Imagine writing a story where you change a character’s choices so that the outcome wouldn’t include your own birth.
What if? What if?
This could come from existential anxiety, lapsed Catholic guilt or continued disgust over religious views about birth control.
At times I wish my Mother had a happier life with less poverty and mental health strain. Would I be willing to forfeit my own existence if she and her humble carpenter husband had the courage to defy church rules? I remember her stories about attending mass with a batch of clean but raggedly dressed offspring and observing other couples with their one or two well-attired children in their pews.
During sentimental moments, I wish I could travel back in time to help her.
Of course, we know time travel doesn’t exist else some crazy genius would have done this by now to prevent world wars, horrific abuses on humanity, environmental disasters and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. What a fucked-up world. Thousands of years of evolution, diplomatic exchanges, technological improvements and we still have this mess to hand over to our children. No wonder we have disillusioned youth.
When reading about or discussing time travel, my pretty blonde head spins and nearly implodes.
Back to the Future was one of my favourite movies with Michael J. Fox. The Huey Lewis and the News soundtrack rocked my world during my own time of young love. I got confused in attempts to follow the sequels.
I am intrigued by the statements of the creepy yet insightful Über-Morlock in the 2002 movie version of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine:“And what is time travel, but your pathetic attempt to try to control the world around you? Your futile effort to have a question answered? You think I don’t know you, Alexander? I can look inside your memories, your nightmares, your dreams. You’re a man haunted by those two most terrible words: What if?“
At dinner with writing friends recently, I described plans for a summer vacation trip to my Mother’s home town and my ideas for a creative non-fiction story. Some of the questions and thoughts are outlined in blog posts and Tweets from May and June.
I don’t know how far the story will go. I don’t know if I’ll end up doing some speculative fiction, time travel version to convince the single, younger version of my Mother to reconsider her decision and continue her life as an artist – or perhaps a nun. If so, would that spin off an alternate reality or that my siblings and I would not exist?
If I didn’t exist then how could I finish writing that story?
Thanks for dropping by. Post a comment about writing or time travel reading suggestions if you wish. Any that are off-topic will sent into oblivion.