Friday, May 25, 2012

Entry # 65 - "It's About Time!"

After returning from my travels and recovering from "time travel" - better known as "jet-lag" I have thought this week about time and how it forms our lives and our fiction. An awareness of time goes with us all our lives.  

Sunrise Off Coast of Scotland -  5/12/12 - Jan Bowman
Eudora Welty described the clock as an arbitrary bully with power over daily affairs that can not be ignored.  Time awareness seems to exist at the cellular level in the body.  Whether we wear our watch set for the present or the past, we carry an awareness of the needs of the body that does not gain reassurance by a watch or clock that tells us we don't really need sleep, even though we just traveled back into another present - from a future time already lived on another continent. 

Sunset Later That Same Day - Jan Bowman 5/12/12

When we think about time, we acknowledge our own mortality and eventual demise.  We are mortal. This is time's deepest meaning. Fiction shows us the past and the present in mortal light. Fiction reminds us of future time without our presence. Eudora Welty described this processing of time in our minds - as art served by our memory and empowered by a sharp awareness of what is ephemeral.  The management of time is a deeply conscious and an organic part of fiction's dramatic structure in the writer's decision-making process.  Writers play with time and fine-tune time's role in driving plot and clarifying setting to the ends of forming powerful plot events that connect to readers.  Time can be altered - exaggerated - but never ignored. 

Welty described time and place as the two bases of reference upon which fiction, in seeking to come to grips with human experience, must depend for its validity.  She said, "Time is plot's right arm, indeed, but is always answerable to it.  It can only act in accordance with the plot, lead only toward the plot's development and fulfillment."  She observed that "Man can feel love for place; he is prone to regard time as something of an enemy." from The Eye of the Story by Eudora Welty.   -->
Jan Bowman’s work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, Broadkill Review, Trajectory, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes, and others. She won the 2012 Roanoke Review Prize for Fiction. Her stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories and a story was a finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest. She is working on two collections of short stories and currently shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection. She has nonfiction work pending publication in Spring 2013 Issues of Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at:

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