By Rémi Dubot (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Fight with a Clock and Reality

At first glance, it was nothing special.  An open floor space of living room, dining area, and kitchen shared a floor of burnt orange Tuscany tiles; a wall of windows covered in cloth beige blinds smudged the room’s colors with filtered sunlight.  A worn area carpet covered the majority of the living space, tufts of cat hair unevenly adorned the geometric patterns of maroon, blue, and shades of tan and brown.  A rustic wooden chest that served as a coffee table was covered in the mundane piles that accumulate when long days at work strain shoulders and and weaken backs: a pile of bills unpaid, a crumpled napkin, a magazine untouched for months, and a plate and fork abandoned.  In this dull setting, the hum of a distant refrigerator and the meticulous ticking of a clock lingered just outside the temporary force field she had developed around the perimeter of her zero-gravity chair.

On her knees, a piece of technological wonder balanced beneath her quick fingers – their stodgy dance establishing a dominance across the MacBook Pro’s keyboard.  This time-machine could envelope its owner in a temporary gap, folding a very small fraction of the fabric of time and space, and permitting a person to cease from the present existence.  The field enveloped her, blocked cares and concerns about schedules and obligations as she poured alternate realities onto a screen.  Like Alice and her mirror, the Time Avoider yearned to escape into the black and white world displayed on the flat screen, the curves and sharp points of the letters beckoning her even as the chill of the room crept around her cone of separation.  A purr erupted from the land of the dinner table as her work phone signaled a meeting reminder.  Defeated, she pulled the screen shut, the transparent panel simultaneously dropping to the floor, ushering in the sound of car tires on gravel, birdsong from the front yard trees, and the incessant poking of the ticking clock – bullying her to the shower and then to work.

Stagecoach Shootout Prelude: NaNoWriMo BotD (24)

“Right.  Anyway, Nog knows the plans, both this one an’ the contingency plan.  If they come at us this way, he knows t’ scuttle the coach.”  He could tell this confused both Terra and Tboi.  “He’ll derail us, so you’ll have t’ make sure yer strapped in on my signal.  Otherwise, Tboi here will be too busy cleaning yer bloody carcasses off an’ trying to heal ya’ to figure out how t’ aim a weapon.”

Ingrid drummed her fingers on the coach wall in irritation and he took the hint, but before he could continue, Terra asked, “If we derail, how will we get away or get to the Depot?”

Participant-2014-Square-Button

“No get away,” hummed R’Zen.  “Must kill all or else.”

 


Tune in for quick reads of the best (or least despicable) selections from the previous day’s word count, by virtue of my daily writing regimen for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  WARNING:  editing has not taken place.

The Matterhorn Gentry – R’Zen: NaNoWriMo Best of the Daily (23)

“R’Zen,” said Miriam, “Be nice.  She is the product of Ancestrian teaching, but you will find her a very brave and gifted individual.  Give her a chance.” Terra squirmed and continued to weigh her options.

“N’sa,” he hissed with a soft humming, “what difference between Ancestrian and individual?”

Miriam opened her mouth to speak, but Terra beat her to it.  “Individuals can think what they want,” she stuttered as she dropped onto the bench, and purposely scooted as close as his large frame would allow comfortably.  Her defiant look hadn’t quite made it to his eyes yet; she remembered the flicker of orange that surprised her the first time she’d caught a glimpse of his reptilian face upon entering the coach.

A deep rumble churned from his chest and rolled out as a slow laugh that sounded to Terra like he was having a coughing fit while humming.  “Your heart beats pound at me with rapid pace, N’sa.  When finally you meet me, I count you brave as Miriam says.  But you make laughs – so silly.”  His tongue slithered outside the rounded tip of his mouth/nose as he said these last two words, it curled casually upward and then withdrew back into his mouth.  Terra noticed the scales at the edges of his mouth pull upwards as his jaw muscles beneath formed what looked like a smirk.

Participant-2014-Square-Button

 


Tune in for quick reads of the best (or least despicable) selections from the previous day’s word count, by virtue of my daily writing regimen for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  WARNING:  editing has not taken place.

Time: NaNoWriMo Best of the Daily (22)

Baker’s Dozen took an entire day to traverse and although the light of Kepler, the red dwarf sun, still shone on this last of the solar week.  All three seated in this compartment knew the time of day.  Tboi knew, just as all Lorgose knew, because of their uncanny connection to the planet and its stages.  R’Zen knew by virtue of his third eye, his parietal eye, a biological feature of his alien kind, detecting even the slightest differences in light – and he was able to quickly regulate this sensitivity to the lumen cycles of any world he visited.  Bishop Patel knew because of the antique pocket watch he carried.  “It’s got 21 jewels,” he bragged whenever anyone asked him to show it off.  He wound it daily – just three twists – and calibrated it regularly with the pawns of the Planetary Time Counsel or with his friends like R’Zen or Tboi.

