Non-Linear Time: Editor’s Letter and TOC

(l-r back): former publishers Kathy Magnuson, Norma Smith Olson, Mollie Hoben; (front): Glenda Martin, current publisher Mikki Morrissette

It has been lovely to emerge from the pandemic isolation of the past year and reconnect with people outside my “pod.” One of those gatherings included the owners, past and present, of Minnesota Women’s Press. We talked about how, despite tremendous economic challenges for all of us during our tenures, the magazine has survived. We believe that is largely because the mission is bigger than all of us, with stories and a purpose that feminists around the state (and elsewhere) continue to be inspired by.


Another gathering was a living room conversation hosted by a friend who co-moderated with me monthly discussions that explored the mysteries of consciousness, space, and time. One of those in attendance talked with me about his studies with Maine-based Cynthia Bourgeault, an Episcopalian priest and writer. Bourgeault discusses interconnection and time using the metaphor of a freeway. Every individual driver can impact other drivers, even though they are in different cars spaced out over a great distance.

“The Common Good is served by keeping the traffic moving,” Bourgeault says. “Anything that causes anyone to stop or brake unexpectedly is going to have ripple effects, sometimes leading to several-mile backups. Any attempt to maximize individual gain at the expense of the whole is going to slow down the journey for everyone.”

When we recognize that all of our moments are connected — past to present, life to life — time is no longer merely a mechanical tick-tock, but an active and unpredictable river.

My personal belief is that time has a fluid, non-linear component beyond what our clocks and calendars measure. A river does not have one simple origin point and one specific end point; rather, there is an endlessly flowing current that connects everything in the stream.

Measuring a Life

When I consider time, I also think about the perspective Rebecca Newberger Goldstein offered in the philosophical biography “Betraying Spinoza.” In a portion of memoir, she reflected on a photo from her childhood at the beach, gripping the hand of her big sister. “The series of contiguous physical events has rendered the child’s body so different from the one I glance down on at this moment; the very atoms that composed her body no longer compose mine,” she writes. “And if our bodies are dissimilar, our points of view are even more so.”

Goldstein continues: “The sister whose hand I am clutching in the picture is dead. I wonder every day whether she still exists. A person whom one has loved seems altogether too significant a thing to simply vanish altogether from the world. A person whom one loves is a world, just as one knows oneself to be a world.”

The Cycles of Time

One of the essays in this issue comes from playwright Kim Hines, who regularly wrote a column for Minnesota Women’s Press a few decades ago. In 1999, she wrote an essay titled “White privilege leads to violence” that reacted to drive-by shootings in communities of color and mass shootings by mostly white men.

Hines pointed out that self-harm and self-destruction — from anorexia to shootings within a community — “is so common in response to self-hatred,” as is blaming others for how they are feeling. As she pointed out, if we don’t address the anger and trauma in our communities, these cycles of violence will repeat again and again.

The people in these pages remind us that this moment in time is very much connected to what came before and what will follow.

Tapestry — What Is Your Concept of Time?

LGBTQ+ — Ryann Daisy Swimmer: Undoing Heterotemporality

Healing Trauma — Trauma and the Chauvin Trial, a conversation with Mary Moriarty and Alexis Yeboah

Politics & Policy — Then and Now: Feminist Women in Politics

Politics & Policy — A Conversation With Cathie Hartnett and Mindy Greiling

Perspective — Kim Hines: Passing Through Time

BookShelf — Beaudelaine Pierre: My Mother’s Salmon-Pink Dress

Family & Home — Khadijo Abdi: Planning a Life

Spirituality Guide — Kristen Obarsky: On Being Timeless

Travel Guide — Miranda Moen: Architectural Roots

Art of Living — “Dry, Dry, Dry”