Writer and visual artist Eloghosa Osunde has a new monthly column in The Paris Review called “Melting Clocks,” in which she shares essays about time, art, and the senses.
In her first essay titled “Reality is Plasticine,” Osunde reflects on the passing of the last year and how it has changed her own perception of reality. Osunde shares conversations with her younger self as she interrogates the relationship between history, facts, and fiction. She explains, “A younger me has things to teach me about faith, about believing the yet unseen. I’ve been sitting next to her a lot.”
Osunde announced on Instagram that new installments of her column will be published every month for the first half of 2021.
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Here’s an excerpt from “Reality is Plasticine”:
I’ve always experienced time through what I now refer to as the timestack. Future on the past on the present. Ice, water, gas—all a matter of matter, depending. But last year, time happened inside Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory: hot iron melting on concrete, minutes leaking into the ground, the hands of time frozen in the faces of three clocks. Wasn’t that the first lesson that we all learned when the world shut down in March? Time is not real, urgency is fiction, whatever we’ve been told must be done right now can wait. We were all surprised. But I did spend some time noticing what people were surprised by. It was all different things. Some people were surprised by the fact that the world could stop; others by the fact that the world is cruel and governments are merciless; others by how little control they actually had; some by how ruthlessly death could sweep through a world that’s expected to keep spinning. I’d learned some of these things the hard way and it didn’t just break my mind, it ended the world for me, so I don’t blame anyone who shattered under the weight. It’s just—it’s not the first time. The roots of right now have wildly consistent roots…
Osunde’s column gives readers something to tide us over until the release of her debut novel Vagabonds, which is set to be published in 2022. We’re already looking forward to the next column!