Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Out of Time

I'm now rereading Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce, prompted by the Harriet/Hatty character within (though ours will be a Hattie, we think, when she's at home). And the book is more pertinent to my current experience than I would ever have imagined, though it could be said that my mind is so mushy and needy that I could be identifying with pretty much anything right about now. But Tom's isolation speaks to me, and his insomnia, and the secret world he creeps about in at night when everyone else is asleep. The secret world wherein the clock strikes thirteen, and I feel like I've been there lately, up with the squalling baby who refuses to eat properly or be satiated. "Only the clock was left, but the clock was always there, time in, time out."

I loved this book as a child, absorbed as I was by all stories of time travel. From Back to the Future to Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer, and A Handful of Time by Kit Pearson, and many more I've surely forgotten. It's odd because I've never liked science-fiction or fantasy in my fiction, but this one element of genre fiction, I've always found so irresistible. Perhaps because the alternate world it plays with is still the very one we live in, which is really the only one that ever interests me, however out of time.