14th January 2016
Sexual freedom, records, and sadness this week, for our Winner and Featured Entries, and a lot of heartfelt hoping that time is indeed magic.
I used to think a lot about time until the age of around 5. For a while, I thought and thought every night in bed about time and death and the universe. I thought without the restrictions which adults place on everything, pushing and pushing at the edges of my growing mind, until at last in a flash I understood it all for an instant. For one instant only, and then I cried and cried inconsolably for the rest of the night. My mother’s hugs were as plasters for heart wounds, and in the end she left, me still crying in despair. After that, I knew that I never had to think about these things again.
Magic however, is different. Magic was my constant companion, my belief system. ‘They can’t have disappeared by magic!’ shouted the teacher to a silent, scared classroom. ‘They could….’, I was forced to shyly interject, quick to defend my ally, perplexing the teacher who was pretty sure that I hadn’t taken the pumps in question. Magic hid the tennis ball which my brother and I both saw roll into a small flowerbed, and could never find. Magic proves itself to young believers, who can then live their adult lives with a passion for what there is to discover, a belief in what they might achieve beyond the obvious, and a disregard for the mundane trundling of life-pieces around the board. It is the seventh magpie’s secret never to be told, and it is all the unwarranted connections which even Derren Brown can’t explain, although he could probably manifest a working version of them.
The Winning Entry by craig_writer, an Hour of Writes newcomer, takes a vinyl record for nearly its whole length, as it goes through its revolutions and eventually arrives at a halt. It’s a brilliant physical concept to use for this title, as the same time, represented in different ways can fluctuate magically; for example, time shown on a clock face is always slower, calmer, more rational, than time on a digital display which seems to use us whimsically as its plaything. I enjoyed the piece’s striving to pinpoint the present:-
‘The record almost static on the platter now, his excitement growing: he would finally see the sound for what it is (not what it was), slow and detailed enough to exist alongside rather than instantly disappearing into thin air at 45rpm.
He thought of a racing car. The scream of the engine in the distance, approaching you, here, in the present.
Closer and closer, you see the past catching up with the present until it is level with you. You can hear the engine at its full growl, level, a 180-degree line of time from car to you.’
There’s something which may be cancer at the end, as there is so much for the generation above mine at the moment both in life and in writing. I wonder if this trend will continue?
Oren Pepper, another newcomer and writer of the first Featured Entry takes homosexuality and the difficulty of telling grandparents, against a background of time as its theme. On editing, I changed the order of the piece round a little – I hope that Oren doesn’t mind. I felt that these compelling lines made a fantastic opening:-
‘Outside the sky was a pallid, wind-worried grey. The kind of weather that not only blocks all light getting through but seems to suck it, greedily, from the very air. I’m in love.’
It’s a nice presentation of the distortions and perceptions of closeness, and evokes a consideration of families' struggles to know how to act their parts within the confused expectations of confidence and honesty.
A poem universally described as ‘sad’ by its markers brings us our second Featured Entry, by Castalia, returning to the Hour of Writes game from 2014 with a very different kind of piece from their previous ones. I like the asonances, and phasing in and out of rhyme in this poem, and the imagery of a mental block in the physicality of the mist and stone – or perhaps a necessary halt:
the pouring rain
where I parked alone
at the end of a lane
in a carpark of stone.
Looking out at the mist
I wrote of that time
when things felt like
Thank you for all your pieces. It was good to see some new entrants this week. Come back soon!