Sunday Snippet: John Shirley

“Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get up close to them.”

Our perception of time is hardly constant and never reliable. I remember when I was still going through school, the two months that we would get off during the summer felt like they lasted forever. These days, those two months fly by in a blur, because most of us are continuing to work at our regular jobs through July and August. Not much is different, aside from the extra sun outside and the occasional weekend barbecue.

And yes, weekends are much the same way. When you begrudgingly go back to work on Monday morning, the weekend feels so far away, but you can see it in the distance. You can sense the freedom that it represents. Friday afternoon can’t come soon enough, but before you know it, it’s already Sunday night and you have to start preparing for another work week. What happened?

This is the point brought up by American science-fiction writer John Shirley, who is perhaps best known for novels like City Come A Walkin’ and the Eclipse series, as well as tie-in works like Bioshock: Rapture and Constantine. He recognizes that our perception of things can vary greatly based on our vantage point. The weekend sure looks nice when you’re looking at it on Monday, but its existence can be quite fleeting.

To this end, perhaps one of the best lessons is that we should always strive to live in the moment and make the best of our current situation. We have to stop working for the weekend and start enjoying our weekdays. While there is certainly something to be said about delayed gratification, we also have to recognize the tremendous value that the journey along the way can provide. Indeed, if we get too focused on staring at that rainbow in the distance, we may forget to smell the roses along the way.

We could miss something far better… and life is much too short to let that happen. Perhaps we should forget about the reward and simply immerse ourselves in the experience instead.