We are immortal, and do not forget;
We are eternal; and to us the past
Is, as the future, present.
— Lord Byron, in “Manfred”
When one of the seven spirits makes this comment to Manfred in Byron’s dramatic poem composed in 1817, Manfred replies “Ye mock me.”
While most people are not tortured by unexplained guilt to the point of calling spirits (supernatural rather than liquid) to help them forget, I wonder if they believe in an eternal now. Looking at immortality, we can say that which we see confirms it or denies it.
I see it confirmed everywhere I look, from nature to myths to science to intuition. Perhaps I’m a “glass is half full” rather than a “glass is half empty person.” If I have a bias in my writing, it’s in favor of forever. In “The Sun Singer” and “Garden of Heaven,” the eternal now is a constant whisper deep within these adventures.
While earth ties us down to the concepts of space and time, the eternal now presupposes no time and no space. Seeing this possibility beyond the illusion of physical reality is, I think, part of the human quest. Fortunately, in writing fiction, I do not have to prove that immortality is real or even that it’s real for those who think it’s real. My imagination is my guide, so I am content to whisper about the probabilities on the pathways my characters are walking.
My challenge as a writer is casting a strong enough spell with my words to keep the listener from saying “ye mock me” when he hears my characters whispering about forever. I don’t expect to change minds, for I am a storyteller with entertaining yarns. However, when a reader considers that there truly is something else on the other side of the illusion, I am well pleased.