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Elizabeth Dutton


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out of time

out of time

“Time is a flat circle,” said a fascinatingly greasy Matthew McConaughey in the first season of True Detective (which, thankfully, did not include Vince Vaughn). Time may be a flat circle, but it is also fleeting and maliable and strange.

I still think of the 90s as being 10 years ago. Things in the past can feel like yesterday or a million years ago. Emotion and memory affect the perception of time.

Sometimes we find ourselves out of sync — our timeline doesn’t match up with what we think we want or what we now understand. Right place, wrong time. Wrong time, right place. Wrong place, wrong time (that’s always what is said when people are cut down too early or walk into a bank robbery in progress or something — what if that was the right time and place for them, their journey finally complete and right on schedule?).

If all we really have is this moment right now, is time irrelevant? Am I sounding enough like an undergraduate who has taken her first philosophy class? Fear not, I will not examine the possibility that we are all just brains in jars somewhere being fed ideas of reality. Winding back time and remembering being that person, though, is interesting. I often wonder what it would be like to go back in time and talk to myself at 18. Or to just do it over again with the knowledge I have now. I wouldn’t have skipped as many classes and I wouldn’t have worried as much. I would have been braver and would have avoided my brief platinum blonde stage (I made a terrible blonde, but I did like the day glo pink and cookie monster blue I had off and on back in those days).

Anyway, anticipating time going forward is always a dicey prospect. It’s like when you are in a job interview and are asked where you see yourself in five years. I hate that question. It’s lazy and no answer is of any substance. What do we know about five years down the road, let alone five hours from now? Think back five years. Did you see yourself doing what you are doing at this moment? Time is full of surprises. To be honest, from a very young age I had this belief (it felt more of a certainty) that I would not live to see 30. I was a strange child. I don’t know why that was so set in my mind. I was wrong. I made it past that and then some.

Looking forward feels like an eternity sometimes until we find ourselves caught in the headlights of a day that seemed forever far away.

Which brings me to an update about events in the future. An updated version of the smile book, 1,047 Reasons to Smile, will be available on October 6. I have my fingers crossed that I will be a part of something out in California this October. Again, I can’t predict the future. The paperback version of Driftwood — with a new and improved cover and price — will be out in the spring of 2016. (2016! So futuristic.) My next novel is under construction with a constantly shifting completion date. When it is done, it is done. Then I will have to try and get it published. But that’s too far off to think about now.

I do know that in the near future, I have to go teach a composition class in about 40 minutes. For that reason, I bid you adieu. Breathe deep and enjoy this moment right now (you can’t be under too much stress if you are dicking around, reading my ramblings).


One comment on “out of time

  1. “But outside of our space time, time doesn’t exist.” Gotta love Rust Cohle and Nietzsche’s pessimistic personalities! If time does not exist in space, then why is it so important? Or is it? I think it’s what we do with time that counts. While browsing for your book, I was led here. Glad I stumbled upon this glorious read. I enjoyed your Tuesday night lecture! I just started a blog. You should come visit sometime!


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