The Compression of Time


Lifetimes lived in seconds on a never-ending clock.
Timewarp through faces and moments —

first kiss,
leaving home,
finding love,
losing friends,
building life —
the wild ways unfold…

kiss home love loss life
kiss home love loss life
kiss home love loss life

So fleeting.

Memories overlap now as the years compound.
I hear the sound
of time collapsing in echoes across the water
until there is nothing but a hole in the ground.

• • •

©2013, Jen Payne
Image courtesy of junussyndicate on deviantART.


Down the Rabbit Hole of Open Time

“Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!
— Alice*

How late indeed. By my watch, it is half past eight in the morning—and I am late. Not late to the keyboard; no, I have been sitting here since six, waiting patiently for words to come. To be fair, they are the ones that are late; my guilt is purely by association.

But, I suppose you cannot force these things. If the muse takes a day off, she takes a day off. Who am I to expect her to show up—just because I leave the door open and set a place for her at the table?

Just because I remind her that this is one of those glorious, work-free weekends—and a rainy one at that—when I’d love nothing better than to be sitting here embraced by the passion of some good writing.

“Embraced by the passion of some good writing.”
I say it out loud in case she is listening.

But she is not. Because now it is nearly ten in the morning and there are only five paragraphs of words cobbled together—with no purpose other than to tell you I am not writing today.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

— Alice in Wonderland

The problem is, I do care. Great expanses of free time like this are rare—and my to-do list overflows with giant, personal expectations. I will write a post for my blog and rework that memoir piece and start on that art project and finish that other one and get to work on the birthday present and spend some time with that book and do some research on that idea I had and…

I might as well be Alice, falling uncontrollably down a rabbit hole!

“Speak in French when you can’t think
of the English for a thing—
turn out your toes as you walk—
and remember who you are!”

— Through the Looking-Glass

Ah yes, time to shake things up, shake things out. I get it. Step away from the keyboard, Jen Payne. Pay no mind to this whirring machine for an hour or two. Come back and see what happens next!

“Now, here, you see,
it takes all the running you can do,
to keep in the same place.
If you want to get somewhere else,
you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

— Through the Looking-Glass

• • •

White Rabbit illustration by John Tenniel

*Alice, written by Gary Bachlund.

Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass quotes by Lewis Carroll