The Moving Edge

By the time you read this book, events dominating the present news in the world will be history. Mostly we are living in ordinary time—then something happens, a break with what we expected or thought predictable. We pass into the extraordinary, into story. Once across the threshold we find suspense, crisis, resolution, closure or lack of closure, the conventions of oral and written stories that correspond to shaped time in experience. Love and loss, illness and recovery, departure, return, triumph and disappointment: if we are undergoing these shifts of position then we might describe ourselves as being in a story. Ordinary time, by contrast, leaves us stranded in routines, habits, timetables—the familiar. In story-worlds our sense of the moving edge of time reaches uncomfortable heights, becomes intense, threatens to overwhelm us. All of us live at the moving edge of time. In fiction, drama, poetry, writing enacts that sense of an edge. Writers in the creative genres give a consistent emphasis to the moment, the moving edge, in subjective experience.

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