Friday, December 17, 2010

BlogBack #5: The Post Where I Apparently Have A Time Machine

The BlogBack series has shown that some of my best posts are ideas that have swam about in my mind for several months. Usually they aren't much more than a vague idea, but continue to grow and strengthen when given the room to exercise a bit (my brain provides lots of space). Today's spotlighted post originated from an idea that was designed for something much bigger (and given life much earlier than all my previous BlogBack posts), but eventually, broke away to become something rather different. I am going to reflect upon the creation of my post, Advice I'd Give To 13 Year Old Me.

It was a few years ago that I came up with the idea for a novel that was inspired by stories like It's A Wonderful Life or A Christmas Carol or Groundhog Day. A man who perceives that his life has gone to ruins is given the (supernatural) opportunity to redo his teen years. The big twist was that he would retain all his current memories, abilities, and knowledge (except packed into his youthful teenage body). Of course, he would initially see this as a huge advantage as he would already know certain events to expect and thus be able to prepare for them in order to benefit himself in the future. Since everything working out perfectly makes for a rather dull story, he would quickly learn that these old memories and current knowledge applied to his early 90s teen years is more of a curse than a benefit. There was a lot more to this idea (it was more of a supernatural thriller, where there was more global importance for his return to adolescence), but this was the part that really intrigued me. Almost everyone has regrets in life, or likes to ask the big question of, 'What if...". I've heard many people who'll ponder what would have happened if they knew back then what they know now. Almost always these people jump to the conclusion that things would have been a lot better if they had a chance to do it all again. The questions that kept coming back to me was, would it really? Did things turn out this way for a reason? And could too much knowledge about one's future be a detriment? And what is one willing to sacrifice from their current life in order to have a 'better' life? These were all questions that I thought were worth exploring, and got me rather excited to attempt to turn into a novel. In all honesty, it is still a novel I want to write (and is just a matter of stop shying away from it -- but as we've learned from the BlogBack series, my ideas always win out eventually).

As I said, this novel idea has been taking ownership over a small portion of my mind for several years now, which means I've had a lot of time to reflect upon it. I started thinking what if I was that man with the opportunity to change my teen years, thus impacting the rest of my life after. Were there things that I would do differently? Definitely. Would doing those things possibly risk altering things that I accomplished or have in my life now that I am proud of? Maybe. Is that risk worth it? Not sure. But after more and more reflection, it got me thinking about my current life. It made me realize that I have a gorgeous wife, dreams I am beginning to achieve, adorable pets that love me, amazing friends that I adore, a lovely little house that I own (along with the bank), and basically a life that I am proud to say is mine. Yeah, there are things that I could have done differently, but for the most part, these mistakes still led me to my current place, which is a rather spiffy place indeed.

This internal debate was what inspired my post of advice to a 13 year old self. The things that I thought would have been worth me knowing then. For the most part, letting myself know that all those mistakes and fears and blemishes weren't so bad. I turned out all right. Now, of course I'll never have a chance to actually talk to my 13 year old self, but it is probably good things to remind myself today.

This is another blog post that I had a lot of fun writing, and I am pretty proud of how it turned out. Feel free to give it a second (or maybe first) read, and give me your thoughts (or try your own). As for the novel, expect it in a bookstore by 2035 (give or take 20 years or so).

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