Participant-2014-Square-Button

 


Tune in for quick reads of the best (or least despicable) selections from the previous day’s word count, by virtue of my daily writing regimen for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  WARNING:  editing has not taken place.

TimeKeeper

Old Town Square, Prague 06

on this day is a morning
of similar build
to a stretch and a coffee - 
my grogginess killed.

in the clock is an hour hand,
outstretched to no one,
pushing obstacles at me - 
wainscoting the sun.

i could write of a hero, 
a "save-the-day" sort,
fighting hand-to-hand combat;
i'd level the court.

with a name like "Time Stopper,"
"Time Keeper" perhaps,
she would introduce friction
to Time's brutal laps.

wash those lines above!
i shall name her "Love."

Stale Mate Pleading

You iron neck-clasper. 
You heart-thumping tasker.
Indifferent to yearning,
your constant page turning
gives no pause for rest - 
just unending test.

Tick off, Time! You bat out of hell;
You thoughtless vulgarity
trolling the bell!

Be gone, Time! And leave us to dwell
in transparent void fabric,
fondling the quell.

Cease fire, Time! The war to a close,
a permanent armistice, 
"little while" froze.

Yet now we are stalling
our possibles lulling.
This present now lasting
our longing now fasting.
This moment relates 
no past/future fates.

Noble Time, be our friend.
Slow your tock, physics bend.
Give us hum, Beating Drum.
Let us dance to your strum.
Change your race to a walk;
feel the sun; have a talk.

Whisper sweet nothings into our ears -
find adoration stroking your years.


I wanted to capture how we have such a love-hate relationship with time.  We stress over deadlines and regret how much it takes from us in the form of moments we wish we could spend cherishing a little longer.  Yet we need it to appreciate moments, to strive for better moments; and we wouldn’t seek to improve the quality of our time if we were trapped in a vacuum … even if that bubble was a “time-loop” that let us enjoy the best memory or most enjoyable time we’ve ever had.  Then there’s the traditional fear of “what am I missing, being caught up in this cycle of sleep, work, home, sleep, work, home.

Get this!  I went looking for a picture or a video that could symbolize this stream of thought and I found better!  Jazz is the perfect music to capture this thread.  And the artists that put Maurice Brown’s video together present this point perfectly!  Enjoy!

 

Maurice Brown “Time Tick Tock” from RESONANT PICTURES on Vimeo.

Time Taffy Pull

Old Town Square, Prague 06

come some slipping down time
tick kicking my mind
with tipping tock bind
to little brittle life grime

says to me, "get on the ball
with your crackle of fall
crumpled up memory, small
no more puttings in there, doll."

too much slice of that there
holds me from my large all
locks me in duty square
slugs me with my all

no ground, fly and do 
no hush, rush to get done
so much, counting on you

time not only doesn't wait
it pulls sinews like taffy,
strings hopes to a line 
where they stiffen 
and start to smell moldy

Alter-me

Open bags of chocolate mock my gurgling stomach.  The heater, a cheap little job that the landlord anchored right next to an uninsulated glass patio door, does its best to keep it’s little corner warm while the warped plastic blinds usher the cold toward its thermostat.  Another cheap addition to this little rent house, the blinds provide privacy for approximately one square foot  in this room.  Otherwise, they sprinkle the cold tile floor with light during the day, and reveal murky shadows and distant headlights at night.

I turn off the Margaret Atwood collection I’m listening to as I surf the net.  I think I have an idea of her style now, but still not sure I like it.  The one about the duchess poem is interesting but somehow, unfulfilling.  What a letdown this day has been.  In an hour I’ll need to start packing, but of course, I won’t.  Instead, I’ll be up most the night doing laundry I should have done earlier, reading things I can’t put down, and drumming up story ideas in my mind that I’ll fail to write, and eventually forget.  I suppose a story idea is like a fish of keeping-size to a writer, and should never be let off the hook.  I’m not sure if I’m lazy or just resigned to the futility I feel about it all.

I’m not completely fatalistic.  I have been taking steps, you know.  I’m reading “in bulk” now.  Restricted myself to only two nights a week with my old pal, Netflix.  Took an online course on “Advanced Fiction Writing,” and actually learned a few things.  Learned a few tricks, more like.  And I have experienced the satisfaction of another “final exam” victory.  Didn’t think I’d have that fun ever again.  Today I actually signed up for another class – “The Craft of Magazine Writing.”  It hasn’t even started and I learned that I can write an article  about something without being an expert on it.  Funny how I knew that already from reading articles, but didn’t spell it out in my head until I read it in the course introduction.

