If a slow accumulation of time is necessary to completely separate you from an event or condition of the past, a single moment is often all that’s necessary to drag you forward and into the present. Suddenly, a time that still seemed close–almost revisitable, like an annex to now, so fresh in the memory–is re-sited forever. It is irreducibly past. Before that moment, it could still be touched in some way. It still seemed accessible: now it isn’t. Even the illusion of accessibility is over. The past is the past. This frees you to move forward, at least into the present. (Although if you aren’t careful–and you feel, for instance, “liberated” as opposed to liberated –it’s easy to mistake that movement for the beginning of a journey into the future you’ll never reach.) Perhaps because I’m the kind of person who can live in a vanished present for two or three years before something tugs me out of it, the whiplash attendant on this process–this fallacy of a sudden acceleration and a simultaneous catching up with yourself, as if you had moved ahead and left part of yourself behind–always both astonishes and delights me.
… and this kind of fits the length of the writing of each of your books, no? (Sorry for being so literal, but I felt an urge to say it.)
I guess so, but it’s not primarily to do with writing, just life. I’m always trying to describe this sensation in case someone says, “Hey that’s exactly what happens to me, too!”
This time I did wonder if it can only be described in this way when you see yourself as not having continuing agency in the circumstances–ie, as if life is something that’s done to you, in time-limited packets of experience–scenes–that are viewable precisely *because* they’re sealed-off somehow. Not a very fluid or human way of looking at it!
Speaking of events: how is publication coming along?