2020 Hindsight Commentary: Gimme Three Steps, Four Hours in Washington

I’m revisiting Timely Persuasion 12 years after releasing it / 17 years after writing it / 6000+ days since I jokingly told Jon Mack “maybe I’ll write a book…” with a new round of fresh eyed commentary. Today’s look at yesterday’s chapters is brought to you by Lynyrd Skynyrd & M. Ward.

Gimme Three Steps

Future me would retcon the opening line here to “I am from the future…I am from the future…I am from the future…” like the Benji Hughes chant throughout LILILIL.

“…any thought sunk before I could get my mind afloat enough to theorize…” would have been a better line.

“Pass right through me” is a little overused. (It’s both an accurate descriptor of what’s happening and a reference to a song by Julie Smiley that nobody knows.)

Leap year day had to be intentional, but I’m pretty sure it was unrelated to the release date. The calendar origin of the word “blink” still makes me smile as much as when I inserted it into a late draft.

The full Tori Amos lyric is a little forced. The original slight misquote flows better.

CDs and mixtapes date things a little.

He falls asleep listening to Won One, teasing that it may all be a dream when he wakes up near the end. (It’s not a dream, but the door was intentionally left open.)

The earthquake bit is a little dumb, though you really do shrug them off like that after you’ve lived in LA for awhile.

The watch probably should have been 97 minutes out of sync, but that’s getting super specific and picky…

“Is this real?” should have been in italics to justify the tense change in the story world since it’s a message from his future self.

Four Hours in Washington

Accidentally perfect numbered title…except that the chapter is mostly set in Oregon.

Printed internet driving directions! (Remember, it is set in 2002.)

Six consecutive paragraphs that start with “I…” Ugh…

Two “set forths” also. Ugh, ugh.

Syndicated college newspaper articles. Did those even exist?

Kinda cool the way the “Th” in “The” overlaps in the font BD chose for the remastered layout.

An early incarnation of my real life college radio show was called “All The Brits and More!” before later settling on “The Lack of Evidence Show”

I’m still the only person to use cacophony of controlled chaos to describe Nirvana according to Google. (If that MetalInsider article it still there, it has the phrase in the text but Nirvana in an unrelated cached sidebar article.)

Chauvinism is probably a better word to describe the father. The plot device of the young father being this way but his older version having grown out of it still works for me, though in today’s era I’m not sure if I would’ve gone there as readily as my past self did.

He can’t get to the future because he has no memory of it, and time travel is powered by the memories of the collective consciousness. What if a time traveler was able to paint a vivid picture of the future into the ears of other time travelers? Would those embedded memories be traversable? Sounds like decent fodder for a sequel…

Turning the throwaway “you need to have balls” line into the scene segue still amuses me to no end even though it shouldn’t.

The ball and newspaper went back in time with him after visualizing the show, but are still there when he returns. This is a mistake. (Technically the carpet and maybe even the bed should have come with him too depending on how far the “electricity” rule of time travel extends.)

Was my future self telling me about the hyperloop when I wrote about a high-speed tunnel from New York to London? Or did Timely Persuasion inspire Elon Musk?

I had an annoying habit of not putting paragraph breaks in obvious places–which is fascinating as I also recall agonizing over where to break up certain longer paragraphs and/or merge short ones during one of the final cleanup drafts. Always trust your first instinct; it’s the one your future self is asking for.

Check out the original commentary for these chapters:

Gimme Three Steps | Four Hours in Washington

2020 Hindsight Commentary: Prologue, One, Two of Us

As promised/threatened, I’m revisiting Timely Persuasion 12 years after releasing it / 17 years after writing it / 6000+ days since I jokingly told Jon Mack “maybe I’ll write a book…” with a new round of fresh eyed commentary. Here we go…

Prologue

For a few years now I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the prologue that goes two different ways. On one hand, part of me agrees with some critics that said it doesn’t add a lot of value to the story. All setup, some spoiler-y. Cutting it wouldn’t impact things too much aside from losing the bookended reprise/epilogue at the end.

On the other hand, I wish I had opened with a lyrical reference to set the tone for the narrator’s lyrical Tourette’s right out of the gate. Retconning, it would go a little something like this:

“Is she really going out with him?”

So many people asked me that question it’s impossible to count or remember who said it first. But I do remember what came next.

“I can’t believe you want to marry this guy!”

That was the last thing I ever said to my sister.

