“Time exists so that everything doesn’t happen at once and space exists so that everything doesn’t happen in the same place.” — Albert Einstein (allegedly…)
This quote showed up in my Facebook “memories” today. It was fortuitous, since I had already typed in the title of this post…
Bali (the space I currently occupy) invites reflections on time. In Bali, you see, there are three calendars running simultaneously – our standard Gregorian calendar is one; the 210-day calendar called Pawukon is another; and the third is the Saka lunar calendar.
The Pawukon is not so much a “year” as a cycle, “since no record is kept of successive ‘years,’ nor are they numbered or named. They just pass by.” The Pawukon is organized into ten different systems of weeks, from a one-day week to a ten-day week. Most important are the three-day, five-day, and seven-day weeks. All these different “weekdays” have names and the conjunctions of these myriad cycles is important in differentiating auspicious days from inauspicious ones for all kinds of activities.
In my new book (coming July 20), “time” is an important subtext to the story. Meg is an archaeologist, obsessed with the past. Her husband Seth is a science fiction author, writing about time travel and the future. So, yes, the subject of time comes up in their world. Here’s a brief example, in which they’re discussing an impasse in Seth’s WIP. Meg speaks:
“Are you sure they’re not interfering with the timeline?” (Would I mind so much if they were?)
“Well, there’s another aspect of the story I’m still working on.” Seth scratched the back of his neck and frowned. “Maybe time isn’t a line…”
You may now pre-order the Kindle version of NOT KNOWING and it will be sent to you on July 20!
(Quotes about Balinese time are from Fred Eiseman, Jr., BALI: SEKALA & NISKALA.)