A matter of time

On Monday I heard Jeanette Winterson speak at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. She talked about how we all exist in three different times at once, that we are used to walking around made up of the past, the present and the future. And that this is what art does, it allows us to touch our inner selves, the ones that live in all of these times at once. The ones beyond the calendars and clocks. Clocks and calendars are human constructs with which to regulate the world, when really our lives are not linear. We can relive the past and change it, in our minds. We can affect the present while we think about the future and, essentially, affect that as well.

And it’s interesting, to think of one’s self as non-linear. There’s something comforting in knowing that one hour leads to a next, that Wednesday follows Tuesday and March follows February.

But there’s a reason why Jeanette Winterson’s books speak to me, and I think she touched on it with this. While consciously I have trouble being non-linear, my inner self recognizes something about how the past, present and future are not fixed but simultaneous, are non-linear. Because, when it comes down to it, each moment we live is affected by our past experiences and our hopes or worries of the future just as much as it is affected by our present situation.

It gave me a lot to think about. And a lot of insight into Jeanette Winterson’s unique writing style.


  • By steph, August 19, 2010 @ 3:07 am

    “I gave me a lot to think about”. I give me a lot to think about too… hehe i think thats why i have issues. i agree with this jeanette girl. awhile ago on a crazed night i drew i picture of myself growing up and then wrote in big letters ‘my life is not chronological’ repeated

  • By Eleni, August 19, 2010 @ 4:36 am

    We can maybe change our memories of the past, but we cannot change the past. Our present is affected by the past and the future (at least potential futures), and it can affect the future itself, but I’m not sure if the future or present could influence the past. We can relive the past, but not perfectly (here my mind jumps to a geeky reference in that the species Drell in Mass Effect 2 have “perfect memory” and really can relive past moments in their head with the exact detail they experienced them–but it’s something humans can’t do). Maybe I’m too logical and linear to understand her non-linear world. But it’s definitely an interesting thing to think about.

  • By The Chris, August 21, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

    LOVE HER!!

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