Only other noteworthy thing I picked up in my reread is my younger self had an annoying habit of overusing literary “air quotes” throughout. Ten in this prologue alone! “Sigh.”

One

There’s really no good reason for the bartender to be French story-wise. It’s an inside joke that’s a little forced.

I somehow used the wrong (or I guess more accurately “less right”) spelling of acknowledgment here with the extra E.

Once upon a time I had the lottery numbers memorized, but nowadays get them mixed up with the LOST numbers. (These numbers predated LOST by a few years.)

Mountain Dew rock is awkwardly forced in. I should have at least kept the “rock” uppercase or acknowledged the song. (Yes, I used the righter spelling this time.)

Note to my future self: Remember that tan van if there’s a sequel since it never quite pays off here.

Two of Us

“Glitzy was my bowling ball…” might be my favorite chapter opener.

I still mostly dig this chapter, but I use the word “still” too much. (Including in this sentence. So I guess I still use still too much.)

“All seven digits” still makes me smile after all these years. And it still makes no sense. (And I’m still saying still.)

Random fun fact I didn’t realize when writing the book: The Bowling Stones were an actual team my old bowling league at Hollywood Star Lanes. One of the real-life “tattooed biker guys” that inspired the fictional version was Michael Voltaggio of Top Chef, before he was famous.

Minor error: There’s no reason for Bowlingus to say he shouldn’t be talking to the narrator. I think that’s leftover from an older version where the narrator had a perfect game at this point and I never noticed it didn’t fit until now.

I’m going to call out and explain the time-travely logic as it comes up. This is mainly to see if I remember it, but also a decent test if I (still) think it makes sense.

Thinking about Bowlingus and his 270 game from a month ago sends him back in time. He doesn’t touch his neck bruise because he doesn’t have to. (Later he thinks he does, but he’s wrong.) He’s focused on fixing Glitzy so he doesn’t notice, and the passing line earlier that the 270 happened on the same lane on a night he skipped bowling league was setup for this.

The stool he’s sitting on goes back in time with him since he was in contact with it. That’s why he falls when he returns to the present — the chair stayed in the past. Same with Glitzy.

“Future” shouldn’t be uppercase at the end. Or should it…

Check out the original commentary for these chapters:

Prologue | One | Two of Us

Kurt Cobain + Time Travel = 3 Books

Fun fact:  Searching for Cobain time travel on Amazon yields 3 results:The Drawing of the Three

Lost in the ’90s by Frank Anthony Polito: A teenaged rocker stage-dives during a ’90s themed dance and wakes up in 1994.

Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman: An essay collection featuring unrelated sections on time travel and Kurt Cobain.

Timely Persuasion by JL Civi: A rock and roll time travel tale about a music critic trying to save his sister.

Discounting Klosterman (who I love, but isn’t directly relevant here), I was pleasantly surprised to find Lost in the ’90s. I’d never heard of it before, but immediately purchased it — and really dug it too! Not only had someone else decided to revolve a time travel story around a cultural red-letter-date, but they did so with a lot of other interesting overlaps to the way I handled things in Timely Persuasion. Song titles as chapter titles, lyrical allusions, musician fathers, and even bowling (!!!) pop up in both books.

I reached out to the author and he agreed to do a joint interview around our mutual inspirations. So without further adieu, here’s Frank & JL’s timely & persuasive take on being lost in the ’90s…

FAP:  Hey, there! My name is Frank Anthony Polito. I’m a Detroit-based writer and Lost in the ’90s is my first YA novel — though you don’t have to be a Young Adult to enjoy the story. In fact, you may appreciate it even more if you actually grew up in the 1990s.

JLC:  Thanks for taking the time to do this. I’m not a young adult anymore, but I did grow up in the ’90s and can say you are spot on that it does help you appreciate the book.

People on this blog likely already know me, but in case you’re coming in for the first time via this post my name is JL Civi. Timely Persuasion is a rock and roll time travel novel I released in 2008 — though the bulk of it was written back in 2003. You don’t need to be an obsessive music fan like me to get into the story, but as Frank said about his book it may give you some added appreciation.

Let’s start off with the most timely question with the 20th anniversary upon us:  Why Kurt Cobain in a time travel tale? You nicely weave this throughout on a few different levels and have the bulk of the story set during those fateful days in early April 1994; my narrator tries to save Kurt as soon as he realizes what he can do…

FAP: Well, I hope this doesn’t come as a shock, but… When I began writing Lost in the ’90s I didn’t intentionally set out to include Kurt Cobain in my story. I’m a very realistic writer in that I write fiction that is fact-based. Based on my previous publishing experience, I figured (best case scenario) LIT90s would hit bookstores sometime in 2012. That said, I counted back 18 years in order to calculate my protagonist’s birth year — which took me to 1994. When I researched what was going on in the world that spring, I was reminded of the death of Kurt Cobain on 4/5/94 and voila!

