diary / by Edward Mullany


In the novel Moby-Dick, after Ishmael has begun his journey toward Nantucket, but before he has boarded the Pequod, which is the ship that will carry him to sea, under the command of Captain Ahab, who is, as it turns out, obsessed to the point of madness with the white whale, he sees, in the dim light of the vestibule of an inn at which he is staying, a painting done in oils of a storm-tossed vessel upon whose masts a leviathan, having breached the surface of the ocean, with what seems like impossible fury, is about to crash, though of course this painting never existed, just as the painter who painted it never was born, and the inn in which it hung never was built, and the character who beheld it never breathed, or walked, or spoke, but in fact was no more than a thought that occurred in the mind of a man who did exist, and who imagined it all, and who wrote it down on pages that were then copied and printed and reproduced, and bound between covers, and sold in bookstores, and loaned from libraries, and obtained by people like myself, on down through the decades and the eras, so that all of us who have read it, and who will read it, do dream up, in our individual brains, visions or moving pictures that, because our psyches are separate, or distinct, must vary from each other’s in detail, emphasis, and scope, but not in substance.