I am acutely aware that this moment is spectacular and fleeting. It’s the first time in over twenty-five years I’ve had one full year to focus solely on writing.
I cannot believe that almost two months have passed already. I now have only ten months to write a screenplay and two novels. Since leaving the day job I truly understand what my kids have been saying all along—“When you quit your job, daddy, you’ll be having fun, and the days will go by fast.”
I wake, the rising sun warm on my face. I blink. The setting sun cools my skin.
I’ve always enjoyed the fast lane, but now I can feel my foot searching for the brake pedal. Just a tap or two, I don’t want to start a skid. But I would like the chance to see the landscapes I’m passing.
I’ve tried reading Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. I’ve looked to Stephen Hawking for help. I get lost when “one observer gets on the train and experiences a different sense of time than the observer who waits on the platform.” I can’t figure out if I’m supposed to be the guy at the station or the guy in the train car and I don’t understand why that nanosecond of difference should turn my life upside-down. But, apparently, it does.
They say the days go faster as you age. I can feel that. People who are older often say they feel like they’re still in their twenties. The face in the mirror doesn’t match what’s inside. I’m right there. Memory has compressed my life. Time has surely been bent, and the events that occurred early in my life have been folded to meet events I experienced last week. What was in the middle has been folded out. The 90s. I suppose they were forgettable enough.
The last time I had that full year to write was when I was nineteen years old. I had just moved to Santa Cruz, California from New Mexico, after having spent one year in the Jazz Music Department at North Texas State University. I had changed my career aspirations and decided to tackle screenwriting. My mom was paying my rent for a while and I had nothing to do but write. I wrote whenever I felt like it. If I woke up at 3:00 in the morning with an idea, I’d write it out over the next five hours, then fall asleep for the next six hours, then wake up and continue writing. It was a perfectly fluid schedule that worked with the creative impulses of my mind.
I guess I thought it would always be that way. Now, a quarter of a century later, I’m on that schedule again. In my mind, I’m the same kid. Like I stepped off the West Cliff bus in Santa Cruz on the way to my favorite cafe (the transfer is still in my hand) and, the moment my foot touched pavement, I landed in Los Angeles, twenty-five years later. My life has been folded.
Do we get to shake out the folds at some point?
Everything has changed, nothing has changed. I’ve gained much, I’ve lost much. The only thing that remains the same is the length of my hair.
I hope this life thing we’re experiencing is infinite. I hope we live forever and retain the special memories we’ve built here on Earth. Because I’ve learned a little something from my elders. Our time here is short. Relativity speaking, of course.