Life is now*

*Eckart Tolle

Or is it?

Well folks, I am feeling like a very naughty music blogger.  I have gone off piste and have had the temerity to do some reading.  And some fiction reading at that.

Since I find it hard to listen to music while concentrating on other things at the same time – particularly reading – this has lead to a rather conspicuous absence of progress with the A-Z journey through the music on my iPhone.  But have no fear – there’s a whole load of ‘P’ stuff waiting around the corner…

So what was it that had sufficient grip to lure me away from Project LT?  Well, I implore you not to rush to switch off here, viewers – I’m not going to turn into a full-scale book reviewer overnight.  But I just had to read Kate Atkinson’s Life After LifeAs you may see from the Amazon page, this is a book which explores the concept of a character living their life over and over again until they ‘get it right’.

The various reviewers illustrate that this is a novel which invokes a wide range of responses and emotions.  I enjoyed it.  Wouldn’t we all want the chance to turn the clock back and have another go at something?  And if so, would we want to know that it was happening?  Would we want to influence events?

This is what happens in a similar book – Ken Grimwood’s Replay.  In this book, unlike that of Kate Atkinson’s, the main character dies at 43 and wakes up again in his eighteen year old body.  It is this book which is thought to have influenced the brilliant film Groundhog Day (1993).

I guess while we are on this subject I should throw in Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife.  Now, I tried to read that book about 8-10 times, bearing in mind my fascination with these time-travel ideas.  But I could not get my head around the double Henry concept.  If you have not read this book, you will have to bear with me here.  And I accept that I am probably getting a tad too serious about a frothy work of invention.  But I could really not get over the fact that young Henry aged X would know things that older Henry aged X could use when they happened to be in the same time zone together etc.

OK – perhaps I need to lighten up.  And as mad as it may seem, I need these stories to hang together within the overall belief-suspending framework that re-living one’s life could happen at all.

Fundamentally though, the most important thing about these works is their common message – the importance of enjoying the one life that we do have in the here and now.

“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.”
― Walt Whitman

I’ll welcome any thoughts about all of this that you have as usual of course.  And if you have further reading suggestions, do pass them on too – I promise to get on with some music stuff first before I get too distracted again 🙂

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13 thoughts on “Life is now*

  1. In theory I like the idea that you could live through an experience again and do it better. But how do you know what the consequences would be? A tiny change that seemed insignificant could start a chain of consequences that gradually changed everything. Suppose I dealt better with that time I broke friends with my best friend at primary school, or whatever – would that set off a sequence of tiny changes such that Mike and I never went out for a drink on 23 June 1997 and our relationship never happened? How could you change just one thing and nothing else? I haven’t read any of the books you mention but there is a Ray Bradbury short story, which I think is called A Sound Of Thunder, that I remember reading when I was 14 or 15. look it out and see why it is relevant to your blog post!

    1. I’ve just downloaded the RB story from the internet – the wonders of the modern age! You are right – a perfect fit with today’s discussion, thanks. And classic RB too of course.

  2. Time travel/thought travel. Your post is seriously eery, for yesterday morning Groundhog Day was screened on TV. I didn’t watch most of it I have to say because the rewinding of the day that seemed to be going on was upsetting me. Then this morning, our weekend newspaper has a review of Life after Life…..and then I flick to your post and what are you writing about…………..!!!!! Should I rewrite/rewind the last few days or just deal with it 🙂 Yep, I will read the newspaper book review and see if it agrees with you. Now, this hour.

  3. Ooo, I want to read ‘Replay’- that sounds like a fascinating read! I haven’t read the others, although I heard of the movie, The Time Traveler’s Wife, but I understand what you mean that although you can suspend your disbelief to a certain degree (traveling through time, or switching bodies, or whatever the premises of the book is) it still has to have some logic to it. If not, I just can’t believe the story anymore 🙂

  4. Is it possible to have multiple lives? I think anything is possible. Some even say there is evidence of different dimensions, where we live out various and diverse possibilities. I was listening to Neil deGrasse Tyson the other day when he was interviewed by Stephen Colbert – I think that you will enjoy this link.

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