“The end is where we start from.” T.S. Eliot Little Gidding
As a writer of fiction I am invested in the belief that time travel is possible.
Going backward or forward—or any combination of actions—in story telling is critical to engage the reader. But time can also be an abstraction, even if it is an anchor to the most important moments of our lives.
I first became aware of the effervescence of time while dozing in the front row of a London theatre. My late mother, at my side, also doing a head-nod—after a too heavy English dinner—was equally unimpressed by the play being performed two feet in front of us.
Copenhagen by Michael Frayn had won a Tony and was the hot ticket that year. Unfortunately a discourse on quantum mechanics was too much after a long day of visiting with Mom’s old friends.
Embarrassed? Yes. So I bought the script and continued my examination of time. Reading In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat was also sleep inducing, but the thought of something (a cat in this example) existing in two different states of existence at the same time was more than an interesting time bending story, and, I was already down the rabbit hole. (Illustration above by Lisbeth Zwerger for a special edition of Alice in Wonderland )
Of course, time travel and the notion of other levels of existence have been around for a long time. More reading for me here: brain pickings.
And it continues…. the movie Arrival is another tour de force on the subject.
“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do” – Steve Jobs
The meeting on Monday was attended by seven little people.
Grumpy requested an add to staff; he wanted to have Serious join the group. Sneezy sneezed. Bashful turned red. Happy was looking out the window and not listening. Sleepy jerked to attention, adjusting his Ray-Bans. Dopey, raising his hand, wanted to know why we were meeting on a Sunday. Doc rationalized the addition. He was all for Serious, but only if we would hire his friend Curious. The idea of adding Serious and Curious at the same time was intriguing.
I called HR and had the requisition forms filled out. “Curious’ name sounds very familiar, she might have worked here before the last big layoff,” said HR. I told HR: “Serious will have to bring a megaphone to the office. Part of his job description will be to stand on his desk, position the megaphone to face the cubicles, and shout Focus every forty-five minutes. We should never have fired Focus.”
Focus had been fired four years ago, he was missed at the end of the day when bits of ideas were lost. He was missed when the pile of books started and not finished were ankle deep. He was especially missed when the paints were not used or had dried on a few brushes.
Now he would be able to be called with Efficiency (scratch that, Efficiency had been fired too—the very same week). “We really don’t have enough in the budget to go out and look for Focus; the number of incentives and perks he would require will be enormous. He may have moved to some Nordic country where he is more loved. Who would blame him?” HR said.
The question remains: will we find Focus by just shouting his name?
Here are some tips from today’s Writer Unboxed
If we steal time the watching never ends.
If we lose time the searching unearths the past.
If we make time the inventing stretches science.
But when we find time the discovery reveals a gift, always there to take.
B LeFlore ’09
Writing takes time. Everyone has a routine to make their words take shape on a blank page. My routine while writing The Last Daughter of Elizabeth Light was to carve out three hours a day, sometimes three would turn into six (that was a really good day). I would edit what I wrote the day before first to get back into my characters life. I was lucky that there were many days they often took off ahead of me and I had to chase them as fast as I could type.