The universe is made of stories, not atoms.

This blog title is from a quote by one Roger Penrose in one The Emperor’s New Mind (chapter ten). But this post is not about any of those things.

In the spring of 2006 I went through what might be called a rough patch. It felt like everything around me was in flux and, in terms of goals or even focus, I felt adrift. I didn’t know what I wanted let alone how to get it. When I feel like that, I usually write. Poems, mostly.

On April 2, 2006 I wrote a list poem of all of the things I wanted. I added to it periodically, but the core list was from around that time. By the time a month or two had passed the list was finalized. My wants, as delineated on that list, ranged from the prosaic (wanting to be on staff for my college’s literary magazine and winning one of the English Department’s writing contests) to the more esoteric (one day having a dog named Azrial or Rose) to the completely random (getting to a dentist).

The list has 73 items. As time passed, I would continually go back to the poem and mark off items that had been completed. To date 52 items have been completed. That’s a little over 71%, even counting esoteric things that will never happen. And that isn’t too bad.

I never delete my poems, but this one I will. Because its work is done. I don’t know anything about Roger Penrose, but I think he’s right. Maybe the universe isn’t made of stories per se, maybe it’s made of lists. Maybe the universe does listen to all of our wants and hopes. Maybe that’s the first step to actually getting what we want.

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