“Worlds”               1 — Foreword Order / Commander
From the shortest to the longest, the stories and chronicles that make up this collection concern the paths of life.

Everyone is the arbiter of his own destiny. Politicians, religious persons, and even philosophers may disagree with me, but I believe in this freedom – the freedom through which we orient our lives. I can already see those who will challenge my affirmation and will ask me how one can speak of freedom to those who have had bad luck in their life. Even if it is cruel, it would no doubt be helpful to tell them that one has the luck one deserves. The situation of the captive will also be raised in objection, or even the despair of the tortured: where is the freedom of the oppressed? It is in their courage. To spit in the face of the executioner, or merely to despise him, to insult him within one’s own being – this is already to affirm one’s independence.

It is freedom, even more than laughter, that characterizes humanity.
On the other hand, we must not forget the mold that constrains our lives and marks the limits of this freedom. Certainly, our universe opens wide the three dimensions where our free will plays itself out to the full extent. Yet the universe sets our course in the pathway of the fourth dimension, by which we are constrained. One can change direction, retrace one’s steps, surmount an obstacle. But one can never cancel the action one has just taken: Time, inexorably, beats the rhythm of our steps. It is the master of the game.

 
In most card games, there is a joker.  In the theater of our lives, we also have one which, if we know how to use it, will grant us one or more victories over the cruel director of our destiny.  This joker is love.  When we give ourselves to it, love organizes our escape and lets us leave this universe where time would like to circumscribe us. 

Time and Love are the two protagonists of this collection.  You will see them confronting one another in characters placed between them, and, just as it was for me in bringing these characters to life, you will surely see neither victor nor vanquished.  This no doubt means that even for the master of the game, the one who always has the last word, the triumphs are only Pyrrhic victories.

Thus, even when the dust of our lives has disappeared, the light of our loves remains as that eternal glow which, even if we no longer exist, attests that somewhere in space-time, those who have loved are always alive.

Gilles Clavel
Long Beach, California – June 2014

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