Monday, February 21st 2011, 5.35pm:
time to write/time to read
I’m trying to work out if there is a correlation between the time it takes to write a decent sentence and the time it takes to read it. You’d think it would be directly inverse, as the easier something is to read, the harder it is to write.
David Edgar’s piece in last Saturday’s Guardian demonstrates this perfectly. He shows that the gorgeous passage from the King James Bible beginning ‘swords into ploughshares’ took almost a century to perfect.
time to write/time represented
Furthermore, as it’s possible that a sentence could represent any span of time from a fragment of a second (think of Nicholson Baker’s mini-epics) to millions of years, could there be a correlation between the time a sentence represents and the length of time it takes to write? No, probably not: ‘A moment later…’ is as drab as ‘A millennium later…’
How to make time pass is one of those thorny potatoes that most of us have, at one time or another, attempted to mash. It is difficult to break a narrative, leaping forward an hour or two, a day, or a week, without clichés.
Later that same evening:
140/time spent on a particular tweet
Why I took to tweeting: First, the discipline of constructing a sentence of fewer than 140 characters that says something meaningful is a better distraction from having to get on with my next book, flicking peas into a bowl or creating new playlists on iTunes. Second, the tweet should be as crisp and maybe as informative as the chirp of the hungry chick. It's a good discipline. Third, I like the fact that a tweet is dated, the exact minute is given, until it eventually drifts off the tweet horizon, and becomes ancient histweet.
After a double espresso:
time spent writing/typing speed
Trying to save time by typing quickly. Never a good tictac.
Thirty Years into the Future:
Well, that was a nice life. I managed to write one or two good sentences. I avoided clichés like the dragonfly of eternity avoids capture in the clip clop clapping of history’s coconut shells.
The smallest unit of time a plank. It’s the length of time light takes to travel along a plank. The largest unit of time is the supereon. This is about four billion years, and about the length of time I’m taking to write my next book. If I had more time I’d make it even shorter.
But I’ll shut up now. With this shoddy and laboured blog.