20050524

Continuity, Orbit, Cataclysm

A continuous narrative creates a false sense of stability, of stagnation in, or immunity to, the passage of time. The reader knows, of course, that time is passing while the narrative is read. And one of the key features of the continuous narrative is its representation of the passage of time: its compression of a large (sometimes immense) stretch of time into the smaller stretch of time needed to read, or, though somewhat less often, its expansion of a small (sometimes minute) stretch of time into a longer stretch of time needed to read. In either case, though time is a feature (and in some cases even the subject) what is absent from the continuous narrative is the ever-advancing timeframe and the inevitably (if sometimes minutely) shifting perspective of the composer of the illusory continuity. This is what the journal form, the fragment, present: disclosing something about the nature of that illusion.
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The traveler's awareness of the nature of continuity in a world of change can become especially acute. The continuity in this traveler's experience is something like a gravitational force that holds certain celestial bodies together in a kind of elastic suspension. Planets orbit and rotate at varying speeds, yet their mutual influence holds them within the limits of a specific range that remains relatively constant, short of such disruptive cataclysms as naturally occur from time to time, altering the order of things.
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The bright orange hot sauce, red-flecked, brought back to Oakland from a voyage amongst the Grenadines. Flavorful and hot well beyond the ordinary range of experience. Dave, in his kitchen, compact and strong-fisted, stepping up very close: it made him want to punch somebody. Hard.