In John Banville’s novel, Ghosts, the protagonist comes to live on a sparsely populated island and reflects on the slow pace of life there:
“Time. Time on my hands. That is a strange phrase. From those first weeks on the island I recall especially the afternoons, slow, silent, oddly mysterious stretches of something that seemed more than clock time, a thicker textured stuff, a sort of Seadrift, tidal, surreptitious, Deeper than the world. …This is a different way of being alive. I thought sometimes at moments such as this that I might simply drift away and become a part of all that out there, drift and dissolve, be a shimmer of light slowly fading into nothing.”
Now that I am once again living an island, Island Time is a real phenomenon. It feels like there is more time but the priorities for how to use it have shifted. It is more important to sit on the beach watching otters play than to be on time for an appointment; more important to cloud-gaze than to do chores.
So it is less productive in terms of paid labour, but more productive of relaxed charm, friendliness, and ease.
My art practice has responded to Island Time by allowing for more detailed, labour-intensive work that might take all afternoon for an almost unnoticeable addition. And it has led to artwork that might not be considered cutting edge by some – that might appear to belong to an earlier time. But on this Island removed from urban assumptions and pressures, my current work feels that it is aiming at something timeless or outside of time.