Friday, September 21, 2012
It is said that Stephen Hawking’s book A Brief History of Time is the least completed book by its readers in inverse proportion to sales. The more it sold the less it was read. It was the title that seduced its buyers. I think this is because we want answers to deep questions about our existences. When we are young, life seems inexhaustible and when we are old it most painfully is not. What’s going on with time? Time is synonymous with gods and the mysteries of birth and death.
I’ve just travelled from the very south of France to the UK by train. A whole day’s movement through changing landscapes. I felt a day older at the end of it. Much of our lives is spent in dislocation from realities, in artificial environments, in cabins and offices and untrained to make the most of each passing moment. Our lives leave us in their wake rather than the other way round. Maintaining a true grip on second by second reality is not part of our armoury.
Why I liked writing Azimuth was because it was about how people gain this true grip. It contains three long journeys, each lasting many years and the time and space for its central character to begin to understand what his life is all about. Despite the obstacles, the battles, the deaths and meeting individuals with vastly different outlooks on the preciousness of existence, he comes to a point I hope is within us all. A sort of rich acceptance of the brief history of our time.