the string theory of life: past lives, future ones (& what i’m reading)

i remember reading once that the hindu concept of time is multi-layered:  imagine strands of different times hanging across the sky in front of you & that your life is a line that dissects those strands at different points, up & down, in a non-linear, but consistent way in that your life touches on different points of the past, the present & the future.

are you still with me?  let’s use for example, the metropolis case by matthew gallaway that i am currently reading.   in this book the four main characters each live in a different time (& place,) but i’m sensing that they may be all parts of a greater character (the protagonist, if you will) & although i’m not far along enough in the narrative to know this for sure, the spark it’s lit in my imagination (& my memory) has me remembering a time when i felt such strong connections to other periods of time (the past always, rarely the future sadly) that i was thoroughly convinced i had lived then.

it’s possible that i still feel these connections & on a day like today, with a cold rain drumming on the roof (that gargle & gurgle you hear as the water falls through the downspout) they seem even closer than they have in quite some time.    of course, i realize that where i touch these times are little knots tied with a flourish & flow from my reading (those required & those i found on my own,) but, & i know you’ve felt this too, when you make that connection & inside your mind you think, “i’ve lived this,” then that time, that very point in time, becomes an irrevocable part of you.

& that is what i’m feeling reading the metropolis case.  isn’t that what great writing should do, make the sense of character & time & place so real for the reader that they have no choice but to have lived then as well?  of course, as i’ve grown older, & the stack of books by my bedside & my chair & in a bookcase or put away in a closet has grown, ebbed & flowed (& over-flowed), my sense of belonging to specific periods of time, as if i had lived then, has grown stronger (not weaker) & when i discover a new writer who transports me to those times i arrive with my bags properly packed & my cultural touchstones at my fingertips.

this then, this connection, knot, knowledge, shared as it is by the author with his audience (we, the readers — now there’s a constitution!) can be such an intimate one because, as if you were two strangers on a street corner in a busy metropolis, you brush past each other or you meet for just a moment’s time through friends, acquaintances, other strangers, however it is, your time lines (those strings hanging down through which our lives traverse) are knotted together at that one point & although you may never meet IRL (ah, the language of digital age), for just that moment you share a life.    that for me is a great pleasure.


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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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