Last weekend I submitted a personal essay, encompassing a few different themes. But the main idea was centered on how you cannot understand an experience typically when you are in the thick of it, but rather you must come full-circle and look at it with fresh eyes, to see what you have really learned. This is a concept that Paul Auster, an author I greatly admire, writes to often in his novels. (He also has a collection of personal essays, called The Red Notebook, which I highly recommend.) When you begin to recognize that coincidences are not coincidental at all, but rather just part of an endless series of decisions and consequences, then it really begins to put into perspective your beliefs in choice and destiny.
For fun sometimes I like to look at my horoscope, and not that I don't believe in things being written in the stars so to speak, I just don't believe that if I read on the back cover of a tabloid magazine that I was going to die tomorrow, or if my fortune cookie says, "Today is the day. Say goodbye to all you love," and I just happened to find myself standing at the edge of a great precipice, that I am actually going to jump. My prediction is that I would take in the view and think how happy I am to be alive. Certainly, it is all up to interpretation.
So, when I write, particularly personal non-fiction, I am also interpreting. I am the main character in my own story, these things really happened to me, and so my version is the truth. Or is it? Rarely do we admit that these things not just happened to us, but that we actually had some sort of control or made some sort of decision, to bring on these experiences. So, in this recent essay I actually made a point out of this. I told the romantic version of the story first, than I admitted that the only reason I saw it in such an idealistic light, was because that is all I wanted to see at the time and I thought it was the only type of story people wanted to read (refer to my blog about Puppies & Violence, this is what I mean by the fuzzy, good-feeling "puppy" kind of story). But how flawed are our memories when we recount everything leading up to a moment, and how flawed are we to think we do everything we can. Writing helps us to understand, yet it is our narrative blinders which keep us from seeing the whole picture/story, and sometimes even accept responsibility.
If I lived my life based on a horoscope, I would be a walking contradiction. And in my writing, it would translate. I aim to strive for a clearer purpose, and hopefully the result in turn will be finding truth within my stories.