of the heart (both good and bad); or to just wander aimlessly. It is precisely in this dream-like-wakefulness that you are given the opportunity to explore the dark corridors of your mind and rattle the sleeping Beast that lies therein.

And thus you have the makings of this piece. You can think of it as a window into the fragmented images of one writer’s imaginings—the dormant part of a cloistered psyche finding expressive freedom during the daunting silence of the night. It seems the distant howling Wolf metaphor works well with this sudden outburst of inspiration. For it is during the silence and solitude of the night that you may very well discover a well-spring of artist expression. Perhaps, it is the lack of judgment and subsequent fear of reprisal that you can begin to peel away your many layers of social personas and reveal who you truly are through your words, your stories, your inward reflections.

           You can call this liberating sense of inner freedom the Cyrano de Bergerac effect. Like in the story, Cyrano de Bergerac is suddenly free to express his true feelings to Roxanne (A woman he has known and loved from afar his whole life) while his true identity was hidden by the cover of night. Although, Edmond Rostand’s 1897 story of Cyrano de Bergerac may be viewed, by some, as a cautionary tale. For Cyrano discovers in the final moments of his life that it was his beautiful words that Roxanne fell in love with that night, and not the handsome face of the man he pretended to be. If only he told her how he felt all those years. If only he hadn’t hidden himself from the possibility of her love. “If only” the loneliest words in the English language so befitting the Hour of the Wolf. You, yourself, may have found occasions to experience and survive those dreadful words. But that is not what this is all about, or at least not only what this is all about. It is about the experience and the foresight to give yourself completely over to the moment wherever it may lead you, unfettered. Cyrano, though a fictional character, could be seen as a representation of that very real need to be able to express yourself not only freely, but truthfully. Imagine, if you will, a moment where there is no need to beat around the bush, read between the lines, create subterfuge or subtext, just good old fashion honesty personified. As you can see, there is so much to be gained within the sanctity of artistic freedom. Unfortunately, it is an experience few have known in this taboo-filled, tightly wound, restrictive world of ours.

The question remains, what good may come from this sense of inward reflection? “Maybe nothing, maybe everything, maybe something in between, who knows?” What is known is that in most life-pursuits, it is not the end result that you find meaning, but the journey, the trials and tribulations, the internal struggles you face that show you what you are made of (and hence) who you truly are.

As for this writer, my journey begins and ends here, with you (the reader) as my Roxanne, I have boldly gone where I have only thought of going before, figuratively speaking, of course. I feel that you should look for occasions to write in this manner, for your imagination is what keeps all your hopes and dreams alive. To deny that part of yourself would be to deny the very essence (the very fabric) that makes you who you are. So why not take an hour out of the night to howl into the wilderness? Explore your creative side, your dark side of the moon. The world with all its repression, heart-aches, and responsibilities will still be there in the end. For now, lose yourself in this moment with me. See where it takes us, if you dare…

June 26, 2020 00:12

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4 comments

Cynthia Cronan
21:39 Jul 01, 2020

Rodrigo - The night world is a rich topic, and one you seem to be very knowledgable about. I found this piece reads like a first draft. You incorporate so many sub-stories that the main plot takes a back seat. Also, your choice of prompt doesn’t show up in your piece. I kept waiting for the “Just say it” component.

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Rodrigo Juatco
03:21 Jul 02, 2020

Thank you for taking the time to read my piece. I appreciate the comments.

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Zan Lexus
20:29 Jun 30, 2020

"or just day-dream, err, night-waking-dream." That was my favourite line. Great atmosphere in this piece. :)

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Rodrigo Juatco
21:48 Jun 30, 2020

Thank you for reading my piece. Much appreciated.

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