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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Time's Mysterious Flow: Poetry, Fiction, and Hummingbirds.

When you spend most of your life in midair, how do you travel through time differently than someone does when spending your time seated among a throng of thoughts?

Most of my days and nights are spent sitting and thinking. It must look like an odd life to a hummingbird. Like a sloth of some upright kind. But I think time moves faster for me than the hummingbird, who dives to the feeder and pokes a tongue into the sugar water while I pause, spinning in his blur of wings, both of us suspended in differing flows of time.

His life is short. Mine seems endless. Some of my mornings are arranged by a muse who is a conductor of time and coincidence. Who makes me turn my head at the moment the hummingbird swoops into view.

I'm thinking today of my brother's surgery, which is going on right now. I'm also thinking of how  each petal fell from the bouquets that filled the house a week ago for my birthday. I felt each one's soft thud on the table. I'm still feathered with good wishes, but the whir of anxiety rises. Time keeps us frozen in an illusion of separation, but only if we think of it as a forward progression. It may not be.

That's why time-travel interests me, and why I chose to set the story in my novel The Renaissance Club in sudden shifts in time, in the attendant meetings and connections that are possible if time flows in all directions at once.

We often meet in the etheric space of memory, those who are present to me and those who aren't.  Einstein's theory says time is an illusion. So do the Vedas and Buddhists. Poets, of course, already know about time's mysteriously directionless flow. We hover in our memories and sip the nectar of possibilities. We are always hovering. In my book, the main character must choose a century to remain static in. I, the author, never have to choose because there's always another book, poem, or way of looking at my own story.

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