I have previously published the prologue to my novel on his blog, but as I have now achieved my word count target I thought I would celebrate by sharing with you an expanded version of the prologue. Let me know what you think.
The Paisley Soul of a Stricken Man (Warning may contain time-travel)
Take a look around my room, it looks pretty ordinary doesn’t it. A television in the corner, a games console that has already become obsolete and above the fireplace there is a big photograph of some children and a smiling happy couple. One half of that couple used to be me (sort of) because at the same time he was never really me at all. The smiling little twins are my children but also never really were nor will they ever be my children.
No, nothing is as it seems. Everything is smoke and mirrors and a trick of the light. What you see is not always what you get and what you want is always further away than you might expect.
On the far wall is a massive poster of Che Guevara, one corner is peeling away from the wall and obscuring his face. I can’t even remember why we bought the thing, it looked cool when we were at the market, but I know next to nothing about what Guevara stood for or whether what he did was right. I have always felt an odd unease about this sort of thing; for the sake of trendy art is it ok to have a borderline dictator on your wall? If he was a dictator that is, as I said I don’t know anything about him and I suppose it’s all about whose perspective you are taking. Winston Churchill apparently once said that “history is written by the victors” and I suppose that’s true. It doesn’t make it right but it is true. The juxtaposition between art and war is one of those grey areas isn’t it? The story of my whole life to date is a bit of a grey area to be honest.
All in all this is a pretty ordinary room, full of pretty ordinary stuff and in most circumstances this stuff would make me pretty extraordinarily happy. I always seem to linger in rooms these days, looking at dusty old shelves, regarding books I have read countless times. I approach the top row of books and take one down, The Time Machine by HG Wells. One of my favourite books growing up. I always found the ending hard to understand when I was younger. I wanted a resolution neatly wrapped in a bow, but Wells doesn’t let you know what happens to the time-traveller; he goes on one last journey and three years later he has still not returned. I grew to appreciate that sort of literary ambiguity as I grew older but there is something still within me that always craves resolutions, absolutes and definitive endings. I need to know what happens next, need to be sure of what is happening to those I love. So now, like the time-traveller, I spend time thinking about the results of my actions and I spend hours in empty rooms and corridors contemplating my next move and forever regretting what I have to do.
My name is Edgar Choudhury and people say they don’t have regrets! But I think that everyone has regrets and things they would desperately change if they could, just because you don’t catagorise something as a regret doesn’t mean that it isn’t one. If something happens that you can do nothing about, don’t you regret the demise of what might have been?
I believe in making decisions and commitments and following through with them, no matter the outcome. Surely that’s the only road to meaningfulness. Sometimes you do things and it turns out terribly but at least you tried, you put yourself up in the firing line, you gave it a go with honest intentions.
That’s what I believe anyway. That’s why when I was given the chance to change the one thing that I truly regretted, or wish I could have changed about my life, I took it whole heartedly.
After all it’s not everyday you get the chance to travel back in time to meet your deceased grandfather and try to prevent his death from ever happening in the first place.
Copyright John de Gruyther 2014