Rajiv Moté’s story “L’Appel du Vide” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 22 March 2019.
“L’Appel du Vide,” French for “the call of the void,” is a phenomenon where a person standing at a precipice has the unreasonable, outrageous urge to step out into the abyss. Psychologists have studied this, and found that the urge isn’t suicidal, but an act of imagination that sparks the awareness of being alive. I wrote this story for a class on Magic As Metaphor in fiction, which I took during a year of unemployment, after quitting my job with no ‘next move’ in hand. It wasn’t lost on me how much privilege it required just to walk away. It was a scary, frustrating, guilt-ridden year of feeling like I had made a terrible mistake, wondering if I was too old to make a career change or even re-enter my career, and realizing I’d become a burden on my family. It was also the most wonderful, freeing period of my adult life. Where once I lived in the interstices, I suddenly controlled big blocks of time on my calendar. I could use them to pursue things that engaged my intellect and interests. I could spend more time with people I cared about. I was never bored. It wouldn’t—couldn’t—last, but having a taste of that life was transformative in ways I’m still discovering. This is a story about having that taste. Of knowing you have to go back, but still relishing that moment on the brink of a larger world.
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