I’ve been in one of my classic Writer Funks lately, and I stumbled across the most ironic cure for my inability to put words on paper. Is irony the right word? Cosmic irony, perhaps, seeing as the powers that be used the very thing that eluded me to bring me back to ink and paper: words.
(I could have sworn there was a novel that started with that very phrase… has anyone read it?)
Two words, to be precise. Two very specific feelings that, were it not for a source that shall be unnamed simply because I am still too at awe with it’s effect on me and too jealous of that feeling to share it just yet, I would not have been able to put syllables to overwhelming sense of hopelessness that’s been flooding my lungs as of late.
The first of these words is “zenosyne.” Go ahead, look it up, but you probably won’t find a analysis of this word in very many places. Zenosyne is the sense that time keeps going faster. Strange, huh, that such a universal feeling has a word to describe it, and that word has somehow evaded common lexicon for so long? The reason this word has resonated so much with me recently is because, with another birthday come and gone in the blink on an eye and a significant amount of “real life” still shooting down the pipe at me, it’s been all but impossible not to look back upon the days of summers wasted lazily away in the dry heat of the Colorado foothills.
I think The Color of Darkness captured the nature of this truth rather well with the moments where Puck, Rick, and Nova are doing absolutely nothing of significance or importance. They are just living life, as we all did when we were sixteen years old, where it feels as if each minute lasts an hour, yet each birthday somehow seems to come a day earlier. I’ve often discussed my choice of writing material at length with the few people I’m close to, and each time I’m left wondering if I write about adolescence because I felt cheated out of my own by a healthy dose of adulthood at ever conceivable corner. While this my be partially responsible, I’m now confident that most of my fixation with adolescence can be attributed to my fascination with the time period in which the modern teenager is confronted with the beginning stages od zenosyne. I respect and value the adolescent who somehow manages to retain that carefree attitude about time while the unknown pressures of adulthood loom closer and closer each passing second.
This innocence–or is it ignorance?–to the reality of time, the greatest force we humans could possibly fathom, is what brings me the second word of great importance: “kudoclasm.”
Kudoclasm is much harder to understand if you’ve never experienced it, and I both apologize to and rejoice for my younger readers who have never had to deal with such a bittersweet paradox before. I’ll do my best to explain it, but a Google search might yield better results.
Kudoclasm is when dreams, fantasies, or aspirations are brought down to Earth. It’s when you realize you most likely won’t win the lottery, that world peace is nearly unattainable, or perhaps it’s even just realizing that you can’t just uproot yourself from whatever you’re doing right now so you can just… be. It’s realizing that you have bills to pay, people who count on you, personal responsibilities to attend to, and all sorts of other things that hamper our fantasies. Realistically, the logical human brain shouldn’t have an issue with processing the requirements of functioning in modern society.
However, some of us just weren’t born with cold rationality as our default setting. We dream to survive, and watching each dream picked off like pheasants before a shotgun induces a sense of emptiness that cannot be healed by anything but fresh dreams. Call us broken. Call us irrational. But that’s just how we live.
That’s how I live.
Lately, the combined weight of zenosyne and kudoclasm have had me crippled within my own doubts. What if time keeps slipping away faster and faster until I have no time left for dreaming, just for taking care of the every day mundanity of life? Is that why I must create such vibrant characters who take carpe diem to its absolute fullest? Characters who, on the cusp of the vast unknown we call “real life,” somehow manage to defy the default programming and spend their time among the clouds?
The saddest part for me is that everyone has to come down to earth eventually. It doesn’t matter who you are, be it Nova Fletch or Caroline Wilder, your feet have to touch the ground at some point.
I supposed my most formidable undertaking within my novels is simply answering one question:
Until next time,