Friday Fictioneers 12 24 2021

Each Wednesday, the wonderful and majestic Rochelle sends a photo to inspire us to write one-hundred or fewer words that tell a story. Friday Fictioneers is fun. Click on the prompt photo for the access to her special page.

Here is the prompting picture and my fib.

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Click on the photo to be transported to Rochelle’s blog page.

Genre: Sci-Fi
Title: It Is What Was
Word Count: 100

“This SUV is a time machine that transports mentally, not physically. You can only go back during your lifetime, not forward.

“That mirror shows exact time and place holographically. You go from now to then for about five minutes, then you are back here. You may change any past decision of yours, but rules disallow affecting life or death—kind of a prime directive. Your life will change based on the new decision. Any questions?”

What if I change my mind afterwards?

“We allow one free return trip to reset things. So far, everyone has done that. Ready?”

Not yet.


Look both ways, regret little, love much, and be yourself.
Mind the gaps and SUV, time machine sales staff.

“Finish each day and be done with it.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

 

Click on the time machine module to read other stories.

Sammi’s Weekender #235 (mirror)

Click for Sammi’s blog and links to other blogs for prose and poems.

Timeless Reflections

For twenty-seven thousand days and nights
what you have seen is not all that ever was.
You see in me today’s truth, one perpetual now.

With one look I never judged anyone.
I reflected an eternal present
without darkness, forgiving the past,
each glimmer gone, days and nights
numbered and stacked
upon your tired shoulders.

Like ashes from wood burned
in past fires, days forgotten, names confused,
adjusted appearances, time
carefully dealt from fate’s shuffled deck,
one at a time until there was none.
Lines of life get clearer, youth
forgotten there, inside grandfather’s mirror.


Mirrors can’t look both ways.
The reflection they cast is only today.
Mind the gaps and fix the cracks, everyone has history.

This mirror hung in my grandfather’s house 100 years ago, then in our dining room from before the day I was born. Click on the photo to read Sylvia Plath’s poem, “Mirror.”

Thursday Rune: Today’s No Thing


For a moment,
I close my eyes
and the moment’s gone.
My memories rarely
remain for long.
Soon enough,
today’s moments
are done.

This is Thursday.
It can only be today,
whatever the name.

Today
will never be tomorrow.
Wait and see.

Sun’s third planet
spinning in artificial time,
a wee bit in vast nothingness,
at the whim of some god,
or controlled by
meaningless unmeasured chaos.

I can’t
taste or smell Thursday.
Today sounds are unheard,
there’s nothing to touch.
It’s another day.

And yet,
like a spirit,
unlike
physical, practical things,
each moment of every day
flashes by—
irreplaceable,
never lasting,
instantly
forever gone.

Today is
most valuable.
It’s now.
It’s all we have.
Why can’t it stay?


Look both ways, but all we have is today.
Mind the gaps.
Enjoy life.

Essay: When and What Day is it?

Writers are story tellers and researchers who dig up things after getting lost running down rabbit holes. Mix in some historian, astronomer, anthropologist, math stuff, superstition, and observation of nature and mankind, and we charge into where only rabbits need to go.

My rabbit hole excursion involved time and our (USA/European) calendar. I’ve written about this before – Christmas in August, for example. So, I did some lookin’ stuff up.

Our clock time is based on a 24-hour day, determined by one 360-degree axial rotation of the planet. Calendar time is determined by the full orbit of the earth around the sun which takes 365.256 days. The spinning and orbiting do not come out even, so we have that .256 of a day to deal with. Thus, leap year and February 29th. But there is also the problem of the .006. If you don’t compensate for that, over time, things get off. It has happened.

What gets off? Easter. We had to get a grip on Easter. The solution was a new calendar. Can you imagine?

Computing the exact date of Easter is called computus. Obtaining an accurate calendar was one time when science, or observed reality, served the needs of religion. The Church needed to fix this. So, they did. And with the help of more than one mad scientist.

No shit folks. They feckin’ lost Easta and had to hire a guy to find it!

From first being questioned in 325 AD at Nicaea, it took more than 1,200 years to fix – hundreds more to get the Greeks and Turks on board.

