Becca asks: “Do you find yourself moving too fast through life? How does slowing down affect your creativity?“
In my house, Veronica is the chatelaine of time. You can tell by the look in her eye that she is pretty serious about it.
There are clocks all over the house. My father repaired and restored clocks as one of his many hobbies. I moved here three years ago, but I still have clocks in boxes in the basement. My favorites are out, however.
This is the first clock he gave me.
I took the face off of this one because the mechanism is so beautiful.
This is my favorite; my mom gave it to me after my dad died.
If you look closely at these clocks, you will notice something. Each announces a different time, because none of them are running. They sound beautiful when they chime, but I can’t bear the sound of them ticking. Ticking away time, counting the seconds. “Time flies when you’re having fun!” It is so true. Time is definitely relative. I feel as though I was twenty-seven, and then I blinked and found myself here today. I am afraid that the next thirty years will pass and I will feel like Rip Van Winkle, awakened to find myself old, and in another place in time. When my grandma was ninety, she said to me, “I can’t figure it out… I feel like I am seventeen, and I look in the mirror and I am shocked at what I see. The time went so fast.” That frightens me and I have to take a deep breath and focus on the heart palpitations that are spinning me out of control into a panic attack. So there you have it: my phobia is out on the table. I never say, “I wish it was the weekend!” I never wish time away, but prefer to be right here, right now, in this moment, as it slips away into the past.
That brings me directly to Becca’s question. I do find myself moving too fast sometimes, but as soon as I catch it, I tell myself to slow down. I leave early enough for work in the morning so I don’t have to worry about being late. I am not a Type A driver. I cruise along with traffic, and if I have to stop at a light, it gives me a chance to take a sip of coffee, look at the people waiting for a bus at the corner, and make up a story about what the day might hold for them. I do that kind of thing all day long.
Yesterday I read my requisite pages in Bird by Bird, and Anne Lamott talked about her method of taking notes about ideas that strike her throughout the day. She uses notecards, sticking one in her pocket when walking the dog, or having a pack in her bag when heading out for the day. That sounds like something that would work for me. I have notebooks spread out all over my life, scraps of paper litter every surface of the house, my bag is stuffed with receipts that have writing on the back and are ultimately thrown away, unreviewed. Note cards would be so much more organized and accessible, and seemingly just right for me. So now, when I sit in the back of a classroom and a student says something that strikes me as hysterical, or I am at that stoplight and a man pulls out his fabric wallet to retrieve his bus pass and I imagine where he is going, I will have my little pack of notecards to write it down.
Slowing down feeds and nurtures creativity. How can you let that inner voice speak if you are squeezing it’s vocal chords with frenzy? It doesn’t work for me, anyway.
But back to clocks. There is an article in the Telegraph which describes a clock, created by Dr John Taylor. It is incredibly modern, and uses very old technology at the same time. The video is a little fuzzy, but still interesting. And check out that Grasshopper escapement!