JLC:  That’s interesting. I had many similar “count back X years and research” moments while plotting Timely Persuasion, but Kurt Cobain was there from the start. My standard answer to the “If you had a time machine…” question has been “find out how Kurt Cobain died” for as long as I can remember, so I knew I had to explore that in Timely Persuasion. I was 17 when Kurt died, and it hit me pretty hard at the time. The Tom Grant murder theory started to gain press at about the same time I discovered the Internet. I became super obsessed with it right away. I’m not really a conspiracy theorist in general, but I’ve always been fascinated with unanswered questions. The hardest part in the writing process was figuring out a way to leave the suicide/murder question unanswered while still using it to explain the rules of time travel and give deeper insight into the narrator’s character.

FAP: Again, I hope this isn’t a shocker, but… Back in the day, I was not much of a Nirvana and/or Kurt Cobain fan. I didn’t find the music (or Cobain) attractive or interesting. In fact, I kind of sort of hated it (him). I was more into the music scene that had come out of Manchester (The Sundays, The Charlatans UK, etc.) Now that I’m older (and wiser), in doing research to write LIT90s I was happily surprised to discover that I honestly didn’t get Cobain back in 1994. I didn’t realize how ironic his lyrics were or what a supporter of gay rights he was, and how often he was misunderstood by his peers — something to which I could totally relate. Now I really wish I could go back in time to the early ’90s because I would totally change my tune. 

JLC:  Like many ’90s teens Nirvana was my gateway into music I could call my own, but I really dug the British music scene too. The Manchester bands you mention were great (don’t forget the Happy Mondays!), along with new britpop revolution led by Blur & Oasis. Plus my favorite band to this day is still Carter USM — and not so coincidentally they have the most lyrical references in TP.

Sometimes I wonder if the love of the Beatles instilled in me by my parents paved the way for that. Which leads into another interesting overlap our books have: protagonists who meet their parents back in time. In both cases they are surprised to learn that their father is a musician and decide to teach him some tunes… 

FAP: When my father was in high school he played guitar in a band — which is actually how he met my mother. As a kid, I was always fascinated whenever he would drag out his Fender and plug in the old amp and crank out some Black Sabbath. I can’t say that I based the parental characters in LIT90s on my own parents, but I knew that I wanted my protagonist and his father to have a musical bond. I was also a big time-travel geek growing up (Back to the Future, Voyagers!, Somewhere in Time), and I always enjoyed whenever someone from the future would teach someone from the past something and they would try to take credit for it.

JLC:  I was also (and still am) a big time travel geek. I knew I wanted to write a time travel novel, but I had a few options on what the main plot would be. A so-so musician going back in time and finding fame by stealing music was one of my initial ideas. Sort of a parable about the digital music industry. But I didn’t think I had enough for a full novel and scrapped it. Then somehow this story sent the narrator into the 1960s to meet his Dad (which wasn’t in the original outline), so I revived that older idea and ran with it.

FAP:  My idea for LIT90s came from an obscure “After School Special” called My Mother was Never A Kid, based on an obscure book by Francine Pascal (Sweet Valley High) called Hangin’ Out with Cici. In the story, a teenaged girl travels back in time from the 1970s to the 1940s where she meets (and befriends) her mother, who she doesn’t get along with in present day. And of course the aforementioned Back to the Future.

JLC:  At the time I was excited and surprised nobody had done a time travel story that stole music from the future. And even though I included a number of Back to the Future references, it wasn’t until years later I realized that the Marty McFly “Johnny B. Goode” bit counted. Duh… 

FAP: Yes! This is exactly what I’m talking about… That moment when Marty is playing “Johnny B. Goode” with his band and that other guy is on the phone with his cousin, Chuck Berry, and he’s like “Listen to this!”

JLC:  Classic moment. And tying it back to Kurt Cobain, there’s an episode of The Simpsons where they parody it by having “Marvin Cobain” call his cousin Kurt after hearing Homer’s band play grunge at a Lollapalooza type festival…

Sticking with music, we both also seem to weave little known “real” songs into the plot. I’m guessing “Basement Ghost” is by someone you know based on a few Googles, but I might be wrong.

