Tag Archives: #time travel

Changing What Might Have Been

War Is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things

If you were around during the Vietnam War, maybe you remember that oft seen refrain. Posters, bumper stickers and more. There really is no good war. Some religions say there are just ones–not necessarily good. Inevitably, the innocents suffer. So do the people fighting in them. Oh, it is true that collectively there may be self defense—as in one-to-one self defense when one is attacked, instead, defense of a community or a nation.

Soldiers who fight in war see and do terrible, inhuman deeds. They suffer PTSD from the memories they relive at prompts that occur in daily life. So do the survivors of the war—those who lost friends and loved ones or were themselves victims. It used to go by other names, shell shock, war neurosis and more. It’s all the same and not just from war-related events—rape, murder, and more.

I didn’t suffer PTSD after a year in Vietnam—I wasn’t in combat nor did I witness it. I came close, but not close enough. My brothers had far different experiences from me during the Korean War. One served as a radar operator in Hawaii for two years. The other saw combat as a platoon sergeant in Korea. The former suffered not at all, of course. The other became an alcoholic. The first had a family and retired from a successful career at a major American corporation.

Time for another visit with Derek. If I were Derek, could I go back and perform a reset on my deceased oldest brother? What might he have accomplished had he not died of a heart attack at 48? Overweight, a smoker and a 20-plus-year alcoholic that drank a fifth of whisky each day. He had a brief stint of sobriety lasting nearly two years before relapsing. He had a girlfriend from the past who he reunited with during the booze break. They might have married had he never used tobacco and alcohol to mediate memories of life at war—and the nearly simultaneous death of his father from cancer.

I don’t know, today, what his life might have been. I won’t know next month or next year. But I will write about it. Perhaps in the Derek novel, with some changes to my brother’s circumstances and connection to me. Or I might come up with an answer in the Buddhist fiction series that I will start sooner. Consider the correlation of changing one’s life through Buddhism with that of meddling with the past via time travel. In Buddhism, one creates karma through thought word and deed. In other words, one makes causes that inscribe potential results in one’s life. Karma is not predestination. It’s constantly changing as one makes good causes and bad causes. Not only that, but the Buddhism which I practice enables one to eradicate (or change) negative karma. We have described how in other posts.

In the meantime, here’s a brief explanation. Let’s say you did something years ago that you regret. A deed that might result in loss of a job, a breakup of a relationship, a health problem, etc. You can’t change what you did. You can lessen or erase entirely the effects of such karma through connecting with your Buddha nature and the karmic storage in your life. Not quite traveling through time but the result is the same as going back and not doing what you did.

 

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Memories Are Made of This–and That

Dean Martin recorded “Memories Are Made of This” in 1955. To the iconic hit song  I added “and that.” Memories pop up in response to the oddest things. At least mine do. A doctor told her to drink ginger ale for a swallowing issue. Turns out it could be almost any other carbonated beverage. But it happened to be ginger ale that she had with lunch the other day. Pop (a Midwestern pun there) goes the memory. The Variety Bar and Café, 9th street and Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. Long since gone, but it used to be there.

What’s that got to do with ginger ale. I was drinking it, in that long gone bar. A memory that hadn’t been in consciousness for many decades. It might have been in 1955, as in Martin’s song. Yes, I would have been a child in the in the 50s. Things were probably a bit looser then. I wasn’t there alone. The unknown part is who was I with. My father died of cancer in 1954, when I was seven. He’d had it a few years already. More likely my oldest brother. Can’t say. All I remember is the bar, the ginger ale—some Juicy Fruit gum and at least a couple more people. Could have been the brother and his neighborhood friend.

Now, I could have posted this on my story blog, John Maberry’s Writing. I put it here because it’s a writing tip. Grab those memories and the word associations that prompted them. They work great for writing fiction or nonfiction. Writing for life is the parlance. Change the names, the places, etc. to protect the privacy of yourself and others—but make use of them. Everything doesn’t have to come from your imagination!

On the story blog, you’ll find a recent post, Derek is Back in Time. Derek is the time traveling protagonist in an SF novel to be published some years from now. I keep puttering away with snippets here and there while accumulating more knowledge from movies, TV shows and books featuring time travel. It’s a challenging thing. I believe I can do it well—no rush, I must take my time (ha-ha). The thing about it is, we time travel often—not physically, but through our memories. Think about that. My current conception is that this is an essential part of the storyline and the reality—if there is any, with regard to physical time travel.

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A Not So Recent Review

I’ll wind up the year with a review of a book I read a while ago, 11/22/63. Why post it now? Because we just recently watched the miniseries version on Blu-ray.  Despite the fact that author Stephen King had some involvement in the series, the book is better.  If you happened to watch that but never read the book, I  urge you to go back and do that–a warning, it’s 849 pages! Note: the miniseries changes the portal arrival date to 1960; the review reference to 1958 is correct.

11/22/6311/22/63 by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a story about what happens when Jake Epping, high school teacher, is introduced to a time portal surprisingly hidden at the back end of the pantry of Al’s Diner. Al, in his wisdom, doesn’t spend much time explaining the phenomenon beforehand to Jake; instead he urges him to check it out. Only after the experience with the portal does Al explain his purpose–Jake needs to go back in time to prevent the assassination of JFK in Dallas in 1963. The portal, coincidentally, takes one back only to one certain date in 1958 and no matter how much time spent in the past, the time elapsed in the future is only two minutes. The why of these functional elements is never explained, nor is it necessary for the story’s evolution.

I have read countless books that include or predominantly revolved around time travel. This may not be the best time travel book ever written, but it is very good. Without adding spoilers, it does a decent job of showing, not telling, the complications of traveling through time–clothing, money, time-bound cultural norms, etc. What it does a very good and very interesting job of is illustrating the resistance to changing events that the warp of time imposes on one who tries to do it.

Along the way, King treats us to an evolving love story, a partially factual and partially invented (the details at least) history of Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, his wife and “friends.” King does a good job developing the characters. What I found compelling about this book, is how it wound to the not entirely unexpected conclusion.

Not until the very end do we get a brief explanation of the portal from a gatekeeper of sorts, that Jake encounters each time he comes and goes. That this character is a gatekeeper is hinted at, but the foreshadowing is not heavy handed.

View all my Goodreads reviews

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