Thursday, January 17, 2008

Time travel

About six years ago, probably around two in the morning, I was holding this infant boy in my arms, nursing him and rocking him gently back to sleep. And I felt this surge of contentment. I had this wish that I could travel back in time to some much less contented times and say: Hey look at this. You're not going to believe it, but look at this. See, it getters better. See. I wanted to travel back in time and tell myself that everything was going to be okay.

It was a beautiful moment.

It is also the moment that Melody Maxwell was born.

Melody is middle school girl who loves math and science. She accidentally discovers that she can time travel and spends an entire book trying to figure out how. She travels backward and a bit forward in time. She goes all the way back to the moon landing of 1969, sitting on a porch swing with her grandfather and gazing up at the moon. She does try to communicate with herself across time. And she has some misadventures -- like trapping her best friend in 2003 -- think I Love Lucy meets Contact.

I wrote a children's novel -- aimed for advanced grade school readers -- about Melody. I even spent some time trying to get an agent for it and talking to a few publishers. But I put the project on the shelf when I decided to go to seminary.

A few months ago, it came up with conversation with Ryan and he sat on my lap at the computer and I read him a few pages, but he got bored. This morning it came up again because he told me he's learning about dialogue in school. I told him that was the part I had the most fun writing in my book. He had forgotten about it and his eyes lit up. He wanted to know if it existed as a real book. I told him it still needed some work -- didn't go into any tedious publishing details with him. I told him about the first time she time travels and what happens. And I told him how she tries to use her new-found time travel powers to save the Space Shuttle Columbia. I told him about the porch swing talks in the past with her grandfather and a scene I love that involves her grandmother. And he wanted a copy. I don't really have one. I did a substantial rewrite on the first four chapters but I haven't really married that to the remainder of the book. But he still wanted to see it. So, I printed the first four chapters -- 37 typed pages -- put a paper clip on it and handed it to him. A bit later, I saw him absorbed on the sofa with something -- then I realized it was Melody's story. He took the pages with him to school.

And, I'm nervous.

It never really dawned on me that some day that little infant that inspired Melody's story would be eager to read it.

Perhaps he will also inspire a completed rewrite.

But first, I have a 20-page theology paper to write -- my last serious theology paper of seminary. And it's not nearly as fun as Melody's adventures. Though it is a bit like Contact.


Jeri said...

It deserves to be nurtured. And whatever you do NEVER give the watch to Sam!!

Orangeblossoms said...

Wow.... new format.... a quiz.... no more visual DNA.... and you're supposed to be writing a theology paper. You know, if I'd had a blog to rearrange, my sock drawer wouldn't have gotten nearly the attention it did when my theology papers were due ten years ago!

I love reading you, checking in with you... and imagining that all this writing we do will someday become the beginning of a novel... something you've already accomplished.

Yay, Karen.

Orangeblossoms said...

I should also mention that I can't read the blue on green of your masthead..... Still, I like the color scheme.

Marian said...

I never knew you'd written a children's book. That's excellent!