Still down with migraine, still spending a lot of time in the dark. Today I spent an awful lot of time thinking about time. Time has become a major character in my novel, and the nature it displays is sometimes confusing to me. I've been sorting out why it is behaving as it does within my pages, what it means, how it affects my tale.
It is perhaps not a coincidence that time is behaving strangely in my own life. I have nothing to add to that sentence.
Below is another chunk of first-draft fun from my novel, which touches on some of the time issues I've been thinking and thinking about. I'll still be thinking about this tomorrow.
There is a woman on the train listening to music through a device she has attached by thin wires directly to her ears so as to keep the sounds it produces private and neither annoy nor entertain the other passengers. Baranatalo does not see her.
The musical device is not a common sight on the train in 1986, as it is not a portable device for playing cassette tapes or tuning in radio waves from nearby broadcasters. It is not even designed for the playback of the relatively new compact disc, which stores music digitally, as a series of ones and zeros which through some alchemy are far more accurate at reproducing sounds than the magnetic blips of a cassette tape. Her device is small and sleek and can hold more information than all the computers in Baranatalo’s workplace put together, and yet its sole purpose is the playback of music. It has no other real function. The woman Baranatalo does not see is separated from him by an approximate distance of thirteen feet and twenty years.
There are, of course, millions and millions of people on the train whom Baranatalo cannot see. At every stop, getting on, getting off. They sit over and over again in the same seats, crowd for positioning at the poles which provide leverage and balance for standing passengers. Their hands overlap and pass through one another. There are too many to ever count, and they blur and swim in our vision. Likewise the train itself passes through from time to time, to those who can see these things.
Three young men in crew cuts and horn-rimmed glasses discuss their standing in the involuntary military draft at the back of the car. One expresses a concern that he will not fare well in the government lottery, as his assigned number is considered precariously low. There is a war going on somewhere that he would like to avoid, and he speculates aloud that by becoming a cleric or attending classes at a University, he might avoid the drafting process altogether.
If we focus hard on these men, the woman with the music device vanishes. Harder still, taking in the type on the newspapers in their hands and the styles of their clothing and Baranatalo vanishes, too. We are left with only the thousands of people with similar garb and manner who also blur into one another and through one another on their way to the places of their lives.
Click on over and check out the entries. Some of my Blogfriends are over there, in addition to my own entry. I'm not expecting to win anything, but am happy that I entered, and delighted at the positive feedback I've received from the readers over there. My story had generated 18 comments, last time I checked, which is a lot more than the things I write here seem to draw, so it's nice to feel like I'm being read outside of my normal group of Blogreaders.
It's all very encouraging. It makes me want to start getting stories out in the mail and into the hands of editors, the sooner to feel the flip-side and start gathering up my rejection slips. Apparently, three rejection slips is the number the government requires to officially call yourself a writer.