Thursday, September 17, 2015

Writers, Books, and Life

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 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. Dorien’s world is, to me, almost as solid and real as Roger’s, and I am, truthfully, often more comfortable in it than in Roger’s.

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 and harmless delusion, and I take quiet pleasure in it.

I've often stated my belief that life and time are in fact an endless loop in which every instant of time, including our lives, exists somewhere, and is repeated time and time again, endlessly. 

Or think, if you will, of life as a book. When you pick it up, every word has been written and cannot be changed. Yet each is new to you as you move through the 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 loop. Every word of a book is the equivalent of an instant of time on the loop of time: fixed, unchangeable, and yet always new and unknown. 

Even though the entire book has been written and is being held in the reader's hand as it is being read, the book’s characters, unaware that they are not real, are propelled through the book’s “time” by the reader's eyes. 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 loop of time 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/endless-loop analogies.

Because I am able to...and truly vicariously through my characters and the stories I create for them, I can have in the Dorien’s world what I do not have in Roger's. One of my most profound regrets is that in the Roger’s corporeal "real" world, 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.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

I was having a conversation with a friend and fellow author, and I was conveying my displeasure at a recent picture that had been taken of me. It's simply now I envision myself under any circumstances. She looked at me and said "I wish I had a camera that took pictures of how I think I look versus the reality. Wouldn't that be something?"

If we had one of those, we could easily become one of the characters in our books.