Monday, October 26, 2015

[Memphis Reads 2015] Fresh Reads Top Ten Winner Kyre Burt

What is the What
Kyre Burt

Oftentimes in life people are left with a split decision between the known and the unknown. Although the unknown may have untold and vast amounts of benefits, people are often drawn to the more comfortable option of what is known. In the book What is the What, Achak’s father tells an ancient myth of Dinka creation. The myth goes, as told by Achak’s father, in the beginning God gave a Dinka man a decision between a cow and What. The man questions God as to what the What may be, but God chooses to ignore the question and not reveal the secret to the What. Confined to human insecurities the Dinka man prompts God to give him the cow, while it was not explicitly stated by Achak’s father, it was assumed that while God gave the Dinka’s cow he gave the Arabs the What. It was from then on the Dinka people believed that the Arabs had received a raw deal. Later on in time though, the Dinka’s villages were raided in destroyed by the Arab militia. Following Achak’s conscious, we are uncertain to what it is the Arabs had received years and years ago. The What is just an vague idea that has been misrepresented this whole time. Furthermore considering that the Arabs have now utterly annihilated the Dinka society, Achak considers maybe the Arabs didn’t receive a raw deal. Rather it was the Dinka’s for settling with what was known and comfortable to them. Which leads me to believe that the What, in this story is not a tangible object metaphorically speaking. Rather the What in this case was the willingness to obtain new things in life, or opportunity per say. The What is the ability to flee from human insecurities and fears, so that whomever can break barriers in life and get ahead in life. That is what the Dinka’s passed up, and is what Achak came to believe upon evading the ashes of his past life.

Considering the actions and events that transpired with the Dinkas and Arabs, I was once given the decision to choose between the known and unknown. I was asked to clean out one of my neighbor’s garages one afternoon of my childhood summer for $30. Without hesitation, I willingly agreed to his terms and began cleaning the garage. After finishing the garage, I had rang the doorbell of my neighbor’s house to receive my payment. Little did I know, I was in for a surprise. After reaching in his left pocket and pulling out exactly $30, he then pulled out a black leather wallet from his right pocket. After staring puzzled for a couple of seconds, he then asked me to choose which I wanted for cleaning up the garage. The wallet was nice and all, but who’s to say it had money in it or was even worth anything. So without a doubt, I chose the $30. He then opened the wallet and there was a white slip of paper that appeared. He pulled it out and revealed to me that it was a check for $200 and after placing it back in the wallet and giving me the $30, he told me to never be afraid to take chances in life. For that very reason, I am now willing to take chances with options that are unknown to me. 

--Kyre Burt

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