Friday, September 30, 2005

Time Out

30 days hath September, my friends.

Which means that the magical month of October commences tomorrow.

I describe it that way because I consider October to be my birthday month. I don’t mean this in the sense of trying to scam presents for 30 days, but rather that October seems to devote itself to my birthday. For some reason, the days surrounding my birthday start to come alive with things to entertain me, new books, music, events, etc. Some years it’s downright spooky how the planets seem to align themselves for this purpose.

This year’s October is shaping up nicely, by the way, with a Clive Barker book signing set up smack dab on my 50th birthday, a very welcome present from the fates.

Add to this mix the turn in the weather, with the miserable summer finally gone and the brisk air of autumn here at last, and I’m more than happy.

It could be a sense-memory thing, I suppose, of all those other autumns and all those other birthdays. The proximity of my birthday to Halloween always meant that my birthday parties were costumed affairs and I have the pictures to prove it. So taken all together, October was sort of my Mardi Gras.

Of course time moved differently then, it was slower, roomier. I bought a film the other day that I hadn’t seen in some 30-odd years and, as you would expect, an element of nostalgia crept into my mood. But it wasn’t overwhelming, as these moods can sometimes be, just a skimming across the surface. So I relaxed and tried to push myself to enter into it, try and recreate the feelings I had when I’d first seen it, not only about the film, but about the times and circumstances of that time of my life.

It wouldn’t budge much, as much as I attempted to wallow in it. At this age I think it’s tough, too much time has gone by. I vaguely felt the presence of other autumns, the longer spaces between the weekends, the more innocent joy of anticipating something exciting, the sense of areas yet to be explored and thoughts yet to deliver their fresh results.

And then – for about 5 or 10 seconds – as I looked at my hand, it all melted away.

As I looked at my hand, I felt as if I were in the eye of the hurricane, watching the years spin crazily around me while I was safe and still. I was there, feeling it all, remembering. I could remember all the bus and train rides and the useless and heated wandering of the city and the long spaces of life begging to be filled.

Like I say, it was brief, but it was potent. And I was glad to come back, though desirous of that feeling of having the world laid out before me with all its possibilities.

There’s an idea in one of Barker’s books about the art of seeing the past, the present, and the future as one eternal day.

I sometimes think the best way to live is as if we’re all already gone. It lends you some perspective on what’s really important. Sometimes I think all we’re trying to do is figure out how to put the best message in a bottle that we can and launch it into the future.

And October is here again.

And present has more than one meaning.


Blogger Miss Templeton said...

An October birthday! You and I have something in common there. And with John Lennon and Montgomery Clift too.

Monday, October 03, 2005 6:40:00 AM  
Blogger Count Screwloose said...

Also Clive Barker and Eugene O'Neill.

We Librans have to stick together...


Monday, October 03, 2005 4:24:00 PM  

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