Time games

Once again I’m reminded of how time changes – or seems to change – according to our own moods, obsessions, activities, interests. When we’re absorbed in something, time can even disappear.

This time last year I was working on a rewrite of “Shepherd in Residence”. Publication? A dream, a hope for someday, but only that.

In April Laurence Steven at Scrivener Press emailed me that he’d like to see the manuscript when it was done. He’d seen a bit of it because he’d approved me for a grant through the Writer’s Reserve programme of the Ontario Arts Council. In May I finished the rewrite and sent it to him. In August he emailed again to say he’d like to publish it in April.

My sister Carla said, when I told her, that spring seemed a long time away. It’s actually lightspeed in the publishing industry. (Erik the Viking Sheep took two years from acceptance to publication.) Even so, I also felt like it was going to be an almost unbearably long wait.

In the last couple of months, however, time has collapsed and moved very, very fast. In about six weeks I’ll be the guest author at Stories in the North. Where did all those months of available prep time go? Yikes! I’ve been working on publicity ideas and workshop plans, and it seemed like I had all kinds of time. Now it’s all upon me.

One place where time has refused to compress is between now and April 5th, when I will actually get my hands on the real copies of the published book. How does that happen, that months can zip by and a single week drag its feet like it’s still wearing its winter boots?

What helps is working on the bookplate design for people who can’t make it to where I am to have their copies autographed. It’s a hopeful sort of a project, because it means I actually believe I’ll need to distribute the things. I’m also enjoying it. I just recently had a logo to do for a friend, and the drawing-and-painting bug has got me again. It’s a pleasant distraction; also, when I’m doing art, time disappears.

I’m taking particular notice of how time works right now because I know how easy it is to forget experiences and how they feel in the body. I want to remember this so that when some character of mine has to wait for something, I’ll know how she feels, what’s going through her mind, how hard it is to keep her patience, how her body reacts. What happens to us in real life is always grist to the mill of a writer. The trick is to pay attention to it so you can recall and recreate it afterwards.

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3 Responses to Time games

  1. Time evaporates even faster as you get older, too! I like that you are drawing on your experience for future reference. 🙂

  2. Congrats on your publication!!

  3. ecreith says:

    There’s a theory that we measure time in terms of our own elapsed lifespan, which is why we perceive it as moving faster as we age. It makes sense to me – I don’t know if it’s true.

    Having a book come out is SO exciting! You’d think, after the number of articles and stories I’ve had published, that publication would be no big thing, but I don’t think that thrill ever gets old.

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