I've never questioned whether I've been here before. With the funky mindmapping that I have, I can clearly see how who I am is a product of the interaction between my hardwiring, my environment, the hardwiring that happened as the result of that, with my free will directing the choices from the prescribed range of options available to me. (My will is only, generally, so free as the will of someone taking a multiple-choice test.)
Knowing all that, that it's all happened before and will again; knowing that my writing of rosalynde's life is crafting her that universe, and is at the same time recording what has already happened... this might be taken by some as license to slack off, to know that somewhere, someone is doing it like I want to do it.
But that's not how I work.
Giraud wondered to Ari: is there identity? Will I remember?
I don't, really, have identity with anyone but my multiplicity of selves. I had identity with one of the Roses, for a while, but she drifted off; I tracked her into the ectogenesis universe and left her there, as that was a place she could settle. It used to be that all she had was a different future than me. Now she has a different past, too...
If I wanted, I could "move in" with her. The process would likely involve extreme discomfort to those I love here, though; I'd go to sleep, and my body would remain alive, but with not very much, if anything, left inside. Her universe has a very bleak period that she lives through, in the near future. I know how her story winds up. Rather, I know how the universe gets left; she's got a Mission, and Hope, and she makes it through somehow, but it's not a pretty journey. That's the way she'd want it, though.
But I don't want her future. It holds no deep surprises for me.
...I know, that in one of the universes holding a similar version of me to this one, that I already have dated Darkside. That I never will date him. That I've never met him. That we were friends from childhood. That we are already married.
But this is the universe in which I have my selfish identity.
I don't care much about what happens in the rest of the universes; that's not really my affair to dictate, save for rosalynde. I live in this one. And I want what I want in this one.
I do not have identity with the girl who's on the phone with Darkside now. I do not have identity with the one who's broken in the corner because he just dumped her. I do not have identity with the girl who's awake feeding their baby. I have identity with me. And I selfishly want him for mine, and for me to be his, in this universe.