Humanities graduates, so goes the scathing scientific viewpoint, hate the classification of persona’s into theories, facts and numbers. Yet it has been those more trained in the arts than sciences, that have given most weight to the lovely analogy of the book of life. The chronologue of ones life, neatly compartmentalised into chapters, each numbered, and broken ever further into pages filled with the description of ones individual endeavours. So, on what grounds does this scientist have to fight the notion of ones life as a book? I wish to go against the artful classification of my life into a non-stop story, and begin it where and when I want. After all, isn’t that what authors do best? they omit, rework, reorder and exagerate. the positive is fluffed up to the highest height, and the negatives are either forgotten, or romanticised into stories of dispare to be learned from. Facts will never be bent, but they will always be used to the authors advantage.
So, with this in mind, I propose a new way to write my life. It doesn’t start at the beginning, but like any good novel, it starts with the most suspense; in the middle. The here and now is what I will be writing, the things that are visceral and relevant. These are the things which will, eventually, determine the beginning and the end.
How would one choose which beginning to start with, if they weren’t cognizent of the middle they are relating that beginning to? No good book contains the irrelevant details. For example, I played the saxophone at school, and for a while I was really quite good. But what kind of story of scientist and sportsman would focus on the years I spent learning music. For if I had turned out to be the newest saviour of Jazz, my exploits riding unsuitable bikes down steep hills as a 12 year old would be equally irrelevant.
So, my book is being written on what is happening now. And if, for whatever reason, that now changes, I will change the story too. With no remorse or explanation; a different future will always require the re-emphasis of context in the past. There are parts of my life that have already been unwritten; no longer needed in the book that I have now chosen to embark on. Perhaps later, when some new trajectory of life is completed, those unwritten peices of history will be reincluded for context alone.
But what kind of novelist would think of a book with more than one beginning, of unneccessary details that bogs down the true important details? Like an aspiring novelist, I hope that those who are really reading my story are engaged enough to look between the lines. To imagine the context and background without the need for explicit guidance. My life hope, to put it so romantically, would be that I have readers in my life that do their own research on my story; readers who care enough about my words that they choose to link their words with mine, to interweave stories.
The best part of writing your own story; you get to choose the characters, the places, the events. No one needs to be in your story, but every good story has a character that cannot be left out. The most recent chapter of my book is a joint endeavour; one may say a collaboration to borrow the scientific parlance. From here, I feel that my story will be incomplete without reading that of another life, another book being concurrently written. Some chapters will be the same, others will be different. Life is like reading a review of someones book and choosing whether you want to include their story in yours. This second book is the half of mine that I don’t need to write – it’s someone else’s story of me, just like my story, in the end, will be defined by the characters who I choose to include.