To Hell With Butterfly Effects


The prompt today has indicated that I am currently in the possession of a fabulous time machine, but it can only go one of two ways: forward or backward. Being the emotional masochist I am, I would choose to go back to my past rather than see the ways I fail in the future (such as not writing every day as I’d promised myself I’d do no matter the amount of headachy paper-grading I have to do). There are a number of selfish tasks I’d perform while “visiting” the past, and I don’t give a fig about the butterfly effect, temporal prime directive and whatnot:

1. Spend a lot more time with my mother no matter the cost to my job. Demand that she and my father move to Florida, even though their past selves cannot stand it there. Make a scene if they don’t. Bargain with them and start packing their things for them. If problems ensue, emotionally blackmail them somehow because my mother’s life may be prolonged. She won’t live in an area with such a high altitude anymore. I won’t let her.

2. The first time the ex-husband is cruel to me, my bags are already packed and I am out the door. This will change whole outcomes of my future (including several items of note on my list). They may or may not be good.

3. Spend a lot more time with my grandparents no matter the cost to my job. My grandfather will voice his opinion on the matter. He will seemingly, outwardly hate the fact I am neglecting my work duties, but he will get over it . I know he’s lonely, and I know my grandmother needs all the help in the world.

4. Actually PREPARE for the GRE this time and get an MFA instead. I don’t need a time machine to do this, really, but at this point, I cannot see another degree path in my immediate future.

5. Call the other production companies that expressed interest in my screenplay(s) and promise that I will pay close attention this time rather than wimp out and use grad school as an excuse to not follow through. Cease a bizarre, overwhelming fear of rejection during this crucial time while the rejection is constant.

6.  Finish the novel in one year rather than five.

7.  Laugh loudly in the face of the man, post ex-h, who broke my heart, especially when he says he doesn’t want to be married and he doesn’t want children. Tell him, flat out, “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”

8. Don’t allow myself credit cards ever…EVER.

9. Have a list of sharper comebacks ready for the bullies and jerks in middle and high school.

10. Tell myself again and again that Everything Changes, with or without a time machine, and to Deal With It.

9 thoughts on “To Hell With Butterfly Effects

  1. Good thoughts. I’m curious, what degree did you choose instead? Why would you choose the MFA? I ask for several reasons, but in the last week I’ve had two friends with MFAs tell me they feel they made the wrong choice and wish they had expanded their focus and gotten a Ph.D.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the compliment. As for the degree decision, I have an M.S. in English education, which sounds/seems practical, but college human resource departments and hiring committees are confused by it. The MFA, at least, would be clearer, easier for them to understand, and I would be better equipped to teach creative writing. A PhD is always the end goal, of course, but the MFA is a terminal degree for those in the creative arts (or those like me who want to be!).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah. Makes sense. That’s what I was thinking as these two were talking — that an MFA was good because it WAS a terminal degree. I think neither friend feels particularly motivated to work on a PhD now since they already have a terminal degree and it might not be worth the time and money at this stage. I have an incomplete graduate degree, so from my vantage point a completed MFA looked good. Thanks for the reply. I’m always interested in how people end up in their jobs.

    Liked by 1 person

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