Sep
30

It’s October Already? How quickly time passes, yet how deeply it is felt…

Time goes by very quickly during the beginning of the school year. I’m shocked that we are already coming to Fall Break. My friends in Oregon and overseas in Scotland have just finished off their first week or two and when I tell them I’m getting essays together for midterms they initially think I’m joking.

This last week I got to present my adventures and writing experience at the summer research showcase and last weekend I also helped out with the study abroad fair. Thiese experiences brought home to me just how much life has thrown at me lately. A month ago I was re-starting school after the hurrication. Two months ago I was coming home to the United States from Nepal. Three months ago I was on a megabus down from Aberdeen, Scotland to London, England and catching a plane to Kathmandu. A year ago I had just arrived in St Andrews Scotland and begun my studies abroad. Time moves so very quickly.

And, to a certain degree, the novel I’m writing deals with time, how time leaves things behind and finds new things, how time overlaps and falls back upon itself. The narration of Sophie and Adia’s story  encompasses three different moments in time that all are deeply interconnected. The past informs the future, but so too does the future inform the past. Telling a story in some way changes it. Memory rewrites history, and every time we engage with the past we must re-situate it with the present. My American Lit class recently talked about this idea of art. The canon forever recreates itself.

The influence of the past on my work struck me particularly in my last meeting with my advisor, and as I’ve finished off my rough draft and stepped away from the text for a moment to let it all sit still. References to literature, music, proverbs, even to modern culture, feel like the moisture clinging to and intermingled with the earth of my own writing. It provides an interesting question of ownership. Does an author ever really write her own novel by herself entirely? Aside from a plethora of editors and friendly comments, is there not also a large debt to the various works which have formed her own literary experience? And, of course, the unique gathering of experiences that surround her? Writing is in a way like creating a collage; the artistry is in how one puts all those pre-existing pictures together to form something entirely new.

It’s something I plan to think about as I begin my first serious full read-through of my novel this weekend and my first round of major edits. I have comments from my advisor on the first half of my work in addition to my own new knowledge of the novel courtesy of its completed state. It will be fun to rework the collage, shifting this picture a little bit this way and taking this one out. Maybe even finding a few new ones to put into the mix. I plan to spend Fall Break completing much of this first major rework of the first half of my novel. And so when I get my comments from my advisor back on the second half, we will begin round two of commentary. It’s all very exciting and I can’t wait to start.

Comments

  1. Brianna Frentzko says:

    Hello there Alex, I totally agree. Very Buddhist of us, how everything around us makes us who and what we are. Ava was actually talking several meetings ago of how certain aspects of my story reminded her of yours and vice versa even though we haven’t read through each other’s. She suggested that the people we know just influence us without trying. There’s something to that. Showcase went really well. Lots of pictures from Nepal and not so many people to see them! Sad they don’t do it all at once with section breaks so you can go and see everyone else’s project:-( And I am going to be opening up this story for friend comments once I get through this next draft, so hopefully by the end of January. I’d love to hear comments from you, always.
    Cheers, Brianna

  2. Alex Brown says:

    Deep thoughts, Brianna! It’s true – it’s pretty much impossible to write a novel entirely on your own, mostly because your own self is made up of everything around you, too. Sometimes I find that idea discouraging, but sometimes it’s really heartening instead. Anyway, how did your research showcase presentation go? And please, send me a copy of your story as soon as you feel ready to let outsiders see it! I’m very curious….
    Love, Alex