opening for an unwritten story
For maybe five decades, maybe more, I didn’t want my life to be what it was. It was perfectly ordinary but I didn’t want to be in it. I found escape routes from some of it in writing and climbing; I developed a bad memory to deal with the rest. Only now, after I’ve spent a few years in a life I want, do I see what an odd admission that is to make. People seem quite horrified by it; but I wouldn’t want to live among people who aren’t. How do you write about a life like that, legacy of your own poor management of childhood & adolescence, except veiled in concepts such as “haunting”, “navigation failure” or ”behaviour after a disaster”? Without those metaphors I wouldn’t know where to begin. Living is the endless discovery that you’re weirder than you thought, & you’ll never retrieve any of it except via the metaphors you’ve had all along. That seems to have been the advantage of genre fiction for me.
I don’t think that’s so odd. Many of us live lives we don’t really want or didn’t actively choose, and we all find our own coping mechanisms. Climbing and writing sound pretty good – reading is mine. If you’ve now found a life you like then you’re a lucky man! 😀
I am indeed lucky. Thanks, Kaggsy.
Like you (I think), I distrust the pairing of “life” and “story”, but they do have this much in common: the process of getting one is indistinguishable from the process of escaping one.
In that regard, I’ve always found your stories (regardless of generic vehicle) “true to life.”
I sometimes feel that I’ve defeated myself. When St Peter asks me what I did with my life I might well say: ‘tried to live it down’.
Wow, did I stumble on this, this evening, at an opportune time (though I subscribe to your blog, I found this one by getting online to see my own). I have just recently lost a job in “my field” for the severalth time and am deeply thinking about how the 5-6 years I spent with my parents in my adolescence as the only child at home messed with the next… yup, 40+ years. I turn 61 this coming week, and am trying to undo that damage finally, find a new path that’s my own. I can, I suppose, look back and say I didn’t do too badly, given I had no idea I only had one leg the whole time.
[…] The latter was this blog post by author and literary critic M John Harrison… […]