Most of the world now uses the Gregorian calendar named after Pope Gregory VIII. It eventually replaced the Julian calendar due to the timing error. That six thousandths of a day made a big mess. But even with all of that, since Eastern Orthodox and Protestants were suspicious of everything the Roman Catholic Church did, it took hundreds of years for the Gregorian calendar to be adopted. The Pope’s authority was limited.

To bring on the new calendar in 1582, and to get dates properly aligned, 4 October was followed by 15 October, thus jumping 11 days. For approximately 500 years the world had two calendars (really it was more) due to religious mistrust within Christianity.

 

It took almost 200 years (1752) before England made the leap and adjusted from 2 September to the 14th. Historical rumor claims there were riots in London. The last European countries to officially adopt the ‘new’ calendar were Greece and Turkey in the 1920s.

I counted 34 different calendars in use world-wide this year (2018 or MMXVIII). I learned that horology is the name for the scientific study by horologists of time and the making of time pieces/clocks. I could not find an equivalent for calendar experts.

Time (Earth’s rotation on its axis) and calendar, (Earth’s orbit of the Sun) are closely tied, but the sources of measurement are literally astronomically different. We have time zones and an international date line, but we have no such logical place to start or stop measurement of a year.

Lunar phases come into play and there are lunar calendars. The Church had to deal with them, because of Easter. I know the moon is a big deal (especially when full), but I am writing a one-day blog, not a book. Back to my point.

When does each year begin? Whenever we say it does. Tradition and Greg’s calendar say we begin each year on January first. Why? Who says so? A long-dead Pope?

Another confusion issue with the Gregorian calendar is that it was adopted proleptic, meaning that dates prior to its 1582 inception were extrapolated back in time. For a long time, dual calendar dating was common. Born on 5 October 1254? Not so fast. All that work for a good, accurate calendar.

So, what day it is may depend not only on what religion you are, but also on what sect or denomination of the religion you are, what culture you belong to, and what calendar you are using.

I am thinking of the words in the song by Chicago, with a similar title, “Does anybody really know what time it is…” Do we care what day it is? Yes.

Currently, a new year begins when we are about a week into the northern hemisphere winter. Nothing really ends or begins after 1 January, just some ‘back to’ stuff like school or work, the grind, the salt mines. It’s depressing.

The new year should begin the day after Labor Day, in early September. It just makes more sense. The first Tuesday after the first Monday (Labor Day) would be when the year begins with a four-day weekend. Just move Auld Lang Syne and all the other new year’s traditions back a few months. Football would be just beginning instead of ending. Summer would be almost done, instead of the beginnings of winter.

Fall is already the holiday season. It’s when school begins and life changes. What mo’ betta’ way to bring in the New Year?

Get rid of Columbus Day (or whatever you call it, apparently, he was a dick anyway) and make Halloween a day-off – a real holiday. Pass a law that every normal person must costume up and wear a mask. Instead of trick-or-treating, kids must sing songs for money or candy. Make the day after Halloween even more spooky. Maybe graveyard parties? Bring back Decoration Day but make it Night. Cool!

Vet’s Day is good, but can we move Thanksgiving to something other than a Thursday? If we go with Friday, we can have Black Saturday, Purple Sunday (or Advent day one), and Cyber Monday, as is.

Pass a law that every kid with a birthday in December must have a party (and a good one) in June or July. Require gifts for the first 6 years. Align all the other holidays with Christmas and Yule and make the celebrations 12 days long. Light candles. Or move Christmas to August, as I’ve previously suggested. Think of it. All those f**king Christmas decorations gone by Labor Day (another law).

After New Year’s Day, add Saint Patrick’s Day as a day-off federal holiday and call it Green Day. Require everyone to wear green, drink beer, and eat corned beef and cabbage. Have a similar day for every other immigrant ethnic group there is. If an Indigenous People’s Day is needed. I suggest May first. Wait. What day was Custer’s Last Stand? Make it late June and make Juneteenth a holiday, too.

End the school year on or before June first. Make summer work vacations 20 days long. Require everyone to travel and to spend money with friends and family and to have fun for two weeks. The other six days are for trip prep and recovery. It would be an economic stimulus of the happy kind.

