Saturday, 11 May 2019

Alternate Realities In Our Every Day

I keep mentioning this idea of choice and result. The first time was back in 2017, when following a bad break-up I tried to make sense of what is within, and what is outside of, our control. I questioned a pre-defined Destiny and yet toyed with the idea that sometimes other people's choices influence our life too. It was a heart-breaking post to write back then and even re-reading it now makes me re-live that sadness all over again. However the post itself ends on a very positive note, with my decision to control my own future and believe in the ability to change Destiny, as it were. The article itself may be read here: The Chain Reaction.

This idea is very much in keeping with my musings of the past weeks, where I suggested that should one tiny detail differ in our day, it might have a ripple effect causing a totally different life for us. I mention in The Chain Reaction how my friend was late meeting me for coffee. It was only for that reason that I was swiping photos left on a dating app on my phone, out of boredom, when a guy came to speak to me online and literally changed my life in so many ways. He is even the muse behind or sometimes catalyst of, many more of my articles and blog posts, so he might have slightly changed my professional career too in a way! Can you see how every tiny detail changes something in turn?

Authors Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler wrote a teen novel that centres around this very theme of changing your reality, one little movement at a time. Calling it The Future Of Us, they toyed with the idea that the two protagonists and friends - Emma and Josh - might, horror of horrors, not still be Facebook friends in the future! Gosh, how did that happen now?! It is a hilarious account of two youngsters trying to manipulate what happens next and learning a whole lot about life in the process.

What would have happened had I not booked that flight ticket just last month? Who knows? The point is, I did. (You may read more about that here: Synchronicities.) What would have happened had I gone off to live in London back in 2005 and studied for a BA in English as originally planned, instead of finding a good position in a financial company and letting that set the tone for my paid employment for the next fourteen years? Who knows? Point is, I didn't go live in London at the time and chose to stay on the island.

This post has reminded me of the adventure books from when I was young that would ask you to make choices for the character. According to your choice progression, you were always led to another page to read another bit of the story, which would differ should you choose an alternate option for the characters. I have to admit, I was always more interested in the technicality of how those books were written and put together, rather than actually reading my choice story from start to end. As an author, the dynamics of a book fascinate me.

Which reminds me of yet another book that somehow ties into this whole argument about choosing our progression and leaving the alternatives behind. A little over a year ago, I reviewed The Girl Before for online magazine In doing some research about the novel before writing out my review, I read an interview with the writer, JP Delaney (a pseudonym for Tony Strong). In it, the author admitted to writing eighteen endings for the book before choosing the most appropriate one. Character Jane could very well have faced any of eighteen endings and she is not even real!

We might not be characters who've survived an elaborately planned murder, and yet we make choices every second of our day, each of which dictates our immediate future. So the next time you find yourself at any crossroad, debating on whether to catch that flight or remain with your feet firmly on the ground, ask yourself which of your immediate alternate realities would you be willing to choose?

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