As a teacher, I still have the benefit of viewing summer the same way I viewed it when young. And now, just as then, what seemed long in the coming was short in the doing. Fall, my favorite season, is once more just around the corner.
Yet there is also a difference. At 33, the months of my adulthood now pass like weeks, and the weeks now pass like days. This seems both inevitable and universal – everyone has commented on the phenomenon at some time or another, to the point where it has almost become cliché. Yet it feels strange, like many things do, when it finally hits you…and you realize it’s both startlingly and inexorably real. And nothing can be done about it… Time can only be felt in context; it is impossible to remove ourselves from it.
Stephen King wrote a beautiful story about this, called “My Pretty Pony.” In it, the boy’s grandfather, a dying old man, tells him, “…you got to remember that you don’t own time; it’s time that owns you. It goes along outside you at the same speed every second of every day. It don’t care a pisshole in the snow for you, but that don’t matter if you got a pretty pony.” The pony, of course, is Time…and it has a “wicked nature” but is still pretty…still worth appreciating, since it’s all that we have. As King concludes, “…having a pony to ride was better than having no pony at all, no matter how the weather of its heart might lie.”
I benefit from reminding myself of this now and then, and should probably do so more often. Like Dylan Thomas wrote in “Fern Hill,” Time held me green and dying / though I sang in my chains like the sea.
However wicked Time’s nature, it’s the song that truly matters.
On a less “profound” note, some miscellany:
Two new reviews of The Uncanny Valley have popped up in the last week, both four-star. I’ve linked them on the Uncanny Valley page. One, from Book Republik, comes straight outta Minsk, Belarus!
I gave a talk/reading/signing at the Monroeville Public Library several weeks ago, and had a blast. The audience was small but enthusiastic, and it’s always fun to build enthusiasm through direct interaction – my enthusiasm from theirs, theirs (hopefully) from mine. The same holds true in a classroom setting, and I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy teaching so much: the building of enthusiasm and knowledge through sharing and interaction.
Finally, in taking stock of my productivity over the summer, I see that I’ve written 26,000 words of the Uncanny Valley sequel (prequel, actually), which is very satisfying, especially considering that the first book is only 10,000 words longer than that. This one isn’t an interrelated collection of short stories like Uncanny, but a full novel that unravels through journal entries, letters, and newspaper articles. When I began, I expected it to be about the same length as the first book, but it is growing in the telling, and I now project three distinct parts that, in total, will likely reach 50,000 words. So I’m a smidge over halfway along, and happy.
I also finished two new short stories, and hope to finish the rough draft of one more to polish off my next collection, On the Edge of Twilight: 22 Tales to Follow You Home. That one’s due to see the light of day next year, with the second Uncanny book to follow close on its heels in 2013.
So, that’s lots done, and lots still to do and look forward to. Not a bad summer. Now back to school and onward to Fall! Target had their Halloween cards out this evening, and even though it’s only August 14, I’m already feeling the thrill of anticipation.