I was feeling uneasy one night recently, so I sat down to write.
I worked for two hours and wrote close to 3500 words. Then, later, I dragged them all into my laptop’s trash can.
I’m not sorry that I did. But among them was a little list of paradoxes. A list of five items that I can easily remember. A paradox, according to my dictionary, is a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that, when investigated or explained, may prove to be well-founded or true. A classic example of a paradox is the statement ‘I’m lying.’ If it’s true then it’s false. If it’s false then it’s true.
But first on my list was time.
How is it that every day drags by so slowly yet the weeks are gone in an instant? Where have the last three years of my life gone? And can I make it through to the end of yet another day?
Can time move both slowly and quickly..?
I suppose that’s a trick question. After all, what could be more susceptible to perception than time — something that we understand less the more we think about it?
But the days do seem so long.
I’m busy at the moment. Busy and desperately tired. Even so, I still find myself listless at the end of most days, at a loss to fill the yawning chasm between stopping work and going to bed. My brain is usually defunct by then, but I can’t very well go to sleep at 5.30 pm.
So, I kill time.
I was looking for something else just recently and I happened upon these few sentences by author Mark Z. Danielewski. He writes: ‘Who has never killed an hour? Not casually or without thought, but carefully: a premeditated murder of minutes. The violence comes from a combination of giving up, not caring, and a resignation that getting past it is all you can hope to accomplish. So you kill the hour. You do not work, you do not read, you do not daydream. If you sleep it is not because you need to sleep. And when at last it is over, there is no evidence: no weapon, no blood, and no body. The only clue might be the shadows beneath your eyes or a terribly thin line near the corner of your mouth indicating something has been suffered, that in the privacy of your life you have lost something and the loss is too empty to share.’
And there I had my final paradox.
I may feel sometimes entirely alone, but there’s no thought or experience that I’ve ever thought or endured that somebody else hasn’t themselves thought or endured before.