I nearly forgot it was time for another Friday blog, and it got me to thinking about time itself. There is that nagging feeling that Time is a man-made concept but whether it is Mother Nature or the brainchild of mankind that has us all wearing time on our wrists, it’s here to stay. One thing college taught me was that either you control your time or it will control you. I was no perfect student and I had to struggle to get whatever grades I earned be it an A, a B, or a C or a D. None of it came easy. But man did I get a lesson in time management. I worked like a dog for three years and had a job and hit the books, mostly to work off those poor early grades received during that little period of adjustment. At any rate those first three years I had no time but time to study…no time for anything else. I could not frivolously waste time, and as a result, I used time wisely and well.
Then came my senior year and Kent State happened, and as a result our campus at Northwestern was suddenly afire with protests, and rightly so. However, classes were so disrupted by the political climate and turmoil that students began disappearing from classes in great gobs of numbers and this frightened authorities and administrators who quickly brainstormed the situation and came up with a lame idea -- The T-Grade. This was a grade that a student could take that said he or she was too involved in the shutting down of the Vietnam war and other such political issues as kept him or her out of classes. As there were only a handful of students showing up for months, it was offered, this T-Grade to all of us. I had been on the picket line with others and to me at the time, the special grade made sense. To make a long story short, I took the T-Grade and stepped out of a couple of heavy duty classes that I wasn’t doing to hot in anyway. Pretty soon the heated atmosphere settled and calmed and I found myself with far too much time on my hands as I was also now not working. I had so much time on my hands, in fact, that I was taking some days out…actually going out to that big big lake that washed right up to the campus--Lake Michigan--and soaking up some sun and swimming in the surf, right along that same beach where once Charlton Heston had played Julius Caesar as a jet plane flew over.
Let me tell you that suddenly I thought I had all the time in the world to study for my other classes. It was the first time during my entire school career that I could recall when I did have too much time on my hands. I thought I could study out at the beach or in the park or in the coffee shop. What was the rush? What I learned was that having too much time on my hands, I frittered it away at the same rate we all fritter away plastic money when we have a card with room on it. It was a devastating state of affairs and it ought to have a name. Mo’ Time Than Necessary…000Overly Overwhelming Time? An amount of time beyond necessary to do something that one needs to do…Procrastination is not even the same thing.
Since that rude lesson of my senior year at university, I’ve always been extremely conscious of time and just how much one can get done--say on a novel or in research for a novel--if one controls his time. Again there are those among us who are controlled by time and get nothing done in a day, and there are those among us who control our time and get a whale of a lot accomplished in a day…except when it is time to treat yourself to a day at the beach.
And if you go, do take a copy of Dead On with you. The book is up for preorder now and ought be available by July 18.