As an English major in college, I became fond of Norton Critical Editions. For books like Tristram Shandy, the critical remarks became more than an aid to understanding; they became an addiction.
It struck me one day that it might be convenient if life had a critical edition. Footnotes (or endnotes, I’m really not picky) would make things all the more navigable. In those moments of indecision, we could check a critical article at the back, or perhaps browse through the endnotes, hoping to find something of help.
In the end, we create our own critical editions. Looking back over life, our myopia corrected through experience, we whisper to our younger selves, “This moment is really not as critical as the pain makes it seem,” and “This appears insignificant; it’s not.” We compile the notes and hope for the best in future situations.
In high school, or in college, I would have given a great deal for such notes. I would not now. The price I paid then (and after) was and is too dear.
It occurs to me, though, that one might create the critical edition to one’s life in the now. Write the footnotes on the fly, so to speak. And it occurs to me, given the momentous decision I’ve been putting off for years, that now might be a good time to begin writing it.
I start this site on Christmas Eve somewhat by accident, but perhaps hoping it’s something more. Christmas represents the start of a new era for Christians. It was when a savoir entered in the most inconspicuous of ways and rewrote the rules about how humans relate to God and to each other.
That’s what Christians believe, but I don’t. And that makes me a non-Christian. An atheist on some days, an agnostic on others.
But on some days, I want to believe.