The Multiverse Today
An unexpected gift of 90 minutes brings me to the page, disoriented and curious as ever. One of my favorite books of the last year, The Midnight Library, has a character, Nora Seed, who gets to live hundreds if not thousands of lives because of the quantum nature of the multiverse. She may only be in them for moments, but each life is a version of herself, had she made a different choice than in her ‘root life.’
All of this feels very plausible to me today.
This day actually began back in February, when a spirit-friend, Brad, and I finished the virtual pilgrimage to the Holy Land he had created almost out of thin air during the pandemic lockdown. The AAR call for paper-proposals came out, with one on Pilgrimages and Pandemics. Never imagining it’d be accepted, our paper was. And it’s a good paper. Then Brad tested positive, bringing me here into the Hootenanny all by myself. I urged him not to come, as choosing health over reading a paper to strangers in a room was the obvious choice. I’m still pissed off about having to be here by myself. Not at him, but at something. I haven’t come to AAR in over 8 years, for all kinds of reasons. Today it feels like walking amongst hundreds of well meaning people wasting their time while the planet groans to near extinction-level events.
The next part of this day began then this summer with an expressed interest in The Flow Game. Strands wove together to place the next online training this weekend, over Zoom. The first day of the training was this morning, 6-11 AM. It was clear I was in the right place, if still in the wrong city. I was immersed with early-adaptor types interested in transformations personal-cultural. With a trust in the mystery that’s bigger than any-all of us. I had to take the afternoon to rest, breathe.
There was then time to take the annual hours’ stroll through the Exhibitor Hall, which is a strange combination of invited possibility and guarded inevitability, marketed hospitality and never being enough. I took my time, pausing at each publisher’s booth–some huge, some small. I took photos of some interesting titles. I saw one book at Yale University Press that felt prayerful for my work, so ordered it. What used to take me hours, even days, took me about 45 minutes. I sat in an empty session room, munching the Jimmy Johns’ un-wich I’d gotten yesterday, wondering why I have to/get to be here.
Tonight, I meet up with two FW friends from my small group–a reception one is hosting in her new job, the other drove into town to meet us. We’re supposed to meet afterwards, but I’ll play it by ear.
Since yesterday, I have felt viscerally present in 1990, 1996, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016-2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.
If I weren’t here by myself, it wouldn’t feel like this. Yet I don’t feel alone or abandoned.
My multiverse, I guess.