by Christos Polydorou
The second part of To The Lighthouse, the novel that made Virginia Woolf famous in her time, entitled Time Passes, is told from the perspective of time passes. The camera pans out, if you will, and we see the characters at a distant, sometimes in slow motion, in others all the moments of their lives are distilled into photographs, at a time lapse. One of the characters is mentioned to have died, as well, and the shock of the insouciance of how this line is set up as opposed to a dramatic climax has stayed with me, and has made me rethink how to write major events in my own writing without being clichéd or melodramatic or just plain insensitive about the whole thing. Step back and take a wider perspective, is what Woolf has shown me to do, a trick which I also use in life, from shopping for groceries to asking someone out on a date, always step back, and try to see it from the perspective of time. Because there is the answer to the questions, What on earth do I do next? How on earth could I choose? Did I just feel the earth move under my feet?