There is no time. There’s only now. Even now’s gone before we know it. So, there’s only very now. Every moment is absolutely unique, absolutely itself and special and new and weird; every moment is not any moment, it’s this moment. Then it’s gone, somewhere. We don’t always see the moments. I’ve been here before in my writing, but it’s worth revisiting because the subject of ‘time’ gets the better of all of us occasionally.
It’s difficult to write about ‘no time’ because words about time will creep in: ‘occasionally’, ‘sometimes’, ‘often’, ‘then’, ‘when’, ‘now’. So, I’m thinking and talking about ‘very now’ because this is the only phrase I can think of that comes anywhere near to describing ‘just right here and now . . .’ Yet, even before I finish the sentence, the ‘very now’ has, apparently, gone.
Children’s play, and any play, is very now. So, at last we have a context to this rambling. ‘At last’ we have a context. What happened before the Big Bang? Yes, I know, I know: Hawking and others (notably one annoyed brother!) would repeatedly sigh out loud at my question. Yes, in theory I know that nothing happened before the Big Bang because there was no time until the Big Bang, but really, honestly, I don’t get that at all. What happened before play?
This post is already going off in a direction I hadn’t considered or planned for. ‘Already’. Step back: children’s play is very now. It has taken place today, yesterday, last week, last year, and it will happen next year, but whenever it takes place it’s very now . . . and then it’s something else. I want to step back a little further, to illustrate where I’m going, and then I’ll tell you the moral of my stories. Take a leap of faith here and follow me:
It’s 1976: that really hot summer which has passed into folklore here in the UK. It’s summer in my memory all that year. The school holidays stretch out around me in all directions. I’m not indoors at all, and one day blurs into the heat haze of the next. It’s just all pale blue, you know?
It’s 1984: Orwell’s future schemes don’t come to pass, and I find myself doing the ‘geeky and awkward at the disco’ thing! I’m hopeless in my adolescent play, but it’s the Eighties and I’m none the wiser just because Crockett and Tubbs, George Michael and Phil Oakley are advising me. I fall in love, approximately, and I get slapped and I make the same mistakes on a loop!
It’s 1989: I spend the whole year just in play. I pretend to go to University, but really I’m just being an artist, drinking beer, pretending to be an artist, falling in love, approximately, travelling, getting caught up in it all and being on my loop the loop.
It’s 1992: I spend the whole year in 1989, but in different permutations.
It’s 1996 or 1997 or sometime (‘sometime’) but it doesn’t matter: it’s when we sit in cafés being pretentious, attending poetry readings — bad poetry, so bad it’s good and notable and we announce Terry the Poet as our guru! — we travel back to Paris, pretentiously, but we know we do it and we turn it into irony, we write songs, record, start the ‘quite quiet revolution’, fall in rough approximations of love, loop and loop.
It’s 2005: I come home after (‘after’) my long sojourn away in various artistic endeavours, various places of children’s play away from home, I play with being home after time away (‘time’), I realise my own play has shifted and my love is richer, different, a love for now.
It’s 2013: I sit with a two year old who looks up at me for a second or so (‘second or so’), laughs and then wipes his snot over my jumper; I come into the room and a nearly four year old is ridiculously happy to see me and she jumps about just not getting her words out; I walk with a three year old through the busy High Street and we talk rubbish at each other! I’m in play, and I loop and I loop.
I’m here now: here I am. The now has already passed. The very now is the only way I can try to describe these moments of now: moments which are both singular spots in time and stretches of things that happen, each blurring into the heat haze of the next, looping and looping.
I promised you a moral to the story. It’s here: will you see the play of the very now with me? Will you leave thoughts of ‘play is good for the future development’, ‘play is an education for the future’, ‘play is learning so that the future will be better’? See the very small, the very now, and give it your love and attention. The very small and very now is often overlooked; yet the very small, the very now, threads through time. It’s no time, and in this no time we are made of moments.
There is no time. There is only now. There is only very now. Very now disperses as soon as very now appears. Very now is every now, though every now is different. Very now is in all time, though there is no time. There is only now . . . (ad infinitum).