>It makes sense, he tells me, that we could travel forward in time because the speed of light is forward. We’d just have to figure out how to move faster than light.
But to travel backwards in time, not only would we have to be fast, but we’d have to be fast backwards. The exact quote: It doesn’t seem possible that we’d be able to outrun the speed of light backwards. (How can you not love a mind like that?)
Still, I would like to outrun light backwards. On good days, I actually think that perhaps I succeeded. The more I move forward in life, the more often I understand the dynamics of this life by revisiting the past.
For example, I’ve come to understand that a writer is an outsider looking in. Whether a writer ever gets published, or whether a writer ever sits down and actually writes, a person with writerly qualities is gifted with the power of observation. Said power places said person on the outside looking in. Sometimes with shoes three sizes too big for her feet. Often sitting on a couch.
Exhibit C requires more detail. Not everyone reading this may consider himself/herself to be a writer. Only after I started putting words on paper a few years ago did I start to notice a common trait among writerly friends. We narrate to ourselves. And we did not realize we did so for many years. While we might have noticed we were not quite like the other kids on the block (or, for me, down the river), it took a length of time for us to realize we narrate inside our heads all the while we are engaging in life. It’s as though we were jotting down notes for a future story while we were shaking hands with Magic Johnson at the LA Forum, or feeling the sting of the Bishop’s slap when being confirmed under the name of Gabriel. Or watching our cousin, the couch-stander almost drown. This narrating inside our heads is not always a good feeling.
On Being Nine and Becoming a Writer
Compared to Terry, my brothers and I were born knowing how to swim.
We knew the ways of water and how the rivers bend. She camped with us
because her parents didn’t camp.They rented motel rooms with T V sets
whenever they left town. She and I – we were wading in the water, pretending
to build a dam in the shallows of a creek in a ponderosa forest a hundred miles
from home. She was wearing my second brother’s flip flops when a lazy current
slipped them from her feet. In slow motion style, she gave chase
while I ran to the water’s shore, up the cut bank and around the bend
to watch uprooted trees and deep eddies pull her underneath. Then I stopped
and watched for her- willing her to fight. I thought I could catch
the sandals and my cousin if they floated further downstream. She remembers
this was when she learned to swim. I remember this was when I didn’t know
how to run for help. This was the day I stood still and almost watched her drown.