FAP: You are correct. “Basement Ghost” was written by a friend of mine, Gabriel Grady. I have my MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon, and I knew that I would eventually adapt the novel for the screen. Because music is such a part of the story, I wanted to make sure there would be an original song for the soundtrack. I knew that Gabe — being a Class of ’94 grad and a musician himself — was totally the guy to write my movie’s theme song. Now, if I could only sell that screenplay…

JLC:  I could totally see LIT90s as a movie. Or maybe even an “After School Special” if they ever revive that concept…

It was especially impressive that you managed to make “Basement Ghost” a downloadable single to go with the book. I wanted to do something like that but wasn’t ever able to find a musician to work with. It was always my secret hope that putting “Won One” in Timely Persuasion would nudge my college roommate into re-recording it for me (I lost my old cassette copy years ago). But it’s been over 10 years and the song still only exists in my memory and in my book. And I still dig it way more than he does.  (Chris Evjy, if you’re reading this that was a not so subtle hint :))

FAP:  Again, the credit for this goes to Gabe Grady. It also helps that Gabe was in a band at the time I published LIT90s, and he was looking for promotional opportunities for himself and his work as well. I’m a firm believer in the “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours…” theory of life, and in helping others along the way, if possible. The great thing about “Basement Ghost,” I will say, is that I told Gabe the basic gist of my story (how boy meets girl) and he ran with it. The lyrics and subsequent music are all to his credit.

JLC:  Another item we share along the lines of great music-themed minds is using song titles as chapter titles. Yours are all great ’90s tunes that often aptly summarize the action.  What gave you that idea and how hard was it to pick the songs? 

FAP:  In my first two novels (Band Fags! and Drama Queers!) I did this same thing — only with ‘80s tunes. While LIT90s isn’t part of the trilogy, I wanted to continue using this technique, especially since music plays such a part in the story. In terms of choosing which songs to include, I have to say “Thank God for the Internet and Wikipedia!”

JLC:  Originally Timely Persuasion didn’t have chapter titles. Then one night I woke up at 2am with this idea that every chapter was a song title that contained a number.  It would start with “One” by U2. Just a single word so nobody realizes what’s going on yet. Then “Two of Us” by the Beatles. Then “Gimme Three Steps” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. And that’s when I jumped out of bed and made a huge list of candidate songs — first from my iTunes library, then falling back on the Internet like you did.

FAP:  That is an awesome idea! (I wondered where you came up with “Tram #7 to Heaven” by one of my faves, Jens Lekman.)

JLC:  Jens is one of my favorites too. “Tram #7” plus “Wounded Kite at :17” by Pavement were the two titles that made me so giddy I just had to find a way to make this work. And later figuring out I could slot “Won One” in as #11 sealed the deal.  Hardest one was for 26 — it’s the only song I don’t like in the list. “Across 26 Winters” is a cool title and fits the chapter, but with apologies to Phoenix Mourning it’s not really my style.

Of your titles I especially liked “Fade Into You” & “Divine Thing.” And of course “Here’s Where The Story Ends” was the perfect ending…and it happens to be by another British group.

FAP: I’m particularly fond of “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star myself. I really think the song sets the tone for this particular chapter. “Action” is such a big component when it comes to film and, if memory serves, this chapter is almost all inner monologue for the female character as she rides along in the car with the two other guys in the story. I look forward to seeing how the scene would play out on the big screen — like an old-fashioned MTV music video.

JLC:  Along with the musical nods taking the reader back into the era, I really liked the way you sprinkled references to other time travel stories throughout Lost in the 90s — and not just Back to the Future. Time travel seems to pop up all over the place. I’d never heard of Hangin’ Out With Cici before, but I do remember that time travel episode of Family Matters and liked the Somewhere in Time reference too.

FAP: Thanks. Like I said, I was a big time travel story geek growing up. And no surprise that you’d never heard of Cici — which most would call a “girl” book. I’m actually surprised that you know Somewhere in Time which is set in Michigan where I grew up, and I’ve somehow managed to reference in almost every story I’ve ever written.

JLC:  I told you I was a time travel geek too! In TP my narrator sees a movie trailer for Peggy Sue Got Married on his second trip back in time (before he realizes that’s what’s actually happening). I picked it as a hybrid music & time travel reference — though it was totally one of those “need a movie from 1986” research happy accidents along the lines of how you picked Kurt Cobain for LIT90sBTTF & Quantum Leap are where my love of time travel came from, so I felt it only fair (and polite) to tip my cap to the greats.

