Writers are Time Travelers. Trust me.

I had an epiphany yesterday. I'm a time traveler. Yep, you heard right. And there are more time travelers like me out there. Thousands of them. Maybe millions. You may know one. We call ourselves writers but the truth is, we have found the key to bending the space time continuum. 

Here's how I discovered this startling truth about myself.

My husband and I were driving to lunch yesterday. He turned to me and said,

Husband: "What do you think they'll serve at the party tonight?" 

Me: "Hmm...good question." 

Husband: "Salmon bites? Cheese plate?" 

Me: "Mmmm... salmon." 

An hour later... Me: "What do you think they will have to eat at the party tonight?" 

Husband: "We just had this conversation an hour ago. Where were you? You even responded to me." 

It may be a little annoying at times for my husband, but for me... to be called out on these moments can be downright perplexing. Seriously, where was I a moment ago?

When I thought about it, I realized in that moment in the car, I had been re-imagining what my husband was saying. By re-imagining, I mean that I was thinking about the exact same situation - the car, the conversation, etc., but I was changing my husband's dialogue slightly. I can't remember exactly what changes I made or why - but I'm fairly certain that's what was happening.

The funny thing is, this happens almost constantly to me during the day. I am almost always re-imagining moments of my life as they are happening - or imagining situations that have yet to arrive.

This part of my personality that allows me to travel through time, reliving events or experiencing a future yet experienced, is the same part of me that compels me to be a writer. In a sense, these moments are my attempt to write my own experience. It doesn't matter if the things I imagine happen or not - it's the act of telling a story in my head that matters. 

And hence, this is how I realized that I'm actually a time traveler.

I relive the present moment, forge ahead into the future, and return to the present moment, dozens of times during the day.

I just finished season one of West World. Like many fans of this HBO series, I watched episodes back to back totally enthralled. The storytelling was incredible. The leaps in time, the foreshadowing, backstory, dream sequences, memories... I imagine the writers of this show to be like the Olympians. The fact that they were able to drop narrative linearity completely and tell a coherent and incredibly moving story, is a Herculean effort. I hope they are rewarded amply for their talent.

What struck me after the final episode was just how much I could relate to Dolores. The time lapses, the "Quantum Leap" like moments she experienced over and over again, though, slightly differently... yeah duh. I get it. I do that all the time. Is that weird? To me, it's just life.

So next time you're talking to a writer and she gets a glazed look on her face and responds in 1-2 words, you might take pause. Instead of continuing with the conversation, wait a moment for the writer to return to Earth and then ask what she was thinking of moments before. You may be surprised the answer you get. Perhaps you may experience a bit of time travel too.

On (not) Writing

I have only written two poems in the last 45 days, and I cannot bear it any longer.

2016 has come to an end and with it, I put the final touches on a YA fantasy manuscript I've been writing for over two years. I wrote "the end" around Thanksgiving and vowed that I would start writing again in the New Year. I needed a break. Days before making this decision, I wrote for nearly twenty-four hours straight on a flight to South Africa. 

My rationale for this break (numb fingertips from that epic writing session aside) was that I had a few ideas competing in my mind for attention. I thought by giving myself some mental bandwidth for a month or so, I might naturally think about one idea more than the others and have an easier time deciding which story I wanted to spend the next 1-2 years writing. Trust me, after going through bouts in my life where ideas were hard to come by, having three ideas yelling at me for attention like crying newborn babies was not a bad problem to have.

So, big deal, right? Take a break.  That would seem like a reasonable assessment for some. However, for me, not writing for 1.5 months feels like a lifetime prison sentence. 

For many writers, though not all, there is a certain fever-like compulsion that comes with being creative. This is nothing new. There are plenty of examples throughout history of creative people practically destroying themselves to complete their greatest work. While I have come across writers here and there who claim not to understand this compulsion (and sometimes I envy them) - there are many I have spoken with who feel the same way.

Those of us who fit into the "compulsion to create" school, believe that the act of creating something is intrinsically linked to the very act of our being. Creating something (anything) is like breathing to me. I simply cannot bear to not do it. 

To some, this may sound like an unhealthy fixation. Believe me, I've thought of this myself many times. Those days when I turn down social engagements because I "have to write." Those nights when my fingertips are numb from typing for a few hours too long without a break...

I was joking with a friend of mine who is chief creative at a publishing company. We likened writing to a virus you just can't shake. It can feel like that. "Bit by the bug" they say. 

Buddhist thought would have me believe that perhaps I'm "attached" to my writing. But I believe that my desire to write is actually attached to me. Attached to me in the same way my eyes, nose, and ears are.

When I'm not writing for a lengthy period of time, it feels like a part of me is dying. I can't explain it in any other way.

Perhaps, this compulsion is needed in my case. It has been over 17 years since I've taken more than 1 week at a time off from my writing. On average, I write 2-3 hours every single day and I do so while juggling a full-time job. And I'm certainly no rare snowflake. Many of my writing peers do the same exact thing - and some of them have children to raise at the same time These parent writers with full-time work other than writing are the true unsung heroes - how do you do THAT?

For non-writers out there who can't understand how seemingly sane people can force themselves to spend long hours by themselves, cooped up and writing... I cannot understand how sane people cannot do the same.  

Don't get me wrong. I've been luxuriating in my newfound "free time." I've watched hours upon hours of television programs and I now have an incredibly high powered squad of Ewoks in my favorite mobile game (Galaxy of Heroes). However, at least a few times a day, I feel a tug at my fingertips - that voice of the muse in my head whispering sweet nothings to peel myself off the couch and write something. Anything. Even just a short poem. Or a blog...

And so, here I am. Writing again. Go figure. 

Yep. I'm done with this not writing thing. But the good news is - the self-inflicted torture wasn't all for nothing. The break seems to have work. I know which story I need to tell now and I'm more motivated than ever to write the first draft. It is as though the creative force has been pent up inside me and is screaming at me to deal with it now. Don't pass go. Right now. The sense of urgency is refreshing and needed. Writing my first novel was incredibly hard but I didn't really know how hard it would be. I was blissfully ignorant. I'm writing my second novel knowing full well what the journey will entail. At this very moment, I'm grateful to be part of the compulsion to create school. It will help me get through the parts of the process that feel less like creativity and more like really hard work.

I'll update this blog with my progress in the coming months. Until then - remember, make friends with a writer. So long as you can deal with their frequent absences - even when they're sitting right in front of you!

 

 

 

 

 

News about Laloo! Xist Publishing and app no longer avail.

Laloo the Red Panda, is available on Kindle as an ebook or on Amazon as a paperback!  

We are thrilled that our friends at Xist Publishing have taken on the publication of our lovable Laloo!

Please note, the interactive iPad app is no longer available in iTunes app store. Users who downloaded the app prior to iOS 7 update and have a version of iOS older than iOS 7, may still be able to use the app. Other users will be unable to access due to the update. We encourage all fans of the app to purchase the printed or e-book version and thank you for your support.

Kirkus Reviews says, The adventure of a lost, rare red panda cub trying to find his way home is expertly packed with Indian culture, energetic artwork and engaging characters.

Digital Storytime recommends Laloo with a  4.25 out of 5 star review!  "...a lovely new storybook app... The overall message conveyed in this tile is exceptional.  Just right for young readers ages 4-8.  Recommended."

Voted #4 of the Top Five Apps of the Week by IHeartThisApp.com fans!