Monday, April 6, 2009


Who would have guessed that a couple of links to my humble rumination on the virtues of the physical act of writing would draw so many visitors from so many places? Instead of agonizing over human foibles and behavior and worrying about why things are the way they are (imperfect), clearly I should focus less on writing and more on the tools of writing.

I jest, of course, although in the past few years I have begun to look enviously upon those who have a definitive set of tools they carry about with them, tools that seem to imbue their unseen labors with physical substance and reality. It might be someone with a bucket, brooms, and brushes, or with a hard hat and tool belt. It might be a musician with instrument case in hand. Or it might be someone like the young woman I saw on the bus with her “Art Bin,” no doubt bursting with all kinds of fun colors when opened.

At most I have a notebook and a pen/pencil case (pens, pencils, correction fluid, erasers, sharpeners, glue stick, scissors) to define me. They’re tucked away in a bag, and they are things that anybody and everybody uses in their home or corporate office. Oh, I have colored pencils and markers, too, but in my hands magic doesn’t flow from them, just childish scrawls.

That I like the substance of things is evident from the clutter I’ve accumulated since my 2003 move, after vowing to clean up my act and my place. I think I’d prefer a neat, uncluttered space, but somehow being surrounded by dusty books, paper, pens, and pencils makes me feel real.

March was a difficult month. I was busy with work to the point where I couldn’t think, and then I noticed more and more that time is slipping from me. Evenings and weekends are becoming shorter with each passing day that brings me closer to the end. Even an hour for lunch seems more like a half hour. Before, I could find time to be bored. Now, there’s not nearly enough time even for just a few small pleasures. When I’m sad (too often), I kill time by sleeping. When I’m happy (rarely), sleep is a luxury. And, perhaps because my body senses that spring is not that far off, something drives me to feel that I cannot afford the time for it.

My timeline is finite, after all, and I’m moving along it at what seems like a greater speed as I approach the end. Like a needle running along the grooves of a record, life started out in wide, slow circles. Now as it approaches the blank inner circle where the record ends, the needle seems to travel faster and faster over the shorter and shorter circles. I don’t know how long the music will last, only that it will end in silence.

And, right now at least, I’m not ready for the final note. There is so much left, or perhaps very little.

Time is relative in ways that even Einstein could not explain.


  1. The comparison of the life/time experience to a record with the concentric, spiraling grooves diminishing in ever an tightening circle is really so brilliant it took my breath away. God, how I wish I had written it....damn you ;o)

  2. I'm sure I'll find out someday that it's not original, though. So little left today is . . .