In fiction, to truncate time is to jump — or skip over — time in the story.
Authors truncate time because we readers don’t need to know every single minute in the character’s life.
Or every single hour. Or every single day. What the heck, we can skip whole months and years, if we want to, and the story goes on.
* The wet ropes kept slipping, so it took him about five minutes to wrap them around the ship’s metal bars…
* Within five hours, we’d broken down the sprawling camp and packed the two jeeps full…
* The next morning, even after the sun rose, it was still dark as the rain continued…
* After five days of driving the reluctant horses across the dusty plains, we rested…
* It took five weeks for the party of twelve to cross the range…
(Okay, you might not get away with five weeks… but if you’re writing/reading a War-and-Peace-type-of-story-thingy, hey, it might happen.)
Truncating time is tricky.
You have to pick and choose the place of your time loss with thought. You have to choose your amount time loss with care.
(It has to make sense.)
In our personal lives, though, truncating time doesn’t make sense.
We have to go through things, good and bad.
We can’t skip the hard parts (even though we’d like to).
(Oh, how we’d like to.)
And it never comes at a time that’s convenient.
Instead of truncating the time, we go through it.
Minute by minute.
Hour by hour.
Day by day.
Week by week.
Month by month.
Until the bad has passed, and we are okay again, in a new now.
We do get through.
The pain gets to be less.
We do find a new path, a new way.
(And it’s good.)
But in the middle, we wish for truncated time.
Think about those around you.
I bet you can be there for someone who wishes for truncated time.
And if you’re in the middle this,
of time you wish could be skipped,
reach upward and outward.
Find a way to give love. Because love, on any level, heals.
And healing takes time.