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Writing Timejacker
Selek Washington, 2/13/2023
© 2023 James LaFond
Timejacker is mostly complete and I am feeling good about it. The novel was written from dreams, with the actual writing serving as the interpretation. I did not know, until chapter 3z, that the dream that impelled me to write this novel when and how I did, had been a dream of my own death.
The science-fiction premise, the idea that a dreamer trapped within Time may serve as a chronological navigation and propulsion device in submission to The Dreamer, residing beyond Time, was inspired by Tony’s sermons on service to God at a Baptist church that serves Selek, Washington. This premise was not constructed, but stumbled upon in the writing.
The idea of multiple selfs, of a man who said ‘yes’ to adventure overtaking and abducting an older version of himself descended from a lesser self who had said, ‘no,’ to wonder and risk, was likewise inspired by one of Tony’s sermons, in which he, in concord with the congregation, reaffirmed the ancient ideal of self love, that it was natural, that selfishness and care of one’s self as a first priority is given as man’s natural state. Unknown to the rest, this was my loneliest moment in 60 years of life, confronting the dislike, lack of love and indeed hatred for myself. This realization, that what people see in me as a high level of discipline, is actually a drive to self punish for a comprehensive life long failure to meet inner ambitions, is compounded by me never having had the self-confidence for those nebulous ambitions to rise to the level of an expectation.
Andy Edwards pointed out in some of his warhorse podcasts, the disconcerting fact that we enter dreams while in progress and leave them before they end. I listened to these podcasts this time last year when I was extremely ill and even hoping that I would die, but was nursed back to health by the wives of my two hosts, the Captain and The Colonel. These men do not even, so far as I know, read my work. I help them around their homesteads, and in this, they tend to fear for my health, reminding me to take it easy. It occurred to me while writing the third chapter of Timejaker, that I am something of a time traveler for these folks, that they host me in a certain season, the dying one, and that the rest of the year I wander off out of time and that my return is a cyclic affirmation that something bigger knits us together.
This observation, this concord with people winter met, reflected back to my meeting with the Colonel on September 11 2016, in Cody, Wyoming, and our trip the next day into the Bear Tooth Mountains during a late summer snow. That experience had with the Colonel, and Bob, became the novel Uprising, in which The Colonel was cast as Major Wolf, and I, as Punk City Coon. That novel would not be written until late winter of 2020. Reflecting on that, I realized, that the novelist travels in and out of Time as a function of his craft and that people he knows and the places which they share, apply themselves to his craft. This application seems to be more pronounced the further along the writer is in his craft, the more relaxed and less impetuous he is, the more lightly he steers the narrative wheel.
I do not know if Timejacker will meet with more or less approval than the median of my efforts at story telling. Half of my novels, perhaps more, have no planned ending at the outset. Of those novels in which I have a clear destination for the story, I alter that ending in roughly half of the efforts. This is an attempt to erase my own narrative fingerprints, I suppose, to help the characters in the story believe in themselves rather than in their function as pawns in a willful fancy.
The use of novelists who have departed in untimely ways from these, the days of our lives, occurred by accident in this writing, as a result of a whimsy on my part, that if I had access to the Eye of Time, and was able to thread it, that I would want to meet such dream weaving minds. Homer and the unknown author of Beowulf, served as my guides here. The poet of Beowulf speaks as the story weaver in some few instances, reminds us that we share Time, “In these the days of our lives,” and speaks of a much greater dreamer, of an eternal war weaver working on the loom of Fate.
Zeus [Thunder] having conquered Kronos [Time] was known as Time-holder more commonly than other cult titles. In this capacity, it was Zeus, who summoned a lesser power with the words, “Bad dream, bad dream, go to Agamemnon,” and so set in motion the narrative that the poet would merely chronicle [to set in Time] in a later age.
That God is an eternal weaver upon a loom was a medieval Christian notion with close ties to old heathen notions of Fate and Fortune being feminine powers to which even the Master of Heaven must tithe a home outside of Time. The Homerid device of Penelope, weaving upon her loom as she resisted willful pressures to waver from her faith in her returning Odysseus, is, this writer suspects, a glimpse of Fate as a feminine gravity in timely concord with extra temporal God: the toiling of Time as Eternity’s oft neglected bride.
The realization that Time must be feminine should have occurred when first I read of Zeus Almighty, Time-holder. Yet, this only offered itself for conscious consideration, when I had a character based on my most brash and willful version, inform the lax and sickly version that is the flagging writer that, “Time is a bitch,” nothing but smart ass jibe that brought the trail down which I had been stumbling into focus.
I hope the reader enjoys the story and that the writers among you, find a tolerable place for this exploration of Time in the gallery of our joint speculations.
James, a rainy morning above the Cedar River, February 13 2023
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Winter 2023 Writing Journal
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