Water has always struck me as an excellent analogy for time. They both flow. Both are more or less intangible. Water can briefly be cupped in a hand, but invariably it will seep away through the fingers, just as time can never be captured. Even in memory it is fleeting, elusive. No sooner do you think you have its essence then it is gone.
There are, of course, differences. Water exists, time possibly does not. There is a theory that linear time is an artificial construct. We made it up to stop ourselves from going mad. Whether or not this is true, it is a thought that fascinates me. As a writer I love the idea that time is not one event after another, but rather a series of intersecting circles, like the ever widening ripples in a pond. The effects of time move backwards as well as forwards.
As a child my sister was haunted by images of being in a fire. She dreamed about being trapped, and awake would smell smoke and burning when there was none. Then, in her twenties, the house she was living in caught fire. Sitting on the windowsill of her top floor flat, flames licking at her arm, her only escape was to jump. Luckily, she lost consciousness and falling limply broke only her pelvis. After weeks in hospital she made a full recovery and never dreamed of fire again.
This idea that the trauma of an event reached back into childhood is something I wanted to explore in “Belvedere Crescent.” Time in this novel slips and slides. Thea moves between past and present and what she does in a previous century has profound consequences for her future. As the novel progresses the feeling of menace and uncertainty intensifies as does Thea’s determination that she will not be defeated by forces she does not understand. She strives for control, but that is something none of us have over time. It will pass and there is nothing we can do to stop it. All we can do is to use the time we have well. Whether or not Thea does is something my readers will have to decide.