FAP: Kudos to you, sir! I appreciate your appreciation of the greats who came before us 🙂 I’ve seen Peggy Sue, but only once (years ago!) and I don’t really remember the plot. I also didn’t watch Quantum Leap for whatever reason. But, as I’ve mentioned, there was a time travel show back in the early ‘80s that I loved as a kid called Voyagers!, starring Jon-Erik Hexum, whose career was tragically cut short after he accidentally shot himself in 1984. If you haven’t seen it, you should totally check it out.

JLC:  Yes, I like Voyagers! too. And the Omni is one of the coolest time machines, right up there with the DeLorean and the Tardis.

Anyways, this was pretty fun. Anything else to add in closing?

FAP: Thanks for finding me and making this happen. It’s been almost 2 years since LIT90s was released, which in book terms makes it “old news.” My goal was to do a big publicity push to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death… But having worked in the New York City publishing industry as a book publicist, I know what a pain — and how futile — it can all be. Here’s hoping we both will find some new readers.

JLC:  Indeed. We write books so people can read them, right?

Anyone interested in learning more about either Lost in the ’90s or Timely Persuasion can check out both of our books below for a trip down memory lane via April 8th, 1994:

AmazonAmazon
AppleApple
WebsiteWebsite

Remember Remember the 5th of November

November 5th continues to be one of my favorite pseudo-holidays for obvious time travel geekery reasons.

In honor of that great red-letter date, here are a few BTTF tidbits found in Timely Persuasion.

Chapter 3:

After a year of constantly playing the Back to the Future soundtrack, my uncle took me to see Huey Lewis and the News.

Chapter 9:

I didn’t even need or want a DeLorean. Just a time bicycle would have made me a happy camper.

Chapter 17:

That was it. He confirmed that the future mother of his children actually existed, gave Nelson’s Mom the Heisman, renamed the album Quits, played one final show, and abruptly left the music business behind to seek out his density—I mean destiny—with my real mother.

Chapter 17: 

Still groggy, aching, and starving, I woke up on the couch with a figure hovering above me.

“Mom? Mom is that you?”

Acknowledgments:

Jeff Winston, Pamela Phillips, Henry DeTamble, Jud Elliott, Billy Pilgrim, Sam Deed, James Cole, John Titor, Dan Vasser, Livia Beale, Tru Davies, Daniel Eakins, Sam Beckett, Al Calavicci, Marty McFly, Emmett Brown, Bill S. Preston, Ted “Theodore” Logan, Hiro Nakamura, Eckels, Aaron, Abe, Will, Sherman, Mr. Peabody, and anyone else who has walked in their shoes.

It’s been so long there are probably a few more I can’t remember or readily find.  Check them out for yourself via Amazon, Apple, and/or online.

“Fester” – New Short Story

Fester by Jacob LaCivita

“Fester” available now as a free eBook from Smashwords

My new short story “Fester” is now available as a free eBook on Smashwords.

Background:

Been working on and off (mostly off) on a novel called Duty Calls for the last few years.  Inspired by a 6 week stint on jury duty, it’s mainly a tale set during the long idle times at the courthouse.  Hours and days spent hanging out with other jurors, exploring the building, telling stories, etc.  The book alternates between these “hanging out” scenes and “flashback” scenes of the jurors in their normal, non-jury duty lives.

“Fester” is one of these flashback chapters, and one that works pretty well as a standalone.

Along with being a preview of things to come, it’s also an ode to summer music festivals, and possibly my retirement from “2 dudes in a car” storytelling (though you can never say never…)

Enjoy!

Nick Hornby, Audrey Niffenegger & Me

I’d call it an early Xmas present, but this review from Goodreads was actually posted in June and I managed to miss it.

The Nick Hornby / Audrey Niffenegger comparison is quite flattering 🙂

If Nick Hornby wrote The Time Traveler's Wife, it would look a lot like this book.

I’ve always referred to Timely Persuasion as a rock and roll time travel novel, and this nails both sides of that coin. I wonder why I Write Like didn’t pick up on this…

Turns out the reviewer is a fellow author as well.  Check out her writing at Darusha.ca.

Thanks Darusha!  Glad you enjoyed.

Expiration Date = TP Remake?

