Monday, February 17, 2014


When I was much younger, there were choose-your-own-adventure stories. But those weren't very impressive to me; I used to map them out as trees and colour the trees for the heck of it just to see how they might look.

And once in a while, you realise the only story you really know is your own.

That tree looks really strange. Over the last two years, I've realised how strange. So what I'm going to do now is show the un-strange parts, because they frame the concept in a different way.As is common these days, you might want to move backwards in time, explore the 'nodes' in the 'adventure'. But life is a lot more complicated than that.

In about a quarter of the options, I am still living with my parents. In about a third of the options, I'm in a stable relationship with a significant other. These two sets of options seldom overlap.

Quite often, I'm not living with my parents, but I see them with a frequency ranging from once a week to once a year. There are extremes — living nearby, or not living. Yes, I am quite sure there are terminal options in the tree, and I've already nearly experienced a few.

This is not The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock or any parody of it. Unlike Prufrock, I've not wondered very much about the time, women who don't notice me, or old age.

But there were key moments. Stick, or twist. Stay, or go. Stand and fight, run and skirmish. The thing about life is that it offers no replays of which the protagonist can be aware. You have to be happy with what you have in the awareness that you could have had better, or far worse. There is no way of knowing what the story might have been.

Sometimes, I still go through branch-narrative stories and games. Sometimes, they do make me feel a little wistful, as of lost sunsets and faded opals, dew gone with the sun, brandy gone with the moon. But in the end, it's back to the working out of this branch, the branch on which I perch and from which I look out over the vast landscape of the forest.

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