Time Being – Friday Fictioneers

Zylan sat on his pillow in his breathable white cottons with eyes closed. “Time doesn’t come and go. Time is here.”

“I need my keys.” Monica tossed around yesterday’s mail. “Can’t you at least help me?”

“Up. Down. Same thing.”

Monica humored herself thinking Zylan’s pores dripped rainbows.

“And I bet this seashell is still on the ocean floor,” Monica said, picking up the shell from the table to discover her keys. “What do you know?”

They met at a Starbucks when Zylan was Dylan. Coffee had been replaced by tea, and “D” with “Z.”

“Then” is “now” for the time being.

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Genre: Zen Fiction (102 words)

Photo Copyright: Douglas M. MacIlroy

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Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for her dedication to FF, and to Doug MacIlroy, who provided this week’s photo. I want to create my own still life now.

When I saw the clock in this photo, I wanted to write about time. This story was partly inspired by a book I’m reading called A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, which I highly recommend.

I’m sure I don’t do the subject justice. We are all “time beings.” I leave you with a quote to better define what this means:

Do not think that time simply flies away. Do not understand “flying” as the only function of time. If time simply flew away, a separation would exist between you and time. So, if you understand time as only passing, then you do not understand the time being.

 

To grasp this truly, every being that exists in the entire world is linked together as moments in time, and at the same time they exist as individual moments of time. Because all moments are the time being, they are your time being.     

Dogen Zenji, Uji

It’s said that one fingersnap equals 65 of these moments!

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71 thoughts on “Time Being – Friday Fictioneers

  1. Making Dylan into Zylan is inspired. I swear if I ever get another cat I’m stealing that name. Sorry.

    This might be the first (and only?) time I’ve actually caught Friday Fictioneers on a Friday. The sound of one hand clapping.

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  2. Dear Amy, I love your story and time, to me, is the largest quirk in the universe. But, I’m sure glad it’s real – or maybe a fiction of our imagination. I don’t know – don’t care. I am AWARE of time, and that’s all that matters. Zylan is a good name for a cat – Dylan is a good name too. Thanks! Nan 🙂

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    1. Time is the quirkiest thing, isn’t it? And there’s nothing we can do about it, except name our cat Zylan. 🙂 I think if I get another cat, I’m going to name him Zylan, too. There can be more than one Zylan cat, right? Thanks, Nan. Thanks for you great comments.

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  3. This is a lot to absorb in deceptively simple prose, Amy. I think about the tricks of time such as how everything can seemingly plod along in routine fashion day in and day out, but then, seemingly in an instant, there’s great change. That’s when time becomes hyper real to me and I find myself thinking about how everything was routine a short while ago. I do think that time can very easily upend. I also think the only thing constant is change.

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    1. Oh, thanks for you lovely, thoughtful comments, V. I appreciate you taking the time. When you consider that there are 65 moments in a fingersnap, things are always changing. You are living in the moment, even when you are still and sleeping. I think there’s comfort in a routine, but change will happen because our lives our intertwined and connected, and somewhere, somehow, we affect and influence each other. How different your day would be if you never saw or talked to anyone, and probably how lonely. At least after a long time of it. I thought my story was a little strange, but I wanted to put it out there in some way. Thanks, V!

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    1. I’m not sure it’s a real genre. In zen-like fashion, I kind of made it up! I think time is constant. That’s what I think. I don’t know a lot, haven’t studied it or anything, but I think it’s really fascinating. This book is really good too. The author is actually a Zen Buddhist priest, but it’s fiction.

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  4. Seems like Zylan is having his zen moment. I loved that quote and will leave you with one from Mitch Albom’s ‘The Time Keeper’

    “Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. an alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.”

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    1. I absolutely adore this quote. Thanks for this, subroto! I think we should all have a grand experiment and do away with time for a spell. How bad could it be? In the end, we would survive just fine.

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    1. It’s funny that a lot of people are feeling this way, Elizabeth. Zylan doesn’t seem to be very calming. It’s ironic, isn’t it? That wasn’t really intentional, but I would be upset if no one REALLY helped look for my keys, too. 🙂 Thanks for your comments.

