“I need to stop it from leaping any which way through time and space.”
-Emma Kubert and Rusty Gladd, Inkblot
The magical cat in Inkblot jumps through time and space, from world to world, and a magician sets out to learn how that works and stop the chaos. Hilarity, of course, ensues, and the covers for individual Inkblot issues show the cat appearing in unexpected places, like inside a magical potion mid-mixing or in front of a dragon’s glowering nose.
I’ve been reading lately about different understandings of time and space: different definitions of what they “are,” and different experiences of how we live them. And now this cat is happily appearing and disappearing through those readings and thoughts. Noticing the travels of inkblot’s velvet feet helps me notice time and place blurring together in my experience. Right now I’m back at my kitchen table in Illinois, for instance, but I know that some of my family on the West Coast will read this, and so will a friend in India, so while I’m typing inkblot steps from this room to those rooms and back again. As in the graphic novel, the cat leaves temporary portals between worlds, and so in its track I can for a moment follow along.
I’ve been noticing this leaping through time and space especially when I’m lying in bed. A particular pool behind the rocks of a beach in California (and the waves through it), a sycamore in a nearby park (and the shade beneath it), the set of a TV show I’ve been watching (and lying on the couch with my partner)—I move between these, or feel close to all of them at once. In general (especially when “trying to fall asleep” so that I can be “well rested” and “ready for the day”), I try to discipline my mind, to control the leaping cat. Lately I’m more interested in the movement, in what the magician sees as “chaos”—in being my own mischievous furball leaping through time and space.