We speak, and write, constantly about the elasticity of time. It tells us about moods, and about the power of moments. We complain that we don't have enough, and comment on those that seem endless.

Since I'm sure you're wondering where this is coming from, and where it's going, let me give you a little background.

My husband is a software developer. He belongs to that group of people who understand computers and programming as an intersection of art and science, and has been able to welcome both aspects in his life. Like any artist, this means that he runs his own projects on the side, so that the art stays fresh and personal instead of turning stale and stagnant under the demands of his employer.

For a while now, he's been working on building an evolution engine. I don't understand all of the details, but every now and then, he hits on a concept that fascinates me. On Thursday, he came home talking about the shape of time.

I majored in mathematics, and still harbor a love of abstract geometry.

In the middle of reading A Memory of Light, which plays with time in ways that remind me of Marion Zimmer Bradley's vision of Avalon, the two thoughts percolated together for a while, and I came up with these theories, based on my husband's observations that, in the first three dimensional planes – height, width and depth – shapes are exclusively made up of curves and lines. Circles, squares, cubes, cones, rectangles, spheres... There are no exceptions. They're all curves and lines.

So, he theorized, the same must hold true in the fourth dimension. Time, he claims, is made up of lines and curves. Linear time, and arc time.

So follow that.

A moment of inspiration can draw time out into a curve, giving us more space to create in the limited time we have, translating into more done.

Good conversation can pull that line of time taught, the shortest possible distance between two moments, leaving us wondering how the time could be gone already.

Maybe The Doctor's TARDIS runs on an abstract geometry engine, defining infinity as the outer edge of a circle, and straight lines as any simple (non-crossing) curves within that circle. The TARDIS could then start at any point on the arc of linear time, and jump across to any other point on that line, or any other time line.

Zimmer Bradley's Avalon was pulled away from time, so strongly arced that the people living there not do not merely experience time at a different pace than the rest of the world. Even the sun passes overhead more slowly.

Stasis, works similarly, but on a much smaller scale, placing individuals on that exaggerated arc, rather than whole locations.

What do you think? Do you live in linear time or in arc time?