How many times today have you
checked the time? When you awoke? When you watched “The Today Show”? In the
car? When you reached the office? Over lunch? On your emails? While waiting for
dinner? En route to a movie?
It’s amazing how often we
clock ourselves in life – especially since, at one point, man did not keep time
at all. He did not wear a watch. He knew nothing about calendars.
He simply lived his life.
And then someone started
And the world changed
My new novel, The Time Keeper was birthed in this concept – man and time. It came to me one day when
I was watching a deer run across an open field. I was pretty bedraggled that
day, worn out, overwhelmed, feeling I had no time to get everything done, and I
saw that animal leaping along, and I realized it had no concept of the hour, no
idea if it was 2:30 a.m. or 8:45 p.m. – and more importantly, it didn’t care.
I began to think about the
days when human beings behaved that way. Were we better off? Before we started
counting time, we never worried about it running out. Yet now that we can
measure it to the atomic second, we are more consumed than ever with grabbing
it, elongating it, squeezing out every drop.
I pondered this concept.
And I began to imagine…
The result was, I think, the
most challenging yet creative book I’ve ever done, a new legend of Father Time
– not as an old skeleton, but as a young, curious man who measured the first
hour on earth, and was punished for eternity for doing so.
In my novel, this Father
Time, after centuries in purgatory for quantifying God’s greatest gift, is sent
back to earth to witness what his invention has wrought. Arriving in our
present era, he sees this overworked, warp-speed world, infatuated with its
minutes, and he comes to regret ever measuring the day.
He is given a chance to
redeem himself through a lonely teenage girl who wants to end her life, and a
rich old man who wants to live forever. If he can show each of them the true
essence of time, he can save his soul and fulfill his destiny.
Ever since the Tuesdays with Morrie experience, I have been acutely aware of lifespans, some blessedly
long, some tragically short. There is no rhyme or reason to why some live to be
100, and some never see 30. The one truth I have come to accept about it all is
a lesson that Father Time, in my book, must convey before his story is over:
There is a reason man’s days
To make each one of them
People ask me sometimes, “How
do you come up with your ideas?” The truth is, I hear a question in my head or
I see something that intrigues me - a deer running across a field, perhaps? -
and I set out to find the meaning of it all.
The idea that time runs out for
a reason is what The Time Keeper taught me. I keep thinking about the
story, long after I have finished writing it. That’s a good sign. I hope readers
feel the same.