Life and seconds – slowly working up the courage.

Here’s a mini-confession (and it annoys me that it feels like a confession at all, because I don’t think it should): I’ve been writing a lot of fanfiction this past year.

Like. A lot. A frankly embarrassing amount. Or anyway, I am embarrassed by it.

It’s been a rough year. This stuff has become incredibly important to me, so I want to write about it here on my writing site, but I’m very nervous, so I’m still trying to get myself together enough to do it without being convinced that everyone will conclude that I’m unprofessional for putting so much time and effort into this when I could have been writing things for which I could be paid, and they will never speak to me again and never publish my things anymore and shun me at cons.

This is silly – I hope – but I still feel that way.

However, how I tend to manage things like this is to close my eyes and jump. So soon I’ll probably go ahead and do it, and damn the consequences. The shunning and whatnot.

In the meantime, here’s a piece of the most important one, because I was just rereading it. Because.

He measured his life in weeks.

That was wrong. We divide our lives up in all kinds of ways – decades, years, months and weeks and days, and there are those few of us fortunate enough to look back and count one full century – and each incremental measurement is a form of perception, a way of knowing, but the truth is that lives are lived and should therefore be measured in seconds.

Seconds are all it takes for everything to change.

Seconds to meet someone, to speak to them. Seconds to start down a road you don’t even realize is there, seconds to get into something and have no idea what you’re getting into. Seconds to hear a voice, touch someone’s hair, skin; seconds to inhale and breathe them in. Seconds to break something open, something you’ll never be able to close. Seconds to see something and never see anything the same way again.

Seconds to look at someone and see only them, and never want to see anyone else for the rest of your life.

There’s a story – not this one, but you may know it. Death is in that story, and one day, accompanied by her brother, she does her work. Makes her rounds. She visits people, she takes their hands and leads them away, and one man gets philosophical about everything. He looks around and says that he had quite a run, didn’t he? Fifteen thousand years, in fact. That’s pretty good.

Death tells him that he got what everyone gets. He got a lifetime.

We only get one of those, and it’s wild. And it’s so precious.

Because it’s seconds long.

2 thoughts on “Life and seconds – slowly working up the courage.

  1. Jenna Bird says:

    I don’t quite remember how I got here, but I’m glad I did.

    Neil Gaiman is an author I hold a deep respect for and I think he had some good things to say that might be applicable here. I don’t have quotes offhand, but I know in all his writing advice, he admitted to rewriting stories he loved, sometimes just copying them. And there seems a simple beauty in that.

    I have my own love-hate relationship with fanfiction, but I don’t think that playing in it makes a person unprofessional. People who think it does… probably need to pull their nose out of a crevice of one nature or another. Writers need their playgrounds.

    …but you don’t need some rando person on the ‘net to tell you that. 🙂

    This excerpt was amazing and thank you for sharing it. I can’t say enough. Thank you.

    “Seconds to break something open, something you’ll never be able to close.”

    The very essence of “And before I knew it…”

  2. arzoo11stardust says:

    When the seconds exceed our count…we take up other means of measurement. But because seconds is where everything begins…its a fundamental unit. The basic measure of time.

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