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Beyond the Lone Islands

Friday, 27 March 2009

Time Travel

Illustration from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

(Inspired by: The One-Minute Writer: Friday Fiction: Time)

This Sunday morning, at two o'clock, we are supposed to time travel again, by setting our clocks forward one hour. The only effect this will have on me (as every year) is to throw me out of rhythm once more, just as I was beginning to find it again after the winter darkness. "Summer time", they insist on calling it in this country – even though I woke up this morning and found the world outside all white again!

No, pretending to travel just one hour forward in time is really not enough to make the experience exciting in my mind…

Real time travelling has little to do with pushing the hands of a clock backwards or forwards, or turning an hour-glass upside down. That doesn't get you anywhere! You cannot pass through into a different time dimension as long as you are still aware of how time runs in this one. If you try, this will only result in serious stress syndrome, which might take you years to recover from.

What you have to do is stop time by forgetting it altogheter. Pull out the plugs, remove the batteries, or put your clocks in another room so you can't see or hear them. You should also shut out all other kinds of noise that remind you of the time of day, or year. Then go to your bookcase, pull out a book that takes place in the time you want to visit. Make yourself comfortable, and open the book...

Don't expect the transfer to take place immediately; at first you will probably still be too much aware of your own familiar surroundings. Sometimes it doesn't take place at all; you might have to try again another day. But remember, the key to time-travelling is not (as you might think) trying to push time forwards or backwards, but rather sideways. And the opening to the other dimension is different in each book. It might actually sometimes be a glance at a clock (in the book, mind, not in the room where you started reading!); but it could just as well be a hole in the ground, a wardrobe door, or the turning of a page in a book within the book…

… but when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet… and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit hole under the hedge.

Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

… in the hall below, there was a clock, and through the night he would hear it strike the hours. It was a grandfather clock and very old. Mr Frith of Leighton Buzzard came each month to wind it, as his father had come before him and his great-grandfather before that. For eighty years, they said (and to Mr Frith's certain knowledge), it had not stopped and, as far as anyone could tell, for as many years before that. The great thing was – that it must never be moved. It stood against the wainscot, and the stone flags around it had been washed so often that a little platform, my brother said, rose up inside. And, under this clock, below the wainscot, there was a hole…

Mary Norton, The Borrowers

Lucy felt a little frightened, but she felt very inquisitive and excited as well. She looked back over her shoulder and there, between the dark tree-trunks, she could still see the open doorway of the wardrobe and even catch a glimpse of the empty room from which she had set out. (She had, of course, left the door open, for she knew that it is a very silly thing to do to shut oneself into a wardrobe.)

C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

He made himself comfortable, picked up the book, turned to the first page and began to read The Neverending Story...

Michael Ende, The Neverending Story

(the sentence translated by me from the German original)


C. Beth said...

Hi! Actually, you did it right--by linking directly to the TOMW post here, it automatically shows up in that "links to this post" list. Or at least it SHOULD--I'm trying to find it now. Anyway, posting a link in the comments is always a great idea too; more people may see it there. Thanks!

C. Beth said...

P.S. I don't know why it's not showing up in the Links list. Sorry--maybe it'll take awhile for Blogger to pick it up.

rae said...

Some of my favorite quotes! I love books about time/space jumps!

California Girl said...

Love the juxtaposition of quotes from the books on time and clocks and time travel. Although, time travel sounds alot like meditation. :)

DawnTreader said...

C.G. - For me, meditation doesn't work very well as a door to "time travel". I need something a bit more substantial: a story that is already there, that I can step right into... I think my definition of successful time travelling would be that you come back from it with the feeling of actually having been somewhere, made new aquaintances, seen new things, gathered experiences, increased your knowledge... Sometimes it can be restful, sometimes breathtakingly exciting; but it always involves a change of perspective.

Rae: The books that work best for me as "time travel" are often fantasy! :)


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