Every now and again, I pull myself up short and realize just how amazingly lucky I am to be a writer, especially considering how generally uncomfortable I am living in the real world. And when that world closes in too tightly, I can...and do...simply step into the worlds of my mind. I am fully aware of how difficult...and probably impossible...it is to explain how real this "other" world--this alternate universe, as it were--is to me.
As Dorien Grey and Roger Margason, I am two people in one, Roger living in the corporeal world we all share, Dorien in the world of thought and dreams and hopes. My Dorien world is, to me, almost as solid and real as my Roger world, and I am, truthfully, often more comfortable in it than I am in the real world.
Please let me make it clear, however, that I am always fully aware of whichever world I am spending my time at the moment, and never confuse them. I'm sure there are those who would consider me delusional, but it is a controlled delusion and I take quiet pleasure in it.
I've often stated my belief that life and time are in fact a cosmic mobius strip, with no beginning and no end. Every instant of time, including our lives, exists somewhere on that strip, and as time moves around the strip, every moment is repeated time and time again, endlessly.
Now think, if you will, of life as a book. Just as every life has a beginning and an end, so does a book. And just as a book, read from first sentence to last, can, upon reaching "The End," be reread over and over again, so are our lives endlessly repeated. The movement of the reader's eyes over each word in a book is the equivalent of the movement of time around that cosmic mobius strip. The book's story is propelled forward as the reader's eyes move. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph of a book, is the equivalent of an instant of time on the mobius strip: fixed, unchangeable.
Yet even though the entire book has been written and is being held in the reader's hand as it is being read, the characters in the book, unaware that they are not real, unknowingly depend on the reader's eyes for forward momentum. The characters are aware of what has happened in previous sentences and paragraphs and chapters, but what comes next is totally unknown. It's all there, in the book, the reader's eyes just haven't taken the characters there yet.
Each new page is a new segment of the character's lives. But the characters are totally unaware of what the next page has in store for them, though the entire book has been written. And the reader can pick up the book at page one and set the characters off on the same adventure, though again they are only aware of what has come before, not of what the next sentence or paragraph holds.
We move along the mobius strip of life in the same way the reader's eyes move through a book. It is time--and specifically that portion of time we know as "now"--which propels us through our lives, unaware that it has done so before and will do so again throughout eternity.
I've always loved optical illusions...those pictures in which you see one thing, but suddenly, by the slightest shift in focus, become something totally different. Roger's world is the immediately obvious picture, Dorien's the alternate. The optical illusion analogy pretty much sums up and combines my two lives, my two alternate universes and unites my book/mobius strip analogies.
Because I am able to...and truly do...live vicariously through my characters and the stories I create for them, I can have in the Dorien-me parallel/alternate universe what I do not have in Roger's real world. One of my most profound regrets is that in the corporeal "real" world in which the Roger-me lives, I do not have someone with whom I am deeply and romantically in love and who loves me in the same way. I miss it more than I can possibly say. I know that the world abounds with people who are in the same position as I. And yet, in my alternate, Dorien world, I am Dick Hardesty, and I have Jonathan and Joshua and all the marvelous things not available to me in Roger's world. Hard as it may be to understand, their love and commitment to one another are very real to me, and they provide me with an inexpressible joy and comfort.
I am, truly, blessed.
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