New Job

I just started a new job on Tuesday, so I’m at the beginning of eight weeks of training. I’m learning a lot about cell phones.

I haven’t been writing a lot this week, but I’ve ridden my bike every day. Yesterday I got a flat and had to walk a mile before my wife rescued me. But otherwise it’s been very cool. Cold, actually. I need to get some gloves for my poor fingers.

Everything Has Always Been The Way It Always Was

I was watching a YouTube video where someone comically said they wanted to travel back in time to see dinosaurs. Brian Greene says it’s not mathematically impossible to travel back in time. But it is impossible to travel back in time, especially to long distant times, because here¬†was not here 65 million years ago. Let me explain.

You find a fossilized dinosaur bone from 65 million years ago, buried a few feet deep in your backyard. Get a time machine, set it for 65 million years ago, and poof! But what are you aiming for? If you aim for the plot of land you are standing on in 2014, you have to realize that the dirt you call terra firma didn’t exist 65 million years ago. It came from plants and eroded rocks and ash and all kinds of things that, for the most part, hadn’t even been born or created 65 million years ago. If you somehow lock your time machine to the fossil itself, the dirt down deep where the dead creature came to rest could have been mud, or a lake, or even an ocean 65 million years ago, so when you arrive you might be under a mile or two of water. Have scuba gear and a diving bell ready.

Another problem is that the Earth’s tectonic plates are always moving. So the chunk of land you’re standing on today could have been a thousand miles north or south or east or west in the distant past. You might have found your bone in Iowa, but turn back the clock 65 million years and you could be standing in Mexico City or Boston.

So what if you used GPS? Without satellites that would be useless. Even if you had an onboard mapping system for your time machine, what determines the GPS coordinates? Magnetic north floats around, changing locations, even experiencing¬†geomagnetic reversals every million years, give or take. So what about using due north as a point of reference? Well, since the Earth’s axial tilt is in motion, you’d have to account for the changes in that tilt over 65 million years, too.

A much bigger problem with time travel is that the Earth ‘s orbit doesn’t exactly repeat itself. We don’t find ourselves in exactly the same spot on the solar system map every January 1st. We get a little closer to the sun, a little farther away. Also, the sun is in orbit around the center of the galaxy, so even if you accounted for the changes in the Earth’s orbit, the sun would have been somewhere else 65 million years ago. As would the Milky Way. And, according to astro-physicists, the fabric of space-time itself is expanding, such that the distances between two set points in space are inherently getting farther and farther apart.

So if you traveled back 65 million years, you’d not only miss the Earth, but also the sun, possibly the galaxy, and you might even materialize in the space in between spaces.

All of this is to say that everything is fluid. So not only can you not go back in time because you’d disrupt the space-time continuum, but you’d also end up hundreds, if not thousands of light years from where Earth was 65 million years ago.

It’s like the idea that there was once a time when times were better. It’s easier to think that people got along at some point in the past, or that leaders were just, or that children grew up pure and hopeful, or that machines started up and ran just the way we expected, or that our ideal political system was fair and balanced. Those things belong in the space between the spaces, and possibly never existed themselves. There’s never been an auto pilot for life, in exactly the same way there’s no chance of going back in time to see a dinosaur.

Make a difference today and let yesterday be dead to you.

Act II

I just finished the blocking, or outlining for Act II of The Dying Art of Conjugation. It’s going to flow so much better now. I had to yank some scenes out of one year and insert them into another, and add several scenes in the five year gap I discovered, but now it’s all good.

Tonight and tomorrow I’ll re-outline the third act and plot out the finale. I’m excited to get this thing reshaped and resolved.

I Pre-Published The Dying Art of Conjugation, Act I, Today

I was only allowed to order five copies, but I’ll make that work. I’ll send one to Mark, one to the artist, Elina. My wife will read it. I need to find two more people to beta-read this first act.

The cover is just green with white letters. It will be spectacular once Elina arts it up!

A Reconstructive Deconstruction Milestone

I split The Dying Art of Conjugation into three sections so that the task of rewriting it would not seem so daunting. Today it got slightly less daunting, as I finished Act I. Sadly, Act I is not long enough to warrant publishing the story as three books (one way to compose a serial!). But the total manuscript is currently just over 100,000 words. I’m happy with that so far because when I started this project, the original manuscript I decided to deconstruct was 73,000 words, and I deleted 25,000 words at the get-go. It is therefore not surprising that Act I is 48,000 words.

I’m going to set up a stand-in cover as I wait for one of the world’s premier artists to create the image for the final cover, and I will pre-publish Act I on CreateSpace so I can obtain a few proof copies for beta-readers. I’ll do the same when I finish Act II, and then re-integrate the whole book once Act III is completed. Sneaky, I know.

 

Roadblocks

Where I live we get a lot of rain. There are places that get more. But we’re known for it. So recently we haven’t had much rain. Even the foot of snow we had last week didn’t push us much closer to being on target for our “rain year.” However, what it did do was to break up some rocky crags and cause a few landslides. There’s a large one on Interstate 84 near Hood River (go there this summer for great windsurfing). Because of the 2,000 cubic yards of boulders on the road, you have to cross the Columbia River at Cascade Locks (The Bridge of the Gods!) and use Washington Highway 14.

What I really mean is that we put those rocks there. Anything we’re trying to accomplish is like a roadway, and it can be a 70 mile an hour freeway. But we drop rocks on our thoughts and dreams all the time.

Right now I am deconstructing an old novel, my first book, and it’s full of rock dropping opportunities. The other day I cleared one obstacle by changing the names of the college and the city the book begins in. Today I changed the formatting to 5.5 X 8, because 5 X 8 has always bothered me. It’s too narrow. This may sound silly, but it was a huge roadblock for me. It’s fixed now. And I reformatted all 100 chapter headings. Silly again, but it’s done and I’m happier for it.

No I can just write instead of worrying about the appearance or the formatting. Being silly.