So what’s the big damn deal?  It’s this nagging alter-ego – “alter-me” I call it, that keeps whimpering around my shoulders that I’m already getting old.  “Note the frequent heartburn and faster pacing to the bathroom.” it taunts, “You can’t even remember ‘its’ versus ‘it’s’ without checking every other week.”  I wish this menace were corporeal so I could just reach around and strangle it.  But alas, it’s a fragment of me.  Only not me.  I’m going to make this writing lifestyle work.  I have skills; I’m brilliant; and I have a partner who reminds me of this (in different words) all the time.  I’m at a time and place, in my life and geographically, that appears to be primed to make this happen.

So why am I letting this bitch – “self-doubt” get to me?  It’s just a matter of time.  And it suddenly becomes clear.  There’s the rub.  It IS just a matter of time.  I’ve never been good with time.  Waiting for it frustrates me and missing it depresses me.  “The moment” is not my forte.  I write best in present tense, but I sure don’t live it well.  My transformation from a workaholic in the youth work world to a freelance writer with a novel in my back pocket isn’t scheduled to happen until January 2015 at the earliest … March 2015 at the latest.  All efforts to make progress toward being published, even just “token” published, are slow-going.  I don’t like slow.  Visions of cancer, or heart issues, or some other crazy thing popping up and preventing this dream, niggle at my subconscious.  In turn, my alter-me is generated and promotes the negativity campaign on a regular basis.

I feed it chocolate and keep writing.

Time Ride (Oct 1999)

wear out the ever present smiles
tick the talks of past, feelings, and desires
stretch this new found love across the miles
and see if our wanting one another tires.

The Passage of Time

The Passage of Time (Photo credit: ToniVC)

Doom Pie

Some say wisdom is a product of time.  But I say it comes from eating pie.  It wasn’t a dark and stormy night, it wasn’t a rainy day in New York.  It was a typical day at the office and then she walked in.  My nemesis.  My creamy tan skinned, soft in the cuddly places, hard in the rest, dreamy eyed brainiac with a voice that made me want to whisper.  My type.  Only my internal history book was flipping madly through pages to try and remind me that this was just a cruel deja vu.  Fact is, I already had a someone else and it wasn’t her.  Besides, I wasn’t her type.  Or was I?  STOP!  That’s what I’m talking about.  The winds of fortune had emptied the pantry and assembled another round of ingredients for “Stupid Decision” Doom Pie.

Now scratch that.  Fast Forward.  That went down about 50 years ago (subtract 40 to get the years in real time).  Just goes to show you what a nice mixture of pain, euphoria, experience, and yes – time, can do for a fool.  Turns an ignoramus into a stable pillar of reliability.  If you don’t believe me, ask my other half.  I mean it.  I’m 40 years old now and I’m a damn pillar.

I’m not much of a cook, but I can bake with the best of them. Doom Pie is something I was good at in my younger years.  And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.  The very wise and learned folks, the ones that people seek to have as mentors and look to for guidance?  They’ve usually had their share of Doom Pies.  Some had the “Spoke Too Soon” variety.  Then there’s the “One Too Many Lies” kind.  The “Made a Promise My Heart Can’t Keep” Doom Pies are very bitter; the “Proud and Boastful” kind usually ends up in your face.

Personally, my least favorite is the “Stupid Decision” flavor.  I have heartburn for years after one of those.  They start with a delicious drop of sugar that tempts and tantalizes. It may be the dollar you just saw your fellow Earthling drop, or the smell  that wafts your way as she passes by and, like a fish to the hook, you bite.  Then there’s a fleeting creamy sweetness that slides over you and makes you think you’ve been awarded first prize at the bake sale and contest.  But before you can swallow you’re sunk.  What was tasty becomes sour; what was smooth becomes full of gristle and tiny hairs of unknown origin.  Your character is tarnished.  Hearts become broken; people take sides.  Precious time passes and you have nothing to show for it but a lesson.  A valuable lesson.  Is a lesson just as valuable when you have to repeat it several times?  I think not.

But I digress.  Lock a person into a vacuum and let time pass and you won’t have a more wise being when you loose the gates. People don’t have grey hair because of time, although its a small factor.  Pie takes place over time.  And Pie cultivates wisdom.  To put it mathematically:

Pi over T = Wisdom