I got the idea for Parallel Lives late one night as I was absent-mindedly surfing the internet. I was exhausted, and typed the phrase ‘I’m so tired’ into Google. As I read through the top search results, I became intrigued by the variety of responses to a shared emotional state, recognizing the results as a sort of eavesdropping on a modern zeitgeist.
I subsequently searched for the phrases “I am trying” and “I was born”; together, it seems to me that these three fragments constitute the main trajectories of human life. The narration of the piece consists solely of the top search results for these three phrases. Around the same time, I was reading the Jose Luis Borges story, “The Garden of Forking Paths,” in which all possible outcomes of an event occur simultaneously and diverge into an increasingly complex labyrinth of alternate worlds. I became interested in using the textual fragments I’d found to explore this idea.
In Tibetan Buddhist philosophy we are advised that each and every sentient being may have been our mother in a previous life. Parallel Lives considers the idea that everyone we meet may have been someone we knew – or even ourselves – in another life, and sets up three characters whose past, present and future lives interact in interesting ways through a cycle of life.