The reception received by “Dear Emma” left me feeling intoxicated. I had done it. I had written a book and even though I did it myself, the work was published. Many looked down their noses at self-published authors, but the sense of accomplishment I received when a reader would leave a good review, or better contact me through email, washed all the criticism away. I was ready for the next step, the next challenge. I was determined to write a full-length novel.
I’ve never considered myself a science-fiction writer and in truth, I don’t want to be. Yet, my first novel includes the element of time travel. It also includes the Chicago Cubs, a team dear to my heart. In essence, it is the story of Joe, a man who accidentally travels back in time to watch the first game played by the Cubs in Wrigley Field. There are other story lines, of course, but I mention the time travel for one purpose. I was developing as an author and I wanted to experiment with first person and third person story telling. The current time period is related by Joe, first person. His time spent in the past is reported by me, in third person. My thought was such a tactic would help the reader feel the isolation Joe felt.
Honestly, how would you feel if you woke up tomorrow and it was a hundred years ago and you had no idea how you got there. No family, none of them born yet. No friends, same reason. The only way to be more isolated would be to be stranded on an island. Since you don’t know how you got there, you have no chance of getting back. The story offered a great paradox.
I feel guilty about the way I treated this book. Originally published under a different title, I never gave it the chance I should have. It’s a great story, not because I wrote it, but because it deals with the challenges of life.
The message is not about waking up in a different time period, but waking up and discovering our lives have not turned out how we thought they should or hoped they would. Suddenly, in many ways, we find ourselves as isolated as Joe.
Who do we tell when we realize we should have turned left instead of right? What do we do when there’s nothing to be done?