Write Your Own Novel in Life

By: Alexandria Riedinger

Nov 25 2010

Category: Life & Happenings

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“How can a novelist achieve atonement when, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God? There is no one, no entity or higher form that she can appeal to, or be reconciled with, or that can forgive her. There is nothing outside her.” – Ian McEwan

Upon reading this, and thinking in relations to real life, not just to the world that belongs to the novelist, but to our life, to my life, I came to see something that made me start to write. When a novelist writes a book, she is the absolute power, the absolute decision maker. Everything in the life of the characters, she directs. She chooses every single thought, every move, every action in that character’s life. She is her own God. There is nothing outside her.

Although we’ve always separated books and stories as fiction, if we look deep into this quote, is the absolute power a novelist has, any different from the power we have over our own lives? And the ability to achieve atonement, which means “Amends or reparation made for an injury or wrong,” (according to FreeDictionary.com), we can say is possible in real life if you choose to seek a higher power who can amend your wrongs. BUT, as a human, as something that I believe controls your whole life including everything in it, every decision, every thought, and every word…does that differ from the power of a novelist? We may think that we don’t have power over our lives, that we can’t control our thoughts or our actions.

But what if you were yourself, a novelist?

As someone who can write the story. As someone who can make the decisions and choose to be a certain way, have certain characteristics, beliefs, and values. Someone with the absolute power of deciding outcomes that are within her control, within her world. And to say there is no reconciliation, because she is God in her world, means that she is the only one who can amend her wrongs. The only one who can forgive herself. There is simply nothing outside her.

Think about what that means for you. In the meantime, I’m going to be enjoying my birthday/holiday and the pumpkin pie I made. Be grateful for everything you have this Thanksgiving!


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