Time is tricky. We spend our days reveling in the past or dreaming of the future, while the present whispers by unnoticed. We wish for more hours in the day and, in moments of stunning bliss, hope that time will stop altogether. Our memory and sense of time can fail us, or save us.
As writers, we try to make sense of life but often take the tool of time for granted. We’ve been told that time marches on, that there’s no turning back. But aren’t we in charge, at least on paper? We have the awesome gift to manipulate time: to rewind, skip ahead, press pause. Isn’t this kind of freedom what we seek when we come to the page?
We know; it’s scary to depart from something as fundamental as the idea of linear time. Luckily, we’ve got a primer for you. Craft essays are a great way to learn an author’s techniques…and how to steal them for your own work.
This issue, our essays explore two authors’ unorthodox treatment of time:
- Beth Clary’s essay, “Robb Foreman Dew’s Use of Time in The Evidence Against Her,” explores how characters’ biases and individual personalities color and reshape the past through memory.
- Gina Warren examines the power of unconventional time structure in her essay, “Cyclical Return and Dynamic Development in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things.”
We hope these essays will inspire you to see time as a valuable tool, and give you the courage to pick up the remote and play with the clock in your own work.
Happy reading and writing,
Kate Gorton and Reuben Hayslett
Craft Essay Co-Editors