So, folks, this week we’ve found ourselves the victims of an Internet hoax that claimed yesterday, 6 July 2010, was the very day that Marty McFly and Doc flew into the future from 1985 in Back to the Future‘s sequel. The evidence of this was compelling: a photograph of the time-traveling DeLorean’s dashboard (above). Uh, well…see here’s the thing about living in the “futuristic” society that we do today: computer technology has brought us a little something called “Photoshop.” The actual date? 21 October 2015.
Do you realize what this means???!!! We still have five more years to invent the hoverboard. Wicked.
In any case, I found this “news” of transcending time and space to be quite timely with regard to the next writing prompt…
On page 36, Room to Write asks us to choose a fantasy of what our lives will be like in 20 years. We’re supposed to “develop a reasonable plot that would make the fantasy work out.” Otherwise, we can try the same exercise using a beloved character from either our own writing or a treasured story.
Well, I don’t know how “reasonable” this is, but in my fantasy future life, I’ll have published a few novels, earning not enough for a sustainable living on my own, but enough to supplement our travel budget—or, wait a minute, if this is my fantasy, I’ll up it and say that it’s also making the mortgage payments on that stone cottage in the English countryside that we’ll maintain so we can still get our UK fix after having returned to the States (eighteen years earlier) to start a family.
[okay, I’m grabbing the DeLorean’s stick and shifting this into present tense—it’ll be cooler, like I’m speaking to you from the future]
For we do have a family—Fate decided it for us before we managed to overcome selfishness and laziness on our own 🙂 Three children, two in high school, one in middle school. Ever since the offspring have been old enough to poop and wipe by themselves, we’ve been travelling with them abroad as well as domestically (so they know how to appreciate their own country as well), taking them to London to show them where Maw-n-Paw started their married life together, pointing up to the very window out which Mumsy would stare and formulate her fictional storylines in penning her first novel.
Not much has changed with the old neighborhood, essentially as little as had changed in the century-and-a-half prior to then. Well, the doors are painted different colors, and the streets need some paving—we have those hoverboards as well as hovercars by then, so they are no longer a priority!
“Roads? Where we’re going, we won’t need roads.” – Dr. Emmett Brown, Back to the Future
[…oh, c’mon, I’m spotting the envisioners of Back to the Future an extra fifteen years here]
Wellll…no, okay, even twenty years out, I think we’ll be lucky if we’ve even converted to 100% alternative fuel automobiles, so I really don’t see the hover-anything happening. Rather, every petrol station has outlets where we can plug in our electric cars, or hoses for those autos that run solely on baby shampoo.
I still sit at a desk tap-tappin’ my stories, even though computer keyboards are now archaic—replaced with laser light sensors that project from a paper-thin pad. I decide to still play it old-school, vowing to use my last-generation Mac keyboard until it goes kaput, just as I had with my Jetta, dearly departed about thirteen years ago…(resto en paz, my little German car manufactured in Mexico). I listen to my same old alternative rock 80s tunes, but not on the computer—I now upload my iTunes (just like the rest of my apps) by scanning the chip embedded in my wrist against my monitor whenever I order new music; the music then pipes into my inner ears through my veins, so no headphones necessary. If there’s a video, it projects inside my eyes. There is now an app for dreams.
My parents are still alive, and they are defying science with their amazing health and sharp minds. There is no question they will be able to see our children off to university (not the one where I teach literature and film studies, though, having earned my PhD a decade ago), just as they did for my nieces and nephews. Our Illinois home is a warm and velvety, pristinely preserved 19th-century house with a floor-to-ceiling bookshelved library with REAL BOOKS (they’re not obsolete yet) and a hidden door, an attic bedroom with a dusty sock monkey resting in a box, and an echoey phonograph reproduction playing my Artie Shaw—and, okay, my John Hughes movie soundtracks thanks to the vinyl records a friend gave me for my birthday way back in 2008. My siblings still live near us and make me laugh as hard as they did twenty years ago, and the twenty years before that. Some things never do change.
Otherwise, when it’s life at the English cottage with its durable thatched roof, it’s Wellies and soil beneath fingernails, raking the earth to make a garden bloom and feed us. It is quiet. The few cars along the narrow roads no longer make noise. The iTune chip in my arm is muted. It is only the insect-leg violins and fluting birds that orchestrate the score of a life of expectation now fulfilled.
Well, I had to stop it somewhere. I look back on this and notice all the aspects of my life I inevitably left out—What job will my husband have? What about friends? In-laws? Relatives? What about the negatives? The illness? The loss? What’s going on in the world? Politics? Other technologies? Pop culture? And on and on and on…it makes me ponder why I did describe what I did, what I chose to idealize and stretch as far as fantasy would allow me…and still feeling that I didn’t play with it quite enough or feel comfortable with what extent I could. There was the temptation to write science fiction, yet the reality is that 20 years isn’t really that far out. Though technology has made tremendous strides in the last couple decades (ah, to recall a time before email and mobiles), I don’t believe the same goes for people and lifestyles in general—so this is more a study in how an individual might evolve over time, the outcomes of choosing certain paths over others.
