Wednesday, August 20, 2014
ONE MOMENT, PLEASE! by CHERYL PIERSON
I don’t know about you, but when I write, I use the word “moment” quite a bit. I never really stopped to think about how long a “moment” was until my first editor for Fire Eyes made me take out a description of a moment—I had deemed it “a long moment”—she let me know that there could be no such thing as a “long moment”—it was either a moment or it wasn’t.
A MOMENT OF PRAYER
Ever since then, I’ve paid close attention to my writing about “moments”—because it dawned on me that I believed there were more than just one kind of moment. There are the long, awkward pause moments; the quick can’t-believe-I-said-that moments; the long steady stare moments that say “I saw what you did and I know who you are”. There are the moments in between the blink of a firefly’s light in the summer night, and the breathless moments in between the first assault of a tornado’s devastating winds and the eye of the storm. There are the moments that tick by into minutes, and then hours…and hopelessness; and there are the moments of despair that settle quickly only to be lifted by a smile of forgiveness or understanding.
A MOMENT OF REMEMBRANCE
I subscribe to a funny little newsletter called “Wisegeek” that addresses all manner of subjects, and their piece on “moments” was what prompted this post. Here’s what they had to say about it:
The amount of time in a moment is 90 seconds, or one and a half minutes, according to its usage as a unit of time measurement in medieval times dating back to the 8th century. This was based on the positioning of shadows on a sun dial, in which shadows moved along the dial 40 times in an hour. After the invention of the mechanical clock in the 13th century, a moment was no longer widely used as a specific unit of measurement. Going forward in modern times, a moment began to be used as a figure of speech to refer vaguely to any very brief period of time.
A MOMENT OF TRUTH
More about measurements of time:
• Time has been measured since at least 1500 BC, which is the first instance of records indicating time measurement through the invention of the sundial by the ancient Egyptians.
• The word clock comes from the medieval Latin word for bell and refers to the bell that was used to signal that it was time for monks to pray.
• The poet Miroslav Holub proposed in 1990 that a moment is the unit of time it takes a person to read a average line of verse.
A MOMENT IN HISTORY (BUD AND TEMPLE ABERNATHY--THE YOUNGEST LONG RIDERS EVER)
So now that you know what a moment really is, what do you think? Would you define it the same way? How would you measure a moment in your writing? Would there be “long moments”? “Fleeting moments”? “Awkward moments”? I’m of the mind that there can be many different kinds of moments—but it’s clear, not everyone agrees. What do you think?
A PRECIOUS MOMENT--SOLDIER SEES HIS DAUGHTER FOR THE FIRST TIME