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Tick, Tock

Posted on 2006.03.16 at 02:13
"It was within this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. It pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause...the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused revery or meditation...

And, anon, there strikes the ebony clock which stands in the hall of the velvet. And then, for a moment, all is still, and all is silent save the voice of the clock. The dreams are stiff-frozen as they stand. But the echoes of the chime die away...

–Edgar Allan Poe, The Masque of Red Death


Einstein told us that time is relative, but the poet, the lover and the madman knew this when fire was a novelty and the Gods still walked the earth. Our heartbeat, racing with fear and passion, slowing with a tender caress or as we drift off to of sleep, is a clock spring that inexorably winds down. From our first breath we count down a limited calendar of inhalations. In moments of joy and ecstatic love, we think, "Too fast, too fast the hour approaches!" Knowing, dreading, the truth that all good things must come to an end. Then there's the opposite experience, time's great dilation, where the clock swells to consume the universe and the minute hand seems to tick away light years. These are the moment-years when we await the call of a loved one, the moment-centuries of grief after a loved one abandons us. Worst of all there are the moment-aeons when the life-clock of those we love grows still. I remember holding the hand of my adopted grandmother, listening to the broken glass in a puddle sound of her sucking tiny ice chips, her brow beaded with fever-sweat, her morphine-clouded eyes seeing the ghosts of friends long dead as the cancer ate her up inside. Empires rose and fell in those moments; mountains were ground into meal.

Then there are the moments when we hold our breath, staring intently at the rose bud of a dream, anxiously awaiting its unfolding. Never mind that the blossom will last a tenth as long as the bud. Time is relative.

Two days gone, two remain. My agent told me Monday that on Friday I will finally have an answer from the editor who embraced my manuscript, CRUCIFER. The editor fanned the fires of my dreams with enthusiasm and praise. Now, after a year and a half, I'll know whether or not he will publish it through Random House. My dreams, my hopes, riding on a phone call. If the deal falls through, there are other towers to climb, but how the tower before me fills my eyes! 

The ebony clock ticks, the brazen lungs sound, my dreams are stiff-frozen as they stand. And the full moon, blazing and ringed by a great, hoary dial of mist, looks down on me and laughs. She reminds me, "How many full moons will you see in a lifetime? Embrace each moment like your last. Do not squander the now by living for tomorrow. None of us knows the number of coils in our clock spring."


Comments:


(Anonymous) at 2006-03-19 02:29 (UTC) (Link)
So eloquent, R.M.

No word yet?

- M.M.
colleen lindsay
lagringa at 2006-03-19 23:29 (UTC) (Link)
So???? What's the word???
colleen lindsay
lagringa at 2006-03-27 04:40 (UTC) (Link)
DUDE! What's the word???
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