But if I did want to tinker with creative futuristic imaginings, I’d definitely have to leap waaaay farther out than 20 years…further than Back to the Future II‘s 30 years…something more like…the Year 3000:
So consult the crystal ball and do tell—what does the future hold for YOU or your characters?
July 7th, 2010 at 19:05
Never knew what date in the future Doc and Marty go to, though I’ve seen the films. Very amusing. What amuses me about futuristic films/books is that they always think we’ll make HUGE advances, where the reality is never like that.
For me, I’d like to have become a huge successful author and my novels, all featuring my special boy are the biggest thing ever. Ambitious? Nah 😉
July 7th, 2010 at 20:28
I do believe you’ve predicted the future with accuracy! Especially if your Muse is so proactive in motivating you to edit these days 🙂
July 8th, 2010 at 19:20
Yeah, he’s forced me to quit my day office job to finish the novel. Slave driver he is 😉 (only joking, I love him to bits and he’s worth all the chances I’m taking)
July 11th, 2010 at 14:46
Aw, the Muse-love is giving me warm fuzzies. Wish I had that same guidance–quite special! 🙂
July 8th, 2010 at 14:27
“YouTwitFace” = perfect.
5 years until the hoverboard? Yesssss!
“There was the temptation to write science fiction, yet the reality is that 20 years isn’t really that far out.” Very true. I look back at 1990, and the only major advancements in technology that have affected daily life are computer-related and stylistic. Alas, no flying cars.
July 8th, 2010 at 16:18
Ahh, Conan. I’ve missed him.
Glad you share my enthusiasm over the hoverboard 🙂
July 8th, 2010 at 19:13
Yayyy only five more years to invent the hoverboard! 🙂
“I still sit at a desk tap-tappin’ my stories, even though computer keyboards are now archaic—replaced with laser light sensors that project from a paper-thin pad.” But you’re still going old school and using your “good old Mac”? 🙂
“preserved 19th-century house with a floor-to-ceiling bookshelved library with REAL BOOKS”- I’m glad to hear they’re still around!
Great piece of writing, I bet it was quiet hard to stop yourself from fantasizing about the future! My magic crystal ball tells me that I’ll be married to my soul mate (yes- I still believe in those), be a successful published author and a professor in the University aaaannd record an album with Conor Oberst… No? Went too far? OK, I’ll take back the recording part but he’ll sing at my wedding 😉
July 11th, 2010 at 14:45
Yeah, I don’t adapt to change all that well in some respects, so I’ll stick with the keyboard for the same reason some writers probably stuck with their typewriters (or quill pens :)) after the advent of the word-processor and computer. To really date myself, I actually used a word-processor in college…it had both computing and typewriter functionalities, how awesome is that…and I only moved on from my first-generation iPod (the white brick…the one I actually saw on display in a museum while I was still using it) in the last three years!
Ah, I like the sound of your future, Lua. Maybe we’ll be teaching at the same university and going on joint book tours together 🙂 I have got to listen to this Conor Oberst—blasphemy that I’m not familiar with him, I know—your duets with him will top the charts, no doubt!
July 10th, 2010 at 20:48
Kudos to you! You just combined two of my most favorite things into one post! Back to the Future and Conan O Brien! What a great exercise. I’ll have to do this one in my journal. I’ve thought about my future, but not as incredibly detailed as you. That sounds awesome. Although I don’t know how I feel about having an iPod chip in my arm. lol.
In 5 years we’ll have hoverboards, flying DeLoreans and jackets that self-dry! Can’t wait! 🙂
July 11th, 2010 at 14:58
No, I wouldn’t be keen to have the iPod chip either…for some reason I think it would be itchy 🙂 High-five for Back to the Future and Conan! I’ve been eagerly awaiting Conan’s return to television, new beard and all! Definitely recommending this exercise…it’s a fun way of putting yourself into a plot that is in some respect ‘fiction’ (because we can’t predict the future) yet causing you to reflect on what end-goals you have and what might get you there after all. I certainly don’t speculate my future in this detail, either, so it was (as with all these prompts) interesting to find what my brain invented on the spot and analyze why after the fact. It also got me thinking about what the future holds for my current protagonist…not that I’ll spell it out in the manuscript, but so that the ending (whenever I finally finish it!) will set her up realistically for it.
July 11th, 2010 at 21:57
Me too! I really miss Conan. He was the only funny late night host in my opinion, and i just feel this whole void in my life. Bleh. I guess I’ll have to do with his twitter post until november.
July 11th, 2010 at 11:33
Ha! I can’t believe that future scene is only five years away! What an entertaining post! 🙂
As for where I’ll be in twenty years?
I’ve spent all my life worrying about the future. In twenty years, I’ll be satisfied with ‘now.’
The Victorian Heroine
July 11th, 2010 at 15:17
I like that vision of the future very much, Corra! I think that’s just where I’d like to end up as well…no matter where I am specifically, what I do or what I have, just that I’m happy with it and not feeling I need more 🙂 It really is so easy to get preoccupied with the future, isn’t it, as, meanwhile, life passes us by…carpe diem!