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Scottish Fleet Cardigan: Week 1 – 31 August

When I am listed in Who’s Who—and, like me, you may be wondering why it’s taking so long—I shall include among my hobbies coming up with ideas for novels I will never write. (To quote Futurama: what do I look like, a guy who’s not lazy?) Some of these ideas have been in my mind so long I’m surprised no one else has snapped them up yet—disappointed, too, as I keep hoping I could sue them for plagiarising my subconscious. Anyway, here’s one example. We all know the many-worlds theory of quantum wossnames, the idea that every time you make a choice a new universe buds off from our own, a new timeline; in other words, there are millions of universes in which everything that could possibly happen, happens.

Facing the Sun

Somewhere out there in the multiverse is a me who won the lottery, who didn’t tell that joke during that job interview. Equally, there will be thousands of luckless mes, literally there but for the grace of God; the Salieris to my Mozarts. Well, so what, you ask? This has been a cliche of Star Trek since Captain Kirk first donned a corset. But what, I thought, if none of those choices mattered: what if things fell out so that no matter what choices I made, I still ended up the same me in the same place? What if I won the lottery, but lost the ticket? What if I hadn’t told that joke during the interview and got the job, only to find they were a front for evil satanic chicken-worshippers? In my story, a murder mystery, I’d start off right after the crime with one narrative strand, which a choice would branch into two, then four, and so on until I had a dozen or more alternatives going in alternating chapters, branching off from the main trunk of story like, well, branches… 

Colourful creels

Actually, branches and trees are rather on my mind just now, owing to my current project. I’ll talk more about it next week, when you will hopefully be able to see it more clearly. I’ve called it “Scottish Fleet”, as the patterns are recorded there, but I think of it as my Homophone Gansey: a combination of the trees from Mrs Laidlaw of Eyemouth’s pattern and the ornate cables from Mrs Laidler of Whitby. These are two of my all-time favourites, and by combining them I hope to get the best of both worlds. It’s another cardigan, another gift, and is knit in Frangipani Moonlight (which goes with my hair, what there is left of it…).

In parish notices, it’s time to unveil another project from Judit. This one is uses different colours, and is inspired by the Colourstrings music teaching method for young people, a very worthy cause. Coming to this jumper after living in ganseydom for so long I feel like Dorothy waking up in a technicolour Oz and wondering who I have to kill to get a pair of slippers. Many congratulations once again to Judit, and I now know what to do with all this leftover guernsey yarn I’ve been accumulating.

Waves on the shore

As for my story, I’d resolve it by gradually bringing all the plot strands back together, showing how all roads literally lead to the same present moment. (Or, in the words of TS Eliot, “What might have been and what has been/ Point to one end, which is always present.”) The murderer would still be caught. In the end, in every universe, I am always me, which is both a source of discouragement and consolation. We are all where we’re supposed to be. And, having gone to all this trouble of plotting it out, I suppose I could actually write the damn novel; but then, what do I look like (in every version of the multiverse), a guy who’s not lazy…?

9 comments to Scottish Fleet Cardigan: Week 1 – 31 August

  • Judit M./Finland

    Hello Gordon and many thanks for showing my Colourstrings gansey. Hope to see your rainbow gansey soon.
    Best regards from Finland !

  • I’m all for you writing another book, as I’ve enjoyed those you have written in the past–but as a time travel fan, I have to poke holes in your premise. If, for example, you got that job, it would have affected everyone else, especially the one who would have gotten the job if you didn’t– so how can their outcome remain the same? At least for a while, things would have had to be different.

    My own idea for time travel is that it is accomplished via the Amish– because who would know? The customs and attire have remained the same for centuries.

    • Gordon

      Hi Sheila, it’s my own version of the time travel paradox; But you’re right – what I need is a suite of novels to work it through for a whole range of characters. Mind you, having seen George RR Martin lose his way with his “trilogy”, maybe this one is best left on the drawing board…

  • Lynne Brock

    I already love the new gansey, the color, the full-body pattern, and the chosen patterning.

  • =Tamar

    The gansey looks good already.

    I’m not so sure about the idea. Is it fatalism? solipsism? Tricky to come up with a plot. What would you do, if you could be absolutely sure it wouldn’t change your own life circumstances one bit?

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, as I’ve got older I’ve increasingly come to see free will as an illusion, a trick our minds play on us to make us think we control our destinies; while really we are ruled by predestined cause and effect dating back to the first nanosecond of the Big Bang. Determinism I think it’s called.

      Mind you, what you describe sounds an awful lot like my life now!

      • =Tamar

        On the other hand, I have had both experiences: deja vu that was absolutely accurate years in advance, but including one that was accurate at the start but covered years, and although I couldn’t prevent the beginning, I managed to prevent the followup events so they didn’t happen. It was sort of a “this will happen but these other events are up to you.” I have also had a flash when I knew two different strings of events, and they depended on which way I turned at a traffic light. YMMV

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