Turn & Jump
Turn & Jump: How Time & Place Fell Apart
Before Thomas Edison, light and fire were thought to be one and the same. Turns out, they were separate things altogether. This book takes a similar relationship, that of time and place, and shows how they, too, were once inseparable. Before the railroads necessitated the creation of the standard time zones in 1883, timekeeping was a local affair. Small towns set their own pace according to the rising and setting of the sun. Our sudden interconnectedness, both physically and through inventions like the telegraph, changed our concept of time and place forever.
"Hyperactive moderns, running late and never quite catching up to their schedules, are apt to fret that there is simply not enough time in the day. Howard Mansfield would argue that there is too much time-too much consciousness of time, anyway, and too much uniformity in the way we think about it. Throw out your clocks, he advises in Turn & Jump, a series of essays on the cleavage of time and place." —Bill Kauffman, Wall Street Journal
"Mansfield's writing is lyrical and figurative, but clear and simple. On describing the town of Turners Falls, MA, where British colonists massacred Native Americans in 1676, and where the falls where salmon once spawned were dammed, Mansfield writes, Turners Falls is divorced from deep time, from the true history of the land. For thousands of years this place kept time by the salmon leaping the falls and the Indians fathering to fish. He tells readers he realizes why he was uncomfortable there: What I had felt on my first visit was the pain of divorce. This synthesis of history, sociology, and personal reflection makes Turn & Jump both contemplative (like wabi, which Koren tells us refers to the inward, the subjective) and informative (like sabi, which refers to the outward, the objective). Ranging from vaudeville (where the title comes from) to outlet damn on a small lake in New Hampshire to a family store in a small town, covering everything from the standardization of time to suit railroad schedules to the nonlinear view of time held by native peoples, Mansfield guides readers along routes of inquiry well researched but never dry. Mansfield is a great writer, and a great thinker. Read his book and you'll feel as if you're talking with your smartest friend." —Deb Baker's Book Blog