Today’s post by author Maria Goodin |
The older I get, the more time appears to speed up. I talk to people about ‘last summer’ only to remember the event I’m describing occurred two years ago. I forget to organize dentist appointments, convinced that I only went for a check up the other week. Even little things like shopping lists throw me into confusion; didn’t I just go shopping yesterday? If so then why do we have no food in the house?
Nothing makes time go faster for me than writing. I’m not one of these people who can scribble a few lines here and there, on the bus, in the bath, whilst stirring cheese sauce on the hob. I need hours in front of me. Three of them at least. It takes me half an hour to read through what I have previously written in order to get in the creative frame of mind, and that’s before I even start writing. But once I get going the concept of time is lost to me.
I wrote my first novel over the course of a year, only writing perhaps two or three days a month whenever the weekend allowed it, but on the days I wrote I would sit down first thing in the morning and could still be there at ten o’clock at night. Eating was a nuisance and only something I remembered to do once my stomach was rumbling. An aching back or a dead leg would eventually remind me that I had been sitting in the same position for hours. The increasing gloom would force me to acknowledge that somehow morning had turned into afternoon had turned into evening. I would finally emerge from my writing cocoon stiff, sore, thirsty, red-eyed from hours in front of the screen and a little confused about where the day had gone.
In my novel my central character, Meg, tries to slow down time. In the face of her mother’s terminal illness she tries to stretch out those final days, doing as little as possible so that their time together feels longer. But she is forced to accept that she is fighting a losing battle. Time is like sand, slipping through her fingers. It’s a cruel fact of life that the moments you would chose to cling to forever are the ones that rush past you at high speed. How is it that time goes so slowly when you having a quiet day at the office or waiting for a train on a cold platform, yet that holiday you had been looking forward to is over in the blink of an eye, and surely your child can’t be going to school already.
One reader said my novel made them think about what’s important in life. If that’s the case, then I deem that a great achievement. You can’t stop life’s precious moments in their tracks, but maybe that’s not the point. Maybe the point is simply to acknowledge how precious those moments really are.
Maria Goodin is the author of From the Kitchen of Half Truth. She trained to be a teacher and therapist before working as a counselor. Based on her award-winning short story, From the Kitchen of Half Truth was inspired by her interest in psychological defenses. Maria lives in Hertfordshire, England with her husband, son and cat. This is her first novel.
About Ariel Lawhon
Ariel Lawhon is the co-founder of She Reads, novelist, blogger, storyteller, and life-long reader. She lives in Texas with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.