There are so many lives packed into one. The one life we think we know is only the window that is open on the screen. The big window full of detail, where the meaning is often lost among the facts. If we can close that window, on purpose or by chance, what we find behind is another view.
The window is emptier. The cross-references are cryptic. As we scroll down it, looking for something familiar, we seem to be scrolling into another self – one we recognize but cannot place. The co-ordinates are missing, or the co-ordinates pinpoint us outside the limits of our existence.
If we move further back, through a smaller window that is really a gateway, there is less and less to measure ourselves by. We are coming into a dark region. A single word might appear. An icon. This icon is a private Madonna, a guide, an understanding. Very often we remember it from dreams. “Yes,” we say. “Yes this is a world. I have been here.” It comes back to us like a scent from childhood. …
We are our own oral history. A living memoir in time.
Time is downloaded into our bodies. We contain it. Not only time past and time future, but time without end. We think of ourselves as close and finite, when we are multiple and infinite.
This life, the one we know, stands in the sun. It is our daytime and the stars and planets that surround it cannot be seen. The sense of other lives, still our own, is clearer to us in the darkness of night or in our dreams. Sometimes a total eclipse shows us in the day what we cannot usually see for ourselves. As our sun darkens, other brilliancies appear. And there is the strange illusion of looking over our shoulder and seeing the sun racing towards us at two thousand miles an hour.
What is it that follows me wherever I go?
~ Jeanette Winterson, The Power Book