Off on holiday tomorrow. Last-minute preparations keeps this short, a single, if meandering, thought. I have mentioned packing (mostly loading onto my e-reader, for purposes of space economy) many books to feed my gluttonous vacation-time reading habits. One of these will be Jeanette Winterson’s latest novel Frankissstein: A Love Story.
I read Winterson’s 1989 novel Sexing the Cherry years ago, an extraordinary weaving of pilgrimage, magical realism, fairy tale, and fictionalised history at a time of huge social and political upheaval (in mid-17th century England). It contains a quote from the philosophical character Jordan: “Every journey conceals another journey within its lines: the path not taken and the forgotten angle.” Or, for every choice that we make in life, there is the journey, the road, we did not take.
It reminds me of the theories in Physics that suggest every choice we make hatches an alternative universe. As Rowan Hooper puts it in his New Science article ‘Multiverse me: Should I care about my other selves?’:
“…every decision I take in this world creates new universes: one for each and every choice I could possibly make. There’s a boundless collection of parallel worlds, full of innumerable near-copies of me (and you). The multiverse: an endless succession of what-ifs.”
It could bend your mind, just thinking about it.
Let go, we’re so often advised, don’t dwell on what might have been. But if we do settle there a while, in What-might-have-been Land, in one of these ‘Multiverses’, what stories might we find?
Hooper, R. ‘Multiverse me: Should I care about my other selves?’ in New Science, 24 September 2014, retrieved 30 July 2019.
Photo Foggy Landscape, Liam Gant.