Having just finished The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, I find myself re-introduced into contemporary fiction and, consequently, how little I know about the swelling tide of book-dom. This was a chance encounter at the library; I didn’t know there were at least four others in the “Thursday Next” novels, though after reading one, I can see the cause of popularity. It was intelligent, crafty, and, as it says on the cover praise, “filled with clever wordplay, literary allusion and bibliowit.” I didn’t even know there was such a word as “bibliowit,” but it makes perfect sense.
. . . Maybe I’ll pretend I didn’t spend half an hour reading the community.penguin blog . . . or signing up for GoodReads. Before I continue down that rabbit hole . . .
One of the premises in Fforde’s novel is that the stories in the novel are relatively real. The written stories play out repeatedly, always, and concurrently in their parallel universe. (You have to read it first hand to understand. That’s his genius, not mine.) While the characters are human, they are sentenced to the role they’ve been given by the writer. Their fate and destiny is very much determined. It takes no small miracle to change the course of the stories, but it’s not impossible (in this fiction story, mind you).
It reminded me that sometimes I live my life as if my story has already been written. I submit to my stereotype, conform to society, and maintain the appearance that is most convenient to others and often to myself. When I have the potential to take an alternate route, I defer to what is known and comfortable, even laziness. “What ifs” are unsettling at best when one strives to maintain a sense of stability and security, regardless of whether the potential is success or failure.
My story is not yet written, though. I’m still alive. I still have choices to make. While that within me wants to stick to what has been done all these many generations, it feels as though I also have within me ties to that which is deviant. If I can step off the well-trodden path, if I can greet each day as a page upon which I determine the destiny of the heroine, then perhaps a new cycle can begin. It doesn’t have to garner the popular vote.
Most of the heroes in our world are unsung, virtually unknown. Each of us, however, are the authors of our lives, the heroes/heroines of our own stories. Each day is an adventure, each moment filled with choice and possibility. The protagonist, of course, is anyone or anything that draws us away from creation, away from compassion. What can I say? I’m an optimist and a romantic.
“How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.” ~Albert Einstein