Live Virtual Group Session: 7pm EST April 23rd 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session! This Wednesday evening we had over 35 participants connected to us from across the United States, with some joining from Colorado, California, and Texas, and international visitors from India and Tokyo!  There were many first timers and we really appreciated their willingness to jump in to the activities and share their work.

Our text was: “I Have a Time Machine” by Brenda Shaughnessy, posted below. After hearing the poem read aloud, the group discussed the ways the references to time in the text allowed us to reflect on our own memories and the connections they make for us between ourselves and the people and places we have encountered.  

Our prompt was: “I have a time machine, but…” Participants’ written responses to the prompt ranged from the very individual experience of sifting through one’s memories of a specific event all the way to larger commentary about universal fears, desires, and experiences that we share when we evaluate past choices and their impact on our futures. The discussion after hearing the creative works shared was rich with observation about the commonalities and unique features present in the writing.  As always, we were grateful to everyone who attended and encouraged by the openness and support that all of the participants conveyed to one another throughout the session.

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Please join us for our next session: Saturday, April 25th at 2pm EST, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!

I Have a Time Machine

But unfortunately it can only travel into the future
at a rate of one second per second,

which seems slow to the physicists and to the grant
committees and even to me.

But I manage to get there, time after time, to the next
moment and to the next.
Thing is, I can't turn it off. I keep zipping ahead—
well not zipping—And if I try

to get out of this time machine, open the latch,
I'll fall into space, unconscious,

then desiccated! And I'm pretty sure I'm afraid of that.
So I stay inside.

There's a window, though. It shows the past.
It's like a television or fish tank.

But it's never live; it's always over. The fish swim
in backward circles.

Sometimes it's like a rearview mirror, another chance
to see what I'm leaving behind,

and sometimes like blackout, all that time
wasted sleeping.

Myself age eight, whole head burnt with embarrassment
at having lost a library book.

Myself lurking in a candled corner expecting
to be found charming.

Me holding a rose though I want to put it down
so I can smoke.

Me exploding at my mother who explodes at me
because the explosion

of some dark star all the way back struck hard
at mother's mother's mother.

I turn away from the window, anticipating a blow.
I thought I'd find myself
an old woman by now, traveling so light in time.
But I haven't gotten far at all.
Strange not to be able to pick up the pace as I'd like;
the past is so horribly fast.

Brenda Shaughnessy,
"I Have a Time Machine" from So Much Synth.
Copyright © 2016 by Brenda Shaughnessy. 
Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press,

Narrative Medicine Book Club: April 23, 2020

Rieux and his colleagues, including the priest, witness the terrible death from plague of a young child. Rieux, in his exhaustion and grief, argues with the priest, who still believes that the plague is punishment for sin: “that one, at least, was innocent, as you very well know!” These pages are very interesting – Camus writes of how “superstition” and “prophecies” have taken the place of religion for many townspeople, these prophecies read with “as much eagerness as the love stories” found in newspapers “in times of health.” This resonated, as so many of us search the news for definitive projections of how this will all end, and so many people put forth theories and plans – both careful and reckless – to move forward. The priest, it seems, has been both changed and not by what he has witnessed; looking forward to discussing with you all the way Camus contrasts his second sermon with his first. 

FOR TOMORROW: Read to the end of section 4 in Part IV.