I love playing with the idea of time travel.
I’m not a quantum physicist. In fact, attempting to wrap my brain around the quantum physics aspects of time travel gives me such a headache I have to read a Danielle Steel novel to make it go away.
So instead of trying to understand the science behind time travel, I watch movies, read books, and write about time travel from an artist’s perspective. How writing letters to your younger self is almost a multi-dimensional portal waiting to be entered, and how reading poems you wrote as a child is like opening a window to the past.
From the view of an almost 40 year old woman who can still smell spaghetti sauce boiling in a pot in her childhood home when she closes her eyes and really tries, time travel is this easy. It’s the second step in a yet-unproven three-step process.
1. Dress up in period clothes.
2. Imagine yourself there.
3. Lock yourself in a dark room with a cassette tape playing over and over again, “This is 1987. You are now in 1987. When you leave this room you will see 21 Jump Street on the tv and the latest issue of Teen magazine on the kitchen counter. You will be madly in love with Matt Heitzer. Suzanne is leaving a message on your answering machine. It is 1987. You are now in 1987.”
This is, at least, how the Christopher Reeve character in Somewhere in Time goes back in time to meet a long-dead woman he’s obsessed with (played by Jane Seymour). And frankly, it always seemed the most likely way for time travel to work.
(Up until today, I always thought the movie was loosely based on the story Time and Again by Jack Finney. But it’s not. The main characters use a similar process to get back in time in both stories, but the guy in Finney’s book puts a lot more effort into his preparation. He’s trained by the U.S. military for the project, in fact, and therefore, his time travel success is a lot more believable.)
The common overlap between my time travel theory and practice, and those of the quantum physicists’, I firmly believe, is that both are indeed possible, but have not yet been pulled off successfully.
I think the reason why so many of us are obsessed with time travel is not because of it’s magical-like inaccessibility; not because we are imaginative children longing to explore cities and places far off and forgotten; not because we are approaching middle age and overwrought by nostalgia and an urge to fix our past mistakes.
But because we understand somewhere deep down that time travel is possible and we are only one tiny step away from realizing it.
Like a fog-covered windshield, we need just to wipe away the moisture to see clearly where we are going and how to get there.