Today, the Nobody Writes It Better blog officially shut down. While I can pinpoint the reasons for this blog's short run, I do not consider our endeavor a failure. The 2007 Golden Heart finalists were the first finalists to conceptualize, create and carry out a group blog dedicated to readers. We united from three different countries and twice as many subgenres of romance. We will always be Bond girls in more ways than one; and in that spirit, we have elected to turn our management funds over to an RWA-sponsored scholarship fund to help writers in need achieve their dreams.
So InkyLuv, walkingman's Bond-girl name for me, is no more. I did, however, want to bring over my favorite post from the NWIB run before it disappears or is relegated to Google's cyber-vaults forever. Appropriate today, because as you read this, I'm blessed to be spending this beautiful day with my Dad. Love you, Dad.
(original post 9.16.09)
People who adore time travel novels cite different reasons. To some, they are the ultimate fish-out-of-water story. For others, the fictional journey is a classic game of “what if” with no boundaries, allowing the reader to revisit her life choices in a safe, fantastical way. The endless possibilities are enough to keep a writer’s idea book filled for three lifetimes. What compels me to write time travel stories, however, is one question:
How can a moment, a single thread running the length of our life’s tapestry, be so powerful and yet so fragile?
Before I was born, my father negotiated the sale of cattle, Brahma bulls more often than not, all over the world. He traveled extensively to Central and South America, often to remote agricultural areas accessible only after days of harsh overland travel. On occasion, the wealthiest landowners would commission pilots to fly him from major airports to their property on a single-engine Cessna. We all laughed during family slide shows at the 1960s pictures of him sharing expensive cigars and guaro with men who looked straight out of a drug cartel movie. It never occurred to me to ask why my father had stopped his travels abroad, why he took a job in another state, why he never really spoke about those days unless prodded. It never occurred to me to ask until someone mentioned he’d done what few can claim: He’d survived a plane crash in the Andes.
Low visibility. Pilot error. Maybe a combination. But to hear him describe how a mountain can rise up out of a dense fog bank, the precise sound of a struggling engine, the men in the cockpit who shared little common language but the greatest fear of human nature and how they overcame it all to help each other once down leaves this writer without words every time. The hour my father and I spent together on a drive through the Texas Hill Country last summer, him reliving every detail so someone would know, was a defining moment in our relationship. A true gift. A shared understanding of that one powerful thread that wove into the man he became and the fragility of all that moment could have unraveled.
To me, this is the heart of a time travel story. It is history and present and future intertwined in a way we may never fully realize until the tapestry is complete, much like our lives. It is the realization that one missed bus, one false move of the rudder, one single moment in time has the authority to change everything that comes after. It is the gravity of how that vulnerability affects our human condition.
Your turn. What do you believe is the heart of a time travel story? And, more fun than that, what is the most amazing/important thing ever done by one of your ancestors?