Just finished reading an awesome novel featuring:

  • A recently unemployed journalist who goes back in time
  • A musician father in the past
  • Time travel that works by just thinking hard about a specific date
  • An inability to visit the same date twice
  • Being ghost-like and invisible to most people while back in time
  • Always traveling to the same “clock time” and location you left from
  • A mysterious doctor associated with a creepy hospital
  • Chapters named after song titles/lyrics

No, I didn’t reread Timely Persuasion again.  The above bullets also describe Expiration Date by Duane Swierczynski.  But the similarities are both striking and amusing.  Not sure whether I should chalk it up to great minds thinking alike, 100% coincidence or something in between.  This quote from the book summed up my opinion and made me laugh out loud:

Two events could be a coincidence.  Not all of this.”

Apophenia aside, the two stories are very different beyond the areas where music & time travel particulars intersect.  Expiration Date plays out as a fast paced hardboiled detective novel bouncing back and forth between the 1970s and the present, with cliffhangers at the end of most chapters that leave you longing for more.  I absolutely devoured it, being sucked into the “just one more chapter before bed” trap that hasn’t happened in a long time.  Best book I’ve read in ages, with an ending that was both satisfying and clever.

Highly recommended, even if TP did nothing to inspire it.

I Write Like

I spent some time playing around with the  “I Write Like” website using various snippets from my writing.  Check out the results below.  Never realized how wide my range was or the company I kept.

Bowling Alley Scene (Chapter 2 of TP)

I write like
P. G. Wodehouse

I Write Like by Mémoires. Analyze your writing!

The Creepy Hospital (Chapter 10 of TP)

I write like
Stephenie Meyer

I Write Like by Mémoires. Analyze your writing!

Meeting the Redheaded Girl at the bar (Chapter 11 of TP)

I write like
Kurt Vonnegut

I Write Like by Mémoires. Analyze your writing!

Breaking Up with the Redheaded Girl (Chapter 18 of TP)

I write like
J. D. Salinger

I Write Like by Mémoires. Analyze your writing!

“There Is No Time Travel” On Lost (Blog Post)

I write like
Douglas Adams

I Write Like by Mémoires. Analyze your writing!

I Went With Some Friends To See Benji Hughes (Blog Post)

I Write Like by Mémoires. Analyze your writing!

Paradox Lost (partial short story predating TP)

I write like
Agatha Christie

I Write Like by Mémoires. Analyze your writing!

Finally, I pasted in a snippet from “Replay” by Ken Grimwood to see what happened, and got this:

I write like
Jacob LaCivita

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

(Ok, maybe that last part didn’t exactly happen…)

Quantum Commentary

Finally got around to posting my 5th place entry from the fan fiction contest at Leap Back 2009 to the extras section of the main site.

“Just Like Starting Over”

It’s called “Just Like Starting Over” (you knew I’d go with a song title…) and serves as a bridge between the beginning and the end of the series.  I haven’t done the commentary thing in quite awhile, so here we go…

  • Fans tend to have a love/hate relationship with the final episode of QL.  Some are disappointed that Sam never made it home.  Many dislike the esoteric nature of any answers the finale provides.  I’ve always considered it to be brilliant, and probably the only way they could have ended the show.  But one day I decided the only other way to end it would be to send Sam back to right where he started.  Sort of a Twilight Zone-ish “Did it happen or not?” type of ending.  That was the inspiration for this story.
  • With the concept in hand, playing with the old saga cell narration for the opening sentence was quite obvious.  “Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator…and nothing happened.”
  • “Around a hundred by his best count, maybe a few less” is a nod to the final episode count of 96. (Though technically there are a few episodes containing multiple leaps, which would put the count just over 100.)
  • It was fun including Gooshie and Beeks as main characters here since they were oft-mentioned but seldom seen on the show.
  • Sam not remembering if the events of “The Leap Back” took place in 1998 or 1999 is an acknowledgment of a minor continuity gaffe.  In this episode they say the date at the project is 9/18/99, but then in the following season during the “Lee Harvey Oswald” episode the date is referenced as 2/14/99 — pre-dating “The Leap Back.”
  • The reader is supposed to think Sam leapt in as himself a split second after his initial leap, but this would mean that Tom Stratton should be in the waiting room at the project.  His absence here is a clue that the timing of the leap in this story is not exactly as it seems.  Verbena’s question to Sam about why there isn’t anyone in the waiting room serves as a hint.
  • Including a reunion scene with Donna & Sam was something I considered, but in the end I felt that I didn’t really know her character enough to do it justice.  Instead she just gets a minor cameo reference here to up the “is this real or not