We determine how this goes. We, the people, make the decisions. Pass a law making it illegal for elected government officials not to do what we want. Add a law that jails them if they do not do the things they promised to do while campaigning. Include all presidents. Demand a new government agency to determine and ensure that everyone has life (health), liberty (freedom to choose), and happiness (even if they must go to the dentist sometimes).

But first, let’s fix the damn calendar. Remember, Labor Day is the last day of the year and the following day begins the new year, no matter the date. It would dress up one Tuesday of the year for someone and she’d get all sorts of Happy New Year wishes. A lot could change, until the following Tuesday.

Have a good time. Does anyone know what day or time it is? Does anyone really care?

Look both ways regardless of the days or what culture says.
It is only 2018 if we say it is,
and there have been calendar gaps for as long as
this mote of dust has hung on a sunbeam.

The most inclusive happy holiday song ever. A fun watch, if yer up to it.

T – Tercet: In Real Time (NoPoWriMo #24)

The tercet is a poetic stanza of three lines with a rhyme. While there is no specific rhyme scheme necessary and some even venture into free verse, I prefer to not to dig in unplowed turf. However, I did play with this and came up with rhyming lines one and two in each stanza, and using mid and end line rhymes in line three: aab2, bbc2, etc.

***

In Real Time
By Bill Reynolds

Not to be seen, heard, or specifically smelt.
We know it’s there, cuz experiences felt,
No gods can stop it, no power to quit.

Some sew it wisely, while others just wait.
The outcome’s the same, we share the same fate.
Fight back as we may; that is only delay.

Wind we can feel, the rain we may taste.
But the passage of time, we have little to waste.
Let’s consider the past; make choices that last.

Perpetually running, it passes in silence;
Everything changes, nothing is timeless.
Reality speaks loudly, but time passes proudly.

***

Thinking of time, be looking both ways.
While minding the gaps, watch only today’s.

Time Perceived

TThe other night, as we sat discussing writing projects and their duration, the subject of time came up. There were three of us, representing roughly three generations. The more we talked about time and how each of us currently sees it in terms of the future, the more I realized how differently each one of us viewed it. Time does not change. We do, and thus our view of time changes with age.

Time2I claim to be a right here, right now kinda guy. I live in the present moment. As I contemplate writing a memoir, this seems to cause me an ‘angst’ problem in that I wanna, and I don’t wanna. (I also struggle with writing about myself, but that’s not the issue.) I like History. It could’ve been considered my second minor at A&M. My manuscript is historical-fiction with too much history and not enough fiction. This morning I was asked if I would write a time-travel book (I’m noticing that Vickie has a knack for asking me thought-provoking questions). I didn’t have a ready answer, but after a lot of discussion and thought, my answer is ‘nope.’

Time1After doing a bit of reading, I’m no longer positive that I know what ‘this moment’ in time is, or if it exists. My metaphysical (woo-woo) friends get excited about this fascinating subject. When they do, I look at my watch and note, “It is one-forty, PM.” But they’re right. It’s really an interesting topic. Physicists and philosophers are all over it. Check out all the wiki and academic research (here and here), it goes on-and-on. But, I want to address time in terms of normal people; ya-know, like a truck-driver, retired cop, and Sociology grad-student walked into a bar to discuss it.

The grad student is a young female (they live longer) and has tons of time and a bright future. She is planning her entire future. The truck driver is a middle-age, overweight, heavy smoker and drinker. He doesn’t think about it much, but needs to change his life style in order to have more time. The retired cop has been there and done that. He feels like he’s been lucky and may be on “borrowed time.” Each can see past and future time differently, but they are now in the same place doing the same thing. The biggest difference is age.

It’s not so much that all of us can’t plan to write our novel with five sequels. It’s how we see the time that it will take to do that, not to mention the patience and persistence that will be required.

Two of my favorite songs about time are below. The first is Jim Croce’s Time in a Bottle. The video is with his wife, Ingrid, and their son, A.J. This song was recorded just before Jim’s untimely death and later released posthumously.

The second is a rendition of the Byrds’ Turn, Turn, Turn, which has a biblical, Ecclesiastes basis.

Finally, the last video is a George Carlin skit on time. It is about 11 minutes long, so if you’re not a Carlin fan, skip it. If you are, enjoy.

Oh my! Look at the time.