When I said I had a “dread feeling” about getting started on A Perfect Life in the previous post, I didn’t mean that I have some silly premonition that I’m running out of time to do this. I meant that I have a real dread of the messiness, the incoherence of how I think I need to approach the project.

I have a vague image of what a finished version might look/read like, but of course I cannot sit down and start writing that finished version. First of all, I only have a vague image. Duh.

Second of all, there is no second of all. I only have a vague image of what should be in the book (“Everything!” is the only answer I can get out of the Muse), and absolutely no idea of where to begin.

So I must simply begin. Open the book and start writing about my life and how I live it, here in Newnan, on College Street, in the late 20th/early 21st centuries.

How I wake up and get ready. What College Street looks like, winter, spring, summer, fall. My study. Driving through downtown. Walking through downtown. Being married. Being a father. What I wear. What I don’t wear. Front porches, their decline and fall. School. Parks. The theatre. Lichtenbergians. Lichtenbergianism. The ELP. William Blake’s Inn. The changes in all of the above over the years.

“Everything!” says the Muse.

And that fills me with dread. My stomach churns and my shoulders tense up even as I type this.


One thought on “Clarification

  1. I have had the same idea of starting an autobiography by chronicling the events of my life in short capsules. Many of mine would focus on my medical experiences, plus my theater time, teaching time, meditating time, some relationship stories, etc. In my case the “dread feeling” is really that I am actually running out of time.

    I have little time during the day in which I feel well enough to do anything and I have to chose how I want to spend that time. And I have plenty of days where I don’t even get that time.

    Still there would be nothing lost if I started chronicling my life events in small episodes and never finished. Is an autobiography ever completely finished to the point of telling everything about yourself? The point here is just to get a taste of some of the things I have experienced in my life and how I chose to look at them.

    In your case Dale, I think your dread is worse than mine for you are setting an absolutely impossible task for yourself. As I said above you could never tell us everything about your life: you couldn’t even do that for one day if you really think about it. Could you tell us all you did, experienced, thought, etc.? I think “everything” may be a bit much and it is part of your creative task to convey as much as possible without if becoming an overwhelming Sisyphustic task.

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