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Writing an Autobiography as Life's Journey Writing an Autobiography as Life's Journey
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2017-11-30 08:41:22
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Dante meditating on the journey of his life

“Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
Mi ritrovai in una selva oscura…”

[In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself in a dark wood…”]
                                                --Dante

It has been my experience over many years of writing, that the announcement of a new book and the feedback and dialogue that it usually engenders eventually proves quite invaluable and very helpful in further encouraging and inspiring its writing. The final version of the book is usually improved by the sharing and the dialogue.

If one reflects briefly on the first two verses of the Divine Comedy by Dante, one will soon notice that they begin with an autobiographical statement. Dante is, literally, in the middle of the journey of life. But take notice that he does not say “my life,” he says “our life.” What Dante is implying is that the journey can be a metaphor for life in general, the life of us all, from cradle to tomb and that ultimately the insights of his experience are also our insights.

They say that sooner or later, every writer will write an autobiography interpreted as a journey of sort. One can cite innumerable examples from world literature, beginning with Homer’s Odyssey.

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My grandparents and my father in New York  in 1914

Well, here is the announcement: I am in the process of writing an autobiography tentatively titled An Immigrant’s Journey. A fragment already exists in Ovi in an essay titled “The Immigrant Saga of an Italian-American family.” (see: http://www.ovimagazine.com/art/7338).

This life’s reflection, however, will begin at dawn (birth) and proceed to early morning, late morning, early afternoon, early evening, late evening, sunset. When the darkness arrives, of course, there is no more light and no more writing; perhaps there is a Renaissance or a rebirth, or a return to the light if you will. Some of us believe in resurrections.

That is to say, this particular legacy left to my children and grandchildren, will encompass my whole life, such as it is, at least up to this point. What did originally motivate the move? The answer is still tentative, but the question that will need to be settled by the end of the book is this: has my life been a successful journey toward some worthy penultimate and ultimate goals and purposes or a shipwreck or sorts, or, is it perhaps a mixture, or a synthesis of the two?

Having some of my grandchildren ask probing questions about my life in Italy, has certainly motivated me to document it before it is all lost. By that I mean memory loss which is a form of death, the death of one’s interior life. I figured that a book will answer for my children and grandchildren some of the questions I will no longer be able to answer later on as I move into the sunset of my life. I am certainly encouraged by the life of my grandfather who was lucid and coherent till the day he died at 93.

Be that as it may, I am now busy writing my autobiography in the spirit of Dante, utilizing the allegory of the sun’s journey through the duration of a day as we all see it and live it in our daily lives: early dawn (birth and infancy), rising sun (juvenile), early morning (adolescence), noon (teenager and early adulthood), early afternoon (career, family, marriage), late afternoon (writing, late career), early evening (retirement, writing, lecturing, interpreting one’s journey), sunset (bringing the curtain down).

As I reminisce and write my autobiography I have been getting the sensation of the flood of memory opening up and that a tsunami  is about to ensue. By that I mean that as I write down the events the associations between memories and events and interpretations and meaning of such events keep multiplying almost exponentially. The book should contain nive chapters but I suspect a final one will have to be added at the end containing the hermeneutical or interpretative aspect of the whole experience: that of living life and that of telling the story of one’s life.

I trust that some of you who may have been reading and enjoying some of my contributions for Ovi will eventually read the story of my life’s journey and relate to it in the Dantesque spirit of the examination of one’s life as a universal journey and a common experience ultimately aiming at the search for “l’amor che move il sole e le altre stelle” [“the love that moves the sun and the other stars”] as Dante aptly ends his Commedia.

For the moment, I simply ask for the readers’ indulgence and patience, at least for a few more weeks. Eventually the task will be completed and then I trust Ovi will publish it as an e-book. Meanwhile, be well, and good luck on your own journey of discovery.

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Check Dr Emanuel Paparella's NEW BOOK
"The Caligula Presidency: A Satirical Debunking Critique"
is online now and you can download it for FREE HERE!

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Check also Dr Emanuel Paparella's other EBOOKS
Aesthetic Theories of Great Western Philosophers
& Europe Beyond the Euro
You can download them all for FREE HERE!
 
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