Thursday, March 18, 2010


Time is a tricky thing to define, if you really think about it. Many people ponder over it, from H. G. Wells and his Time Machine to every child in the world wondering why the seconds take so long on the last day of school. Personally, I think Mr. Tennant describes it best:

(Then again, I am always inclined to agree with Mr. Tennant, so.)

Perhaps a more serious approach?

"From the moment we enter this life, we are in the flow of it. We measure it and we mark it, but we cannot defy it. We cannot even speed it up or slow it down. Or can we ? Have we not each experienced the sensation… that a beautiful moment seemed to pass too quickly… and wished that we could make it linger ? Or felt time slow on a dull day… and wished that we could speed things up a bit ?"

That quote is from The Illusionist, one of my favorite movies, and one which I will be watching rather a lot as I research and write Letters to Oliver. (The Prestige will be watched many times as well.)

It is also exactly where I find myself at present. Why is it, whenever you feel yourself to be in a good place, a place in time where you are utterly content, that you can see all too clearly the end of that time speeding towards you like a rocket? Why must the sunny days of spring break, with unseasonably warm weather, gatherings with friends, and simply being home with my family speed past with the velocity of a freight train whilst midterms week, which was of approximately the same duration, seemed to last a lifetime? What is it about the human mind that makes time seem so much in flux? A second is always a second is always a second; it never changes, and yet it always feels like it does.

Even in retrospect, things seem to take different speeds. Have you ever slogged through a week, dragging your feet heavily every step of the way, only to find yourself arrived at Friday evening and look back in wonderment at how you got there? Or on a particularly good week, arrive at Thursday night, wondering how you managed to get there so darned quickly and dreading the end of the weekend which is steadily creeping up on you?

Why are there not more than twenty-four hours in a day? Or, why are there not more days in spring break? There is too much to do - too many friends to see, too many books to read, too much to write, too much simply sitting around with your family to do - to fit into one tiny little week.

I find this most distressing.

However, if the human mind is capable of such small feats of time travel as this (making things seem to speed up or slow down, however involuntarily), perhaps real time travel is possible after all. Let the search for the TARDIS commence!


  1. i totally know what you mean. like right now, i can't believe tomorrow is friday. like where on earth did the week go?? there never seems to be enough time in the day for all the things i want to do.

    i'm all for time travel. ;)

    great post.

  2. Man, I try to write. I sit down for a while, thinking. Then I put my fingers on the keyboard. Glance at the time on my computer and it's 7pm. WHAT!? Time sucks sometimes. I wish i had the power to freeze time

  3. Tahereh - I don't know where the week went!!! Spring break goes much too quickly. :(

    Glen - I am so with you. If you figure out time-freezing, let me in on it, please?

  4. i prefer to see time in moments. seconds and minutes and so on are labels stuck on by us humans to organize our days. it's much more natural to surrender to the experience of a moment, long or short, and just flow with it.
    it minimizes the 'time travel' effect but it also clears up a lot of anxiety.

  5. Ella - there are SO many Broadway songs I could sing at you right now based on that comment.

    In the interests of you NOT killing me when you come up this weekend, I shall refrain. ;P

  6. That sentence got away from you, didn't it Doctor?

    I love your writing by the by. It makes me want to post my story on a blogosphere.

    Yours ect.,

    Team TARDIS, go!

  7. I love that episode AND The Illusionist!!!