The Tapestry of Life

Wil Wheaton – former actor and now legitimate Internet celebrity and science and tech geek par excellence – wrote an article reflecting on a written submission he’d been asked for while he was looking for a job presenting a science show on PBS in 2006.

(How is 2006 a long time ago?  How did that happen?)

You can read Wil’s piece on his blog here.

He finishes the article with the observation that when he found the submission he was tempted to delete it – he didn’t get the job and it was a reminder of an unpleasant experience.  He didn’t, though, and says:

“I’m glad I kept it, because it’s part of the tapestry of my life.”

I can understand this sentiment, intellectually speaking.  I’ve heard people say similar things.  But the feeling behind it, I must admit, is alien to me.  There are many things in my past that, given the chance, I would delete in an instant.

This isn’t going to be a list of all things I’ve ever done that I’m ashamed of, embarrassed about or just generally wish I’d done differently – for a start the Internet just isn’t that big.  But I’ve always struggled with the ‘tapestry of life’ idea, as Wil puts it: I understand what he’s saying, and in accordance with the Different Strokes principle, I’m sure the idea works for him.

But had it been me, I’d have deleted that file without a thought.  The experience remains with me in any case, unless my mind mercifully drops it in favour of some new snippet of info.  The effect it’s had on me it’s going to have and continue to have even if I’m not actively conscious of it.

My life is a tapestry – but that’s not to say I can’t try to tug a few stitches out here and there where the needlework’s a bit shabby.  And there.  Oh, and over there.

And there.

And that one.

That piece there, yeesh…

That one…




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