“Describe your book…” my formidable cousin wears a challenging look on his face: “in two words.”
“That’s impossible!” I gasp. How can anyone describe anything in TWO WORDS? I lose him for a minute while another of his guests commands his attention.
We are standing in his garden in the Malvern Hills where thirty of us are celebrating his golden wedding anniversary. I haven’t seen him for eleven years… and true to form he’s testing me. He always has done! The ten years difference in our ages dictates our relationship, but we have remained firm friends. A brilliantly clever man, he can be hard to take: shrewd and ultra-critical. Yet this is the man who has just had us all collapsing with laughter during a speech in which he described how he wooed and won his long-time, long-suffering wife. So I become fascinated by his question, it remains stubbornly in my mind until I can find an answer. I think long and hard, subsequently, about how to describe ‘Losing Time’ in two words before the answer shines out in its obviousness. ‘Losing Time’ is about just that: losing time.
The novel relates many of the kind of experiences many of us face in our lives: wrong decisions, betrayal and events which take entirely different turns from those we expect. The story also delves into stranger, more fantastic possibilities in which great gaps in time are created, but behind the plot lies a certainty that the passage of time is irreversible. Every day – every hour – which passes is lost and cannot be regained. Meeting my cousins again after an eleven-year gap is a stark reminder, as well as a nudge to the future: will we all last another eleven years? Which of us will be gone by then? The simple message in all this is, of course, ENJOY THE MOMENT!
We linger over fifty-year-old photographs, laughing and missing our parents, aunts and uncles no longer with us. I subsequently remark to my husband that a lot of the fun they brought to a family gathering seems to have disappeared along with those gentle, self-deprecating people who never failed to find humour in the most difficult of occasions – or do we live in more serious, mundane times?
My cousin’s question now forgotten, he returns to me and promises to read my book.
“You won’t like it,” I tell him, knowing him to be a reader of more stuffy, serious tomes.
“How do you know?” He protests, laughing. “I’ll try it, anyway.”
I remain certain he won’t read it, but it lies for a moment on the table for all to see, and maybe a more sensitive soul will pick it up and decide to have a go. Time will tell!
And time, of course, is what I am still mulling over as I continue editing my second work ‘Stopping Time’ which I hope to publish very soon. Now, how do I describe that in two words?