“The unexamined life is not worth living,” said Plato. I don’t know if that’s true in every case, since I’ve known people who have said they've never questioned who they are or why they do the things they do, and they seem to be quite content living their lives this way. But, for whatever reasons (and this is something I hope to discover through the process of writing my memoir), I've been examining my life for most of my life.
The examined life is a narrative, and the narrative form of my story comprises a beginning, a middle and an end.. Each part is distinct from the others, and each is associated with a period of time, with different people and with different places. There are also discrete stages of the protagonist’s development, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Thus, it has made sense to me to write it in three parts.
My life still feels like a work-in-progress. I have always sensed that, in the end, it should complete a circle, with all the questions from the beginning answered and all the deepest desires fulfilled – or, if not fulfilled, then transformed into what lies beyond the desire, what has been hidden from me by desire. I’m hoping that in the end the story will come together as it should and that my timing will be just right. If time runs out before the story is told, it will be a tragedy – but then, such tragedies are common.
I’ll be writing all three parts discursively, weaving among them as they inform one another. The closer the story comes to the end, the more the preceding parts will become relevant to the denouement. The essential facts of the story will not change, but their relationship to the whole certainly may as new memories surface and new insights are gained. Each part will be edited and re-edited until there’s nothing left to change – or until time runs out.
No one has ever known me deeply, nor accompanied me on my path, so I am not writing with anyone in mind but myself. Therefore, the greatest benefit in the writing of my narrative will be to me. But I hope that the writing of my memoir will encourage a few others (and I don’t imagine there will ever be more than a few) to examine their own lives and discover the truths that lie hidden in their own experiences. Ultimately, what is most important is to reach the goal of having lived a life that was worth living.