Last October, my husband and I moved to a rural property. Since the spring, we’ve planted a small apple and pear orchard and started cottage gardens. We’ve also dug fruit beds and created sixteen 5 x 15-foot market gardens. These projects are labours of love that require daily watering, weeding, and staking. Already, I’m harvesting vegetables and the task of food preservation begins.
I’m also a novelist dedicated to production goals. My inner critic natters in my ear. You’re not spending enough hours with your butt in the chair, it says. But when I step back and analyse the actual facts, I realize that in spite of this new diversion of my time, my output is the same as in winter when hours were more abundant.
This is cause for me to think about time.
On a recent walk with my friend Nancy, I mentioned the phrase ‘time is elastic’. If we dilly dally or overthink, the time required to complete a task will stretch to fit us. Conversely, the time we need shrinks when we approach work efficiently. Nancy emailed me later with this lovely quote from author and journalist Matt Haig. “How to stop time – kiss. How to travel in time – read. How to escape time – music. How to feel time – write.”
In The Right to Write, Julia Cameron says, “the myth that we must have “time” — more time — in order to create is a myth that keeps us from using the time we do have.” Her busy life taught her to “grab for time to write instead of wait(ing) for time.” Without realizing it, that’s what I’ve been doing. Grabbing time from all over. And the new urgency has the effect of Natalie Goldberg’s recommended timed writings. It “adds pressure and helps to heat things up and blast through the internal sensor.” When time is fleeting, overthinking must go out the window.
Seneca, the Stoic philosopher, said, “the greatest of physicians explain that “life is short, art is long […] Life is long enough, and it has been given insufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested.” Here’s to making each minute count.
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“The environmental component is relevant to our times, the struggle to be heard over greed and ignorance and other people’s agendas is real. (…) This book would lend itself to be made into a movie.” ~ Canadian Author Association