A tip for time travel

I keep dreaming up stupider and stupider ideas for the ending of The Return of Flipka.  My latest had her time traveling from 1978 to 2016 as a part of an FBI plot to stop the presidency of Donald Trump  and yes, aliens were involved. Obviously I’m in a slump.  If the weather were better I’d forget my writing gig and go down to the teahouse and paint.  But the teahouse has no heat.

I write this sniveling, whiny post while listening to Rachmaninoff, someone so gifted that he could not possibly have ever suffered from writer’s block.  Or so one would think.

Of course, he did. As a young man he needed therapy for a depression that plagued him for four years and came and went  throughout his life. One of his most famous pieces, The Bells, was inspired by another famously depressed artist, Edgar Allen Poe. 

I don’t know nearly as much about classical music as I’d like but luckily my husband once belonged to one of those CD of the month clubs. I don’t know why as most of the hundred or so CDs he received are still wrapped in plastic but his loss is my gain. So now I’m going through composer by composer and trying to learn something about each one.

First I was hooked on Bach (whose birthday is coincidentally today).  His compositions aren’t as rhapsodic and soulful as Rachmaninoff but it is possible to listen to them over and over again. Try listening repeatedly to Rachmaninoff’s  Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, I dare you.  That piece is so achingly romantic it’s been used as the sound track for many a movie, including Somewhere in Time

In this movie, for those of you who haven’t seen it, Christopher Reeve is a playwright who’s approached after his debut show by an elderly woman who hands him a pocket watch and says “come back to me.” He forgets about the incident until, while on vacation, he becomes obsessed with the portrait of a woman who lived in the early 1900s.  Many plot convulsions later he manages to hypnotize himself and go back in time and meet her. Unfortunately he can’t stay back in time forever.  He has to return to present day where he finds out his true love has just died of old age. After this point the plot goes into an infinite loop of past and present spinning like tops and all because of a little self-hypnotism. 

Okay, I guess my time travel idea for the Return of Flipka is not so crazy after all, is it?  (yes, it is!)

36 thoughts on “A tip for time travel

  1. You probably know about Vaughn Williams and Arvo Part, but I mention them just in case. Check out “Lark Ascending” by Williams and here is a scene from “Mother Night” with Part as the soundtrack and then there is a familiar face in the crowd. Thanks. Duke

    1. Vaughan Williams ‘Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis’ is mind blowing. A bit random, I know, but you strike me as the kind of person who would enjoy it!

  2. I wouldn’t abandon the time travel idea, Jan. I mean, the angst and confusion are built in, and the plight of the Trump guy – well, you would inform and entertain us, and it would flow so naturally from you. Does Lopinsky go insane and join up with Trump? What’s going on with the mysterious Cal? Is there partial happiness in the ending somewhere? Tune in …

  3. Time travel probably can’t work, but it’s always a fascinating plot element – done correctly and not like Bobby in the shower on Dallas’ season opener.

  4. A few years back we visited the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. It’s where they filmed many of the historical scenes in that movie. I wouldn’t mind using time travel to go back to that vacation because the hotel and the grounds and the food were wonderful. That being said, I don’t know if time travel will work in your book, but it’s a thought.

  5. I think you are in good company with the artists of the world; fear not spring is coming!
    I am not a Rachminoff fan but was pleasantly surprised to learn he wrote this piece – thanks adding the music! (My favorites, besides everyone’s favorite Mozart, are from the Baroque era like Handel, Vivaldi etc.)

  6. Fantasy readers enjoy fantasy, so you never know! I never saw the movie, but I’ve liked a lot of time travel books and movies, maybe I’ll see if it’s streaming.
    I love Rachmaninoff, too. LOVE. His work is brilliant. But yes, painfully evocative, not a light listen. Bach is amazing, but not something I choose to listen to.

  7. Composing the end of the book is one of the hardest things an author goes through, at least it has been for me. When the teahouse warms up it will all fall together.

  8. My ex-husband was crazy about Rachmaninoff and I am always pleased I recognize him, as I’m strictly rock n roll and I feel it classes me up to get the reference. I agree with the other comments urging you to explore the time travel idea–especially if nothing else is coming to you now. Don’t worry about an early draft being bad or good, just keep writing. You can’t fix a blank page, and sometimes just the process of writing brings new ideas.

  9. I loved Somewhere in Time and it made me swoon as a younger woman the first time I saw it. Thank you for telling us about your new direction for your Flipka book! You go, Jan!! 📣🎉

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