plā′wėrk′ings, n. Portions of play matters consideration; draft formations.

About the very now

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.
Post script:

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).


Comments on: "About the very now" (6)

  1. Hmmm. It almost sounds like you’ve been listening to that Arthur Battram and his weird ideas about a quantum of ludic time and the parallel worlds hypothesis in the context of our interventions in the lovely play of children.

    Oh, wait a minute, you have !

    • That weird Mr. Battram has indeed infiltrated my thinking processes (or so I told myself later ‘later’, strangely and truly). My writing process (i.e. the point of conception onwards) always starts a long few days before I type/write: however, I get deflected along the way. Here, I started at the end (in thinking) and wrote the start last. What happened, happened, along the way. Thank you, Arthur, for your non-linearity, which seems to have become me (‘today’).

      • You are welcome.

        Non-linearity is a Flatland perception. We are all flatlanders. If we can but grasp the complexity perspective and see in three dimensions, we can see that the non-linear randomness is but part of a flock of ideas…

        I’m trying for a Ludie award here, work with me…

      • Flatlanders, Cartesian plane dwellers . . . it was Deleuze who tickled my fancy, in passing, about multiplicities. Why stop at three dimensions? Perhaps it’s ill-advised to mention, say, the 11th dimension in a public way: the squares and polygons and other two-dimensional creatures might hyperventilate. It’s a cosy flatworld, where one thing always leads to another: causality owns all the Monopoly board. Play leads to ‘model citizens’ in the flatworld. Yet, where did I read that play is threaded through all we do? ‘All’ is a jumble of time and space and other dimensions I can’t describe, but trust are there.

        A flock of ideas . . . knitted together, overlaid, underlaid, inlaid, liminalaid . . .

      • the only reason to stop at three is concern for our puny brains. stephen hawking can think in 11 dimensions, but I can’t. the best I can do is 6.

        how does play lead to model flat citizens? I suppose monopoly is a flat model.

        the doctor [who? yes that one] described it as all mixed up in a timey-wimey way…

        one key lesson:
        1. you can’t understand a flock by studying a bird, or a rioter to understand a riot, or…

        2. you can’t understand a flock by watching a 2d movie – better to watch a real flock but even then you can’t understand a flock by just observing the flock flying over your head,
        even though it’s better to watch real flock in the real world [birmingham city centre at dusk, for example ]

        I said something reminiscent of this when I was talking on Tim gill’s blog about consultation with kids – I said that observation isn’t enough it has to be informed observation. by which I mean observation informed by theory.

        when I look at a flock, I am using the lens of langton’s 3 rules of flocking and my reading and study of probably around 400 big science books. aaargh!

        to understanding flocking, study the theory of flocking as you study real flocks in the world. praxis informed by theory.

        if you just watch birdies you are a romantic.
        if you just study theory you are just a scientist.
        you must be both.
        this is [miranda hart’s mum ‘ – what I like to call] craft

        this is craft

        damn it, I just drafted a blog!

        is it ok if I park it here for NOW
        i’m a bit busy…

        apology – better to write this badly than not write at all, apologies for scruffy writing.

      • Consider it parked here for a while (it’ll give me time, or some dimension(s) of my choosing, to process!)

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