Ofanya

As you come out of the forests and first spy Ofanya, you mistake it for a ruin or a bombsite.  Closer to the crumbling towers and half-roofed houses it becomes apparent that the people hurrying about are not in peril or panic.  They are going about their business calmly but quickly among the wasted blocks of Ofanya.  There is no danger, save for when a building collapses.

Spending time in the falling, failing city of Ofanya, the people reveal themselves to be full of great ambition.  No one is a banker or a grocer or a shopkeeper.  Everyone is a writer or a musician.  All are working on projects of staggering beauty and terrible deep complexity, so they have no time to spend on day jobs.  talk to anyone and they will tell you about the three hour underwater dance cycle they are dedicating to the battle of normandy.  A shy young man will show you his preliminary sketches of for a full-body tattoo of his life, the lives of his ancestors and the predicted lives of his someday children.

They cannot stay with you long, these poets and sculptors.  There is no one who will keep a shop in Ofanya, so there is nowhere to buy bread.  In the morning, the artists all wake up and scour the countryside for wild wheat they can handmill to eat.  The muralists go to the river to catch trout.  All the time everyone complains about how they can’t get a cup of coffee.  They greet each other mainly by asking for cigarettes.

You grow weary of Ofanya as everyone you meet asks you for favors and loans, promising they will remember you when their script gets made.

Ofanya is a city of infinite desire and little execution.  The houses and towers are not destroyed, they were never finished by balladeers who are writing songs about love and death.  The shit and piss stinks in the streets as there are no sewers dug, no street cleaners.  Everywhere the thin starving artists plead with you that they cannot delay their art to move to another city, but they cannot complete their art as thy have to spend all day searching for food, firewood, and shelter.  Something must be done about this hell that is Ofanya.  With a little planning and cooperation this could be a great bohemia.  Ofanya just wants you to set up a bakery, where your labor will be repaid in songs of glory and monuments to your industry.  Ofanya wants you to build an apartment block, which would be covered in heroic murals in tribute to you.

Don’t ponder this ridiculous proposal for too long.  You will begin to compose an essay in your head, a masterful argument that will strike the people of Ofanya with reason and put them into a well ordered society.  While you prepare this powerful rhetorical thunderbolt, you will grow hungry and make your way to the woods to hunt for some walnuts or blackberries.

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