Jolly fine musings on the autobiographical art by the Lexiconiclast:
I was reading this here book about how to write your life. How to write your life retrospectively, that is. I don't bother with books about how to write your life prospectively, as I already happen to be the world's foremost authority on writing my life before it happens. (Not, mind you, in some sort of spooky prophetic time-bending sense; more in the "having imaginary conversations with absent friends/adversaries/gurus, wherein I come across all witty and bilingual and have compliant hair, in the hope that when the moment of embodied colloquy actually falls upon us [me and the friend/adversary/guru], I do not appear to have a mouth full of turnip" sense.)
I happen to indulge in the much-neglected art form of 'writing your life prospectively' quite often. Which is to say that I don't write your life prospectively*, but I do with my own. Repeatedly.
To illustrate, let me give you a few simple scenarios from my day to day life. In order to endanger the innocent, names have been kept the same and details have not been changed.
TIM GOES DOWN TO THE SHOPS TO BUY TOILET ROLLS
Munching my breakfast cereal, perhaps, I contemplate the situation as it will undoubtedly unfold. Striding down the street cheerily, I will be greeted by the sweet carolling of the birds and the cheery waves and smiles of Coburg's quaint but loveable denizens. I will nod and grin and eloquent and witty words of benediction and love will fly freely from my lips as I salute the goodly citizens while entering the shopping centre. Then, I shall walk happily to the shelves, grasp the toilet rolls, stride to the nearest checkout behind which shall stand the Goddess Aphrodite, winsomely radiating beauty and love to all who see her. There will follow a few lines of scintillating dialogue between us (the script details are to be finalised, but I can say at this point that it will be just like William Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights Dream, only better written) after which I will deposit the requisite amount of change at the counter and leave triumphantly.
Stumbling like a wretched vagabond from out of the glaring fluorescent lights of my nearest suburban shopping centre, I shall collapse exhaustedly to the ground before shrieking out in an insane delirium: "Oh GOD! NEVER LET ME GO BACK THERE AGAIN!" With upturned palms, I grasp onto the nearest object, which just happens to be a wedding guest, and I hold him with my glittering eye while relating a long catalogue of the horrors I have just experienced. (I've got the whole thing worked out except for the mere words: suffice to say that it will be similar to Dante's Inferno, only more moving, and like Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, only more imaginative.)
AS IT HAPPENED
There are one or two spots of rain as I leave my house. There's a Coburg weirdo standing in his garden doing nothing. The queues at the shopping centre are a bit long for this time in the morning. When I get to the shelf I'm not sure whether to take home brand toilet paper or something else, and spend some time musing on what my bottom would say on the matter if it could say anything. The kid at the checkout counter spends two minutes trying to cram the toilet paper into a flimsy plastic bag. I need five cents more for exact change and end up having to get the toilet paper out on Eftpos. I pick my nose absent-mindedly. The muzak they are playing on the store radio makes me feel slightly queasy.
TIM RINGS UP AUSTRALIA POST TO COMPLAIN ABOUT DELIVERY PROBLEMS
Leafing through a copy of my two-weeks old New Yorker as I lie in a relaxed manner on the couch, I envision the scene as it is definitely, absolutely and without a doubt going to unfold. After punching an easily-remembered sequence of numbers into the phone, I will almost immediately be put onto an operator to deal with my problem. The conversation will go as follows:
It's hard to believe, but the rest of the dialogue, yet to be written down, will be even wittier! After a few diplomatic jokes by me, I will make some respectful yet pointed comments and sharp observations. The operator on the other end will readily agree to my observations, and apologise for the series of ridiculous bureaucratic blunders and appalling oversights that led to this reprehensible lack of service on their part. I will happily forgive them, and look forward to a future free from the blight of magazines that are not delivered on time...
Placing the phone back on the hook, I will collapse to the floor in exhaustion and despair. I will utter no words, but the look on my eye will convey my feelings exactly: more or less the same state of mind Winston was in at the end of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, Joseph K in The Trial, (or perhaps it would be more like Bertie Wooster if Jeeves ever left him. The details are, of course, slight and unimportant.)
AS IT HAPPENED
I press several numbers into the phone. I get onto a robot voice rather than a real one. After pressing several numbers with an increasing presentiment of deja vu, I finally get put onto a real operator. We both swear at one another to see who will hang up first. I pick my nose absent-mindedly. He hangs up.
TIM COOKS A MEAL
I squint at the frying pans and sigh happily as I foresee the repast as it will unfold before me. You remember Volpone's song to Celia?
The heads of parrots, tongue of nightingales,
The brains of peacocks, and of estriches,
Shall be our food; and, could we get the phoenix,
Though nature lost her kind, she were our dish.
If thou hast wisdom, hear me, Celia.
Thy baths shall be the juice of gillyflowers,
Spirit of roses, and of violets,
The milk of unicorns, and panthers' breath
Gathered in bags, and mixed with Cretan wines.
Our drink shall be preparèd gold and amber,
Which we will take until my roof whirl round
With the vertigo; and my dwarf shall dance,
My eunuch sing, my fool make up the antic.
Whilst we, in changèd shapes, act Ovid's tales,
Thou like Europa now, and I like Jove,
Then I like Mars, and thou like Erycine;
So of the rest, till we have quite run through,
And wearied all the fables of the gods.
Well, we'll have none of that crap. My meal will actually taste good.
The ambulance rushes me to the hospital straight after the meal, and I will only be restored to life by the ministrations of forty doctors and seventy-three chefs from top-class Richmond restaurants. But it was a close thing, a very close thing.
AS IT HAPPENED
I discover I have only got two eggs and a glass of five month-old lard in the fridge with a fly in it. The eggs char but apart from that they don't taste too bad.
Biography: prospectively, retrospectively and as it happened. Which offers the most realistic and scientific representation of our life? Who can say? But I know which one I'd rather be living...
*Not until I become dictator, that is. Don't tell anyone about my plans, though. The time is not yet ripe.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
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