Friday, August 19, 2011

Musings on The Other Life

My Books at Champagne Books

I recently read the book The Other Life by Ellen Meister. It’s a remarkable book borne of a unique ‘what if’ question—what if you could slip through a magical portal and glimpse the life you might have lived if you’d made the other choice. We all stood at a crossroads in our lives at some point and chose our future direction. It may have been one life partner over another, marriage over career or vice versa, one geographic location in which we settled as opposed to staying in the place where we grew up. Our lives unfold in a series of decisions and choices.

The book was enticing because it allows the reader to play with the question in his or her own life and imagine what that life might have been if… It certainly got me to thinking about that crossroad at which I once stood and the choices I made. Would I have become the person I am today had I followed a different path? Would my life have led me to where I am as a writer?

I honestly found myself wishing for that magic portal behind the washing machine in my own laundry room that would propel me into my alternate reality, give me a glimpse of what might have been. Would I still have become a social worker-slash-author relocated to Mississippi, or would I be a wife, mother, and grandmother married to my high school sweetheart and living in rural Pennsylvania? And if I had followed that other path, would I ever have sat down to write a book?

I can’t imagine not writing, but I know the exact moment when that spark flickered and flared into a passion for me. And I can’t say for certain it would have happened in another circumstance.

How about you? Have you ever wondered where you would be today if you’d taken that other path, lived The Other Life that at one time lay open before you?

Linda Rettstatt
2010 Author of the Year - Champagne Books


Jude Johnson said...

Actually, I am living the other life. Who I was radically changed when I began to let my writing happen and I'm afraid my other options would have led to a life far less interesting.


Big Mike said...

Yes, many times. Not about writing, that was a given with the stories dancing in my head, but so many other paths that would have drastically altered the approaching endpoint of my existence. I came to the conclusion, there is a reason, a purpose to what we do. Things are not happenstance rather by order. Course, could have been the cancer that mellowed me into that posture (g).

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year, (2008 and 2009)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...


I've imagined many other lives, all include writing or socail anthropology, but I solved the problem by giving my characters my other lives -- just as emotional -- but fewer bruises.

Linda Rettstatt said...

Jude, that's great that you see how the life you chose is the best choice.

Mike, I agree that everything has a purpose, even though we may not see it at the time.

Julie, you make a good point about how we can live that other life vicariously through our characters. I know I do.


Ellen Stucker said...

Intriguing post, Linda. I want to read the Ellen Meister book now.