Don’t you wish sometimes that your life was like your fiction? Where you could cut, edit, rewrite whole chapters, entire sections, change scenes, get rid of unnecessary characters and add new interesting ones, just to make it your best?
When you start writing your story or novel, whether you have planned it chapter by chapter or you just have a notion of your beginning and end, your writing is bound to take its own course whether you like it or not during the actual process of writing. There will be a time when your characters will take over and all you’ll have to do is follow them throughout the story. If the end result turns out to be better than what you intended to write in the first place, fine. If not you are the producer of your own show, you can cut, revise and rewrite as many times as is necessary to your own satisfaction with your work. You are allowed to make a mess of it, you have the:
“Ability to accept the imperfect until it is better. The fruits of afterthought are sweet.” Bernard Malamud
Imagine applying the same principles of revision to your own life. Imagine if you can weed out anything and everything that is not working for you but working against you in your life. You edit, you revise, you add. Because your life at best is a planned mess. As John Lennon once said:
“It’s what happens to you when you’re planning for something else.”
That’s right. It’s what happens to you when you are planning for something else that hits you the hardest and knocks you off course the most. You lose your job, you lose your home, you change cities, it doesn’t work. You move to another country all in the hope of making your life better. And when you are faced with new difficulties, like losing your health, what do you do? What comes next? Do you quit? Or do you continue?
You know what? People talk a lot and you often have to wait to hear their true stories. You have to be patient to even know how your story will end. But you feel you can’t do that at this point in your life. You don’t have the tolerance. You are aware that you are not the same person you used to be and that time is running out on you. You think and dream and think again and dream again and try again. It’s not that simple and you wish that things were different. Hey you are still alive aren’t you? So you talk to your friends, you write down your thoughts, your feelings, your dreams. You write about your pain, and your heartaches. And then you wonder.
If only you could rewrite your life like William Burroughs did his work. Mix and match and see what happens.
William Burroughs sometimes cuts up sentences, tosses them in a hat, pulls them out randomly, and writes them down in that order. Or so he says.