Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Time as a fountain bubbling up, not running out

The other day, while fretting over the difficulties encountered while writing the sequel to The Scent of God, I came across a quote that read something like this. Waiting for inspiration is like waiting at a train station to catch a plane. I read these words and smiled. Why would we head to a train station to catch a plane?

I asked myself this question as I plowed through 23 years of accumulated journals, medical reports, letters, and notebooks, trying to connect the disjointed but important factors of the story leading to my daughter's violent death nine years ago. I felt like I was in a train station wild with the mess of gates, and timetables and platforms and levels with time breathing heavily behind me.

There is another way to deal with the pressures we impose on ourselves. We can think of time as a well bubbling up into our days -- monk's time as referred to by Brother David Steindl-Rast in one of my favorite books, The Music of Silence. Monk's time is not chronological. It is what the Greeks called the kairos: time as opportunity or encounter.

The thought that “there is always enough time for the task at hand” frees me when I hit the barrier of my limitations; when I worry that I might not have another 10 years to finish this book, as I had with The Scent of God. It is in Kairos that I will catch the muse’s hand, not in the train station while waiting for inspiration.
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