Wednesday, April 14, 2010

7 Myths of Time Travel #4

MYTH: Time travel is like teleportation: you pop from now to then.

Look, the second word in "time travel" is "travel." You got to get there. It takes awhile, and it takes work, which is why I haven't been banging around all of history, snitching priceless Egyptian artifacts and selling them on the black market. Well, that, and of course, because you have to travel to get anywhere, you can't time-travel your way through prison bars.

But here's the weird thing: it looks like you disappear and reappear. It took me awhile to figure out why this is true, and honestly, I'm still not sure I'm right. When I go to the future, I'm standing in my room while like six weeks go by. You're definitely there: if you're going any speed through time, you don't want to let anyone walk into you. It hurts. A lot.

Other people do catch glimpses of me from time to time. They always look confused, and they never remember seeing me. When I'm going forward in time, I think it works like this: although I'm there every second, I never was there the second before. I was there in me-time, but I wasn't there in zax-time. So I'm constantly suddenly appearing in front of them. That's why they always look confused.The moment they look away, I was never there.

When I'm going backwards, people will remember seeing me, but in every moment, they're seeing me for the first time. Seeing as I go by is the past for me, but it's the future for them. Once I get where I'm going, I turn around and we're going back over the same time I just traveled through, but I'm not there. I mean, yeah, I passed through 2:31pm, but by the time I get back to 2:31pm coming the other way, I'm long gone. I'm at a different place in me-time. Being there at 2:31 is in my past. Everyone around me is at the same place in me-time, so they don't see me either.

I suppose I should explain that me-time isn't really about me. I probably should call it "meta-time," but I didn't know words like "metacognition" when I was eight, and now, well, I've been calling it me-time for eight years, it's kind of stuck.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

7 Myths of Time Travel #3

MYTH: You can become your own mother (or father)

Okay, so, in all honesty, I can't be 100% sure about this one. I mean, I'm sixteen years old, motherhood is not something I'm seriously thinking about. I do know that my mother isn't me. She doesn't have freckles, for one, and she's a horrible actor, so I know she's not pretending when she gets confused about time travel.

But I don't think it could happen, and this is why: I've never seen myself arrive out of past or future. I only meet myself if I go to the past or future. I think it's because the future that I could come back from hasn't yet happened--in me-time, as well as zax-time. And the past that I could come from is over and gone. I experimented with this when I was eight. I go back a week and say hello to myself, but I have no memory of that happening last week. I go forward a week and say hello to myself, and a week later it doesn't happen.

So where are all the me's that I have gone to see? My theory is that they're somewhere else in me-time. If I could travel in me-time, then I could come out of the past or future and see me. But I can't, and I don't want to. Traveling in zax-time messes with my brain more than enough.

At any rate, if an older me can't come out of the future, how can I be my own mother?

Creative Process

Just a weird little insight into my brain. So I had this time travel idea. I've been messing with it for awhile before I started posting it. I was getting to know the protagonist. So then I started writing a scene. I just had this idea. Suppose her time traveling isn't a big secret. Suppose some of her friends know. Then suppose she gets involved in fixing things for them. You know, like, "Oh my God, don't let me go to that party. I don't care, give my tire a flat, anything, just stop me from going. No, I can't tell you why. Let's just say it involves beer, Jeff from homeroom, and a really stupid mistake."

So in this scene I was writing, she had a test she was supposed to be studying for. What kind of test? Trigonometry? ("I've got a Trig mid-term tomorrow and I'm being chased by Guido the killer pimp") Nah, not Trig. Well one of the things I'm enjoying at school right now is teaching a class in Government. Yeah, that's it, Government. And I can pattern the teacher off a Government teacher I know. Yeah.

And then the teacher says, "What do you think would have happened to the Bush presidency if 9-11 hadn't happened?" ...what indeed? She's the fixit girl. Let's find out.

Not a cautionary, don't-mess-with-history-story, not a meddling-in-things-to-big-for-you story. No. What kind of responsibility would that put on you? If you could do prevent tragedies?

And what if someone eventually figured out that this same person was turning up through history and warning of disasters?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

7 Myths of Time Travel #2

See the first post in this sequence for an explanation of where this story snippet is coming from.

MYTH: When you travel in time, you can't take anything with you.

All I can say is, "Thank God this isn't true." Being sixteen is awkward enough without your clothes falling off all the time.

I'll say it again: time is just a dimension, just like space. This is how you take something back in time with you: you pick it up and carry it. Why is that such a hard thing to imagine?

Then there's the folks who say, wow, could you like, go back and get a dinosaur and bring it to the present? Right. Problem one: why the hell would I want to? Problem two: the dinosaurs are a like a million centuries ago. For a rough estimate, going a year is about like a mile. So going to see dinosaurs is as easy as, say, walking to the sun. Problem three: I can't pick up a dinosaur. Hello? Five-foot two. Arms like toothpicks. Twelve-ton dinosaur. See the issue?

Friday, April 09, 2010

7 Myths of Time Travel.

I've started playing with a story idea. I already have the title. The problem is, I have no idea what the story is about. I think the protagonist is a high school junior, but I don't know if it's about "how do I graduate and get a boyfriend while time-traveling," or if the fate of the multiverse is at stake. We'll have to see. But here's a bit of her talking:

MYTH: You can't change the past

Listen. It's been like a century since Einstein proved that time was another dimension, just exactly like space. Simply because most people have a hard time seeing and moving around in it doesn't mean it's some mystical immutable force. I can see from my porch to Mrs. McGruder's house, where her annoying little dog is barking at me. I can also walk over there with a bucket of water and drop the dog into it. I changed something in space. I can also go back to this morning, and lock the little dog in the garage, which will mean I can't dump it in the bucket this afternoon--at least not without getting it out of the garage.

Now, when I come back to my porch after dunking the mutt in the bucket, the dog is still wet. When I come back to this afternoon, the dog is still locked in the garage.

But here's the weird part. I remember along a different path than regular people. I remember my past: I remember traveling through time. Everyone else remembers their own past, which is when I lock the dog in the garage, and they have no idea that anything different had ever happened.

I think there's two kinds of time. Like, time is the fourth dimension, right? So maybe there's a fifth dimension, and maybe I go through that the way people go through regular time: can't stop or back-up, can't see where you're going. When I was a kid, I called it "me-time," because it's the time that I remember. Regular time, the fourth dimension, I called "zax-time." You know, after the Dr. Seuss characters that can only walk one direction? Except that Zax walk forward, seeing where they're going, and people in zax-time walk backward, they can only see where they've been.

I can't change me-time. But zax-time? No problem.