A Matter of Time

A Matter of Time Cover Image

John R York

June 15, 2023

Update on Our Dog Rayne

Last month, in May’s blog, I mentioned how our Doberman, Rayne, was getting up in years and how we were trying not to dwell on how little time we had left with him. Well, this morning at 10:09 he passed away. He was a good boy and a wonderful companion, and we’re quite saddened by his passing.

In an almost freaky coincidence of time, our other dobie, Pepper Potts, passed away exactly one year ago, yesterday. We enjoyed the time we spent together with these “best friends,” and I know we’ll often recall the memories of those times.

Time Travel

I'm in the process of publishing my next novel, The Five Watches: An Accident of Time. It’s a time travel tale that spans 700 years. I think it’s a pretty good story, and I hope you'll read it when it come out in August, but I’m not going to talk about my book here. If you’re interested in finding out more about the novel, you can go to the tab “My Next Book” here on my website.

I want to talk about time. I think most of us typically think about time in the context of a specific event. You know - What time is my appointment? How much time do these burgers need to be on the grill? It’s time for Wheel of Fortune! Is it time to go home yet? And so on, and so on. I guess that’s the main purpose of time—keeping track of things. As Albert Einstein once said, “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” (he cracks me up!)

Of course, we use time in a different context when we're recalling the past. Do you remember when we got married? Ah, those were the days. The time was when you could buy a candy bar for a nickel. I’ll never forget that time we dropped a cherry bomb in the toilet at school. Our memories are based in time already past.

Literature uses time liberally to give us a sense of the time a story takes place, as in “Once upon a time.” Literature is littered with references to time, but the all-time greatest use of time in a novel was penned by Charles Dickens:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

They don’t write ‘em like that anymore.

All those references to time are conceptual, that is to say, a means of measuring the flow of events over time. The concept of time is a straight line on which we can plot the past, measure the present, plan and hope for the future. But time is also a dimension. There are a handful of brilliant people who spend their time trying to prove that time is a fourth dimension of space with a physical property and a mathematical structure.

Time as a dimension is the technical aspect of time, and you would have to learn more about this aspect of time if you plan to travel through time. Heck, even if you decide to write a book about time travel, you’ll have to learn about all this stuff. At the very least, you have to know something about time travel paradoxes. But it’s complicated, so we’ll just skip that part.

What I’d really like to do is provide you with a handful of time related clichés, because no matter what or how you think about time, it’s a pretty safe bet that you use some or all of these little sayings. Time to spare, extra time, time to kill, or too much time on my hands. That was a waste of time, it was time lost, remember to keep track of the time, or just look at the time. Then there is good timing and bad timing, and we hope that time is on our side, because time is precious, time is money.

So, time is pretty important, but is time travel possible? Yes! By reading a novel that employs time travel as a plot element, your imagination is empowered to experience all the adventures possible in temporal travel.

There's one thing I can tell you for certain. We all travel through time at exactly the same speed—sixty seconds per minute. One really good way to spend some time is to read a book.

What's In a Song?

One way to consider the importance of a thing is music. The word ‘time’ shows up in songs a lot. I’ll leave you with a short list of songs about time. I'm sure you can think of many more.

“Time is on My Side” (Stones); “Yesterday” (Beatles); “If I could Turn Back Time” (Cher); “Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is” (Chicago); “Time” (Pick Floyd); “Too Much Time On My Hands” (Styx); Time in a Bottle (Jim Croce); “Time Warp” (Richard O’Brien); “Back In Time” (Huey Lewis and the News); “Time After Time” (Cyndi Lauper); “Remember The Time” (Michael Jackson) — and tons more.

Oh, one more thing: the word ‘time’ occurs 69 times in this Blog. It's time to say goodbye.