Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Thought About Time

I don't know why it has taken me nearly 60 years to get to John Steinbeck's "East of Eden." I think I was probably, subconsciously at least, scared away by the bleakness of "Grapes of Wrath," which I read in high school, although several years ago, I read "Travels With Charley," which is a marvelously funny and interesting book. Anyway, my reading group decided to read "East of Eden," and it is a wonderful book. This morning I read the following passage, which struck me as a perfect insight:

"Time interval is a strange and contradictory matter in my mind. It would be reasonable to suppose that a routine time or an eventless time would seem interminable. It should be so, but it is not. It is the dull eventless times that have no duration whatever. A time splashed with interest, wounded with tragedy, crevassed with joy -- that's the time that seems long in memory. And this is right when you think about it. Eventlessness has no posts to drape duration on. From nothing to nothing is no time at all."

5 comments:

smuggy said...

A deep insight, to be sure. But perhaps it would be more accurate to say, "From nothing to nothing there is no memory"? Like you, I have never read "East of Eden" (though I have seen the movie) but enjoyed "Travels with Charley" immensely.

Amishlaw said...

Again, I don't know how I overlooked "East of Eden" all these years, but it is a wonderful book. Go get it and read it immediately.

Patry Francis said...

Tried to leave a comment on this post before. Don't know whether it was deleted or just invisible. Anyway, like the Steinbeck quote a lot.

Anonymous said...

So interesting! I too missed reading East of Eden years ago but just this past year it was chosen by a book club member. It was quite a remarkable book but I certainly didn't remember the quote.

Off subject: Have you seen Matchpoint? Quite good and more the tone of Crimes and Misdemeanors which I really want to see again. I'd be interested to know your comments on that one.

Becky

Amishlaw said...

Patry, I would never delete your comments. I don't know what was going on but comments weren't showing up although I didn't change any settings. I finally changed the setting so there would be a popup box and then they started appearing.

Becky, is Matchpoint the new Woody Allen movie? If so, it's only in town for a week and I had a choice to see it or Brokeback Mountain today, so I picked Brokeback Mountain. I'll try to get a report of Brokeback Mountain soon. I really liked Crimes and Misdemeanors too. I think it's my favorite Woody Allen movie.