It is a week of transitions, epiphanies and firsts. All involving time travel. Imagine that.
For the first time in my life, as in ever, I went to a movie alone. Not just any movie, mind you, but The Source Code. I could not have picked a better lone-virgin movie. No one saw me drool at the budding action star Jake Gyllenhaal is becoming. No one crunched popcorn in my ear and spoke at crucial turning points. No one grumbled “I don’t get it” at me while stumbling out into the blinding sunlight. No one nudged me by the elbow, a Captain Obvious, to say, “Oh. My. God. This is what you write.” The other lone-cinema guns and I strapped in for the long haul to a short conclusion: The Source Code is beyond awesome. At least by Vortex standards. It’s impossible to review this movie without spoilers, so I offer up something here that’s spoken to me this week. A reversal of sorts. From the end product to the first thread. I traced the backward journey from production to pre-production to casting to green light to screenwriter, for therein lies a map for a similar journey, not to film but to novel. And not just any novel. A great novel.
I know Hollywood and New York publishing cycles are polar. When one is up, the other is down. But time travel threads within other genres do not seem to follow this pattern. If you look at the television shows and films involving time travel in the past five years, there is a small, yet consistent presence even vampires can’t touch. I’m not sure it will ever be “over”. Too much of human nature rests on the possibility of what-might-have-been. The desire for a reset button.
I needed to read about the project in its organic form. To know that screenwriter Ben Ripley didn’t have it all figured out in the first draft, or even the fifth. I needed him to remind me to "Put character first. Don’t let the technology take over the story. Center your narrative on an emotional experience and let the science part of it be the ambiance."
It so happens this week, I’m in transition. Which project to dedicate myself to make it stellar? For a myriad of reasons, it is a difficult choice. After much thought and no conclusions, I offered it up God, angels, the universe, karma. Take your pick. I told myself I would look for a sign that would show me I was on the right track. I believe in signs. They're around us every day. We don't always pay attention. Today, like a gift, my sign came.
I’ve written about this traveling carnival before. Every April, it comes. And every May through March it is forgotten. On a road travelled infrequently, this carnival came to me today of all days, the morning after I asked for it. Ferris wheel glistening in the sun.
Here’s your sign.