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  5. A pondering post! Time is a strange and wonderful thing. I like that you’ve given me so much to think about in such a chill post. Still, I think Zlyan’s zen is a bit frustrating to Monica!

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    1. I like that you called this a chill post, Tiff. 🙂 Agreen Zylan’s zen is not very calming. Perhaps, Monica just tolerates and adapts. I think this is the challenge of being zen. It’s so hard to do. Personally, I’ve tried to be the river…and it’s hard to do.

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  6. I’m not seeing a future here for these two. Certainly I couldn’t face up to this kind of philosophising first thing in the morning. Quirky, though provoking piece Amy.

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    1. Ironic isn’t it, Bjorn? I think they both have to been in a zen state to get along. Maybe that’s too much to ask of an early morning. I’m just assuming it’s morning. 🙂

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  7. I read the quote twice and I STILL don’t get it.
    But I love that she thinks Zylan’s pores “drip rainbows.” And I love when I don’t quite understand something, but it leaves me wanting me more.

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    1. Aww, thanks Samara. That’s the nicest thing you could have said to me. You are not alone. I don’t get this quote either. It’s complex. I wonder if it’s possible for anyone to understand. It’s hard to wrap your head around it.

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  8. So much packed into this seemingly simple piece. Far more complex and thought provoking as one reads through, even a second time. I love the line about his pores dripping rainbows, made me smile. Made your point very clear about his personality vs hers.
    As for the quote at the end, I need more coffee and more time to think. Excellent post, Amy.

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    1. I love your comments, Audra! Coffee, I will always need coffee. I’ll never be a tea girl. I believe the same could be said for Monica here. Perhaps Zylan gives her solace when they are on the same wavelength. Relationships are complex, too. As for the quote, well, I could probably think about it for the rest of my life. I think the key is to not think too hard about it. Try to let it flow through you. 🙂 Thank you much.

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    1. Thanks, David! It seems to be the general consensus around her. Most seem to be annoyed with Zylan. I find that funny because it’s not all what I intended. Perhaps, it’s because there’s a conflict here. Maybe without a conflict, it’s smooth sailing or maybe not!

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  9. I’m left wondering how long ‘now’ with Zylan is going to last – blame my being stuck within conventional time boundaries. Great building of characters in this – Monica has the patience of a saint.

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    1. It is tough to rid oneself of the time boundaries. A true vacation would be one without clocks, or would it? Would I be dying to know what time it is just to know? Probably. Monica tries to have a sense of humor. Thanks, Sarah.

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  10. I loved how you skillfully wove the zen element into your story, and mixed in exasperation on the part of the female protagonist when she’s facing her blissed-out boyfriend (at least, he seems blissed out to me!) — and I love the focus on Time and Being.
    My favorite lines:
    “Monica humored herself thinking Zylan’s pores dripped rainbows.”
    and
    ““Then” is “now” for the time being.”
    Great dialogue and pacing.

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    1. This is a fascinating and confusing subject. That said, I’d love to be blissed out someday. I’m afraid it hasn’t happened to me! But I enjoy thinking about this time puzzle. Thanks so much for your lovely comments.

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  11. I feel like I’m back in college getting a refresher course in philosophy. All the what if’s about space and time. Sophisticated writing, Amy. I’m going to read it through a few more times. Hope you and your kiddos had a peaceful Monday!

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    1. I guess you didn’t know what you were in for, huh Anka? I try not to think about this too hard, because I may never make sense of it. It is fascinating, and one of these days, I’d like to meditate. Thanks so much, Anka.

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  12. For the time being, I think I understand, but that might change in the future. Or is there a future? “Time is here,” implies there really is not a past or future, only now, this moment. It never ends but just evolves into the next. I’m confusing myself. Either way, I love your story. It made me think. Well done! 🙂

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    1. Your explanation sounds logical. I realize as I try to make sense of this that as soon an explanation comes out of my mouth, it stops making any sense at all. If it makes sense to you, that’s all that counts, Lisa. Thanks so much! 🙂

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