Back to the Future

J'Mel NovLiterary time travel.

By J’Mel Davidson


Here’s the crazy part, the part you never really consider: I’m writing this weeks before Halloween but you won’t read it until almost Thanksgiving Day.

It’s like literary time travel. How awesome is that? What do you now know that I didn’t know when I started writing this?

I can only assume you’re stopping to read this as a short break from looting and food hoarding in the wake of the Ebola Epidemic. Last month (which is now, for me) you were shopping consignment shops for vintage fabrics or manicuring your ironic handlebar mustache. Now (which is next month for me) you’re scouring the homes of your former friends and neighbors for medical supplies, booze, and batteries.

At first you thought you’d be a hero and protect the women and children. Funny—feminism and suffrage fly right out the window in the face of post apocalyptic roving gangs of cannibals. There’s very little time for progressive thinking when society itself has become a virus carrier.

Then again, it’s completely plausible that our near future won’t be apocalyptic at all. It’s well within reason that the future holds justice and equality for every race and creed in sickness and in health. That’s the problem with thinking ahead: Ultimately, it’s just speculation, wishful thinking, optimism.


As I write this I’m also working on a screenplay. That’s what I do. And within that writing I state that no one knows when his or her third act is beginning. I thought it was a clever way to sound deep, but it’s also true. You may be telling your own story, but you aren’t the writer. Your life is less autobiographical and more Wikipedia entry—People come in and edit as they see fit, and all you can do is decide how best to keep the tale interesting.

You have a few options. I decided that I didn’t want to be 500 lbs. I decided to grow my hair out. I decided to stop smoking. These are a few small actions that allow me to think I’m controlling the flow of this farce.

I take what I can get.

I’m not in control of the guys with their fingers on buttons or people who fly into the local airport while riddled with third-world, organ-melting diseases. I can’t possibly control your need to check your Facebook status while plowing through the crosswalk on a red light.

Tell me, future reader, what celebrities have died? Is American Horror Story better this year? Do I have a hot, middle-aged, redheaded girlfriend?

Wait, don’t tell me. I love surprises.

Hopefully no extinction-level shenanigans will transpire before we get a chance to talk again. If you think your life is boring, hopefully you’ll manage a bit of excitement. If you’re lonely, I hope you find someone to talk to. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so I hope you’ll at least have a fairly decent existence to be thankful for. Or if you find yourself reading this after Thanksgiving and the world hasn’t begun its final descent into hell, I still wish for you a nice trouble- and Ebola-free existence until we talk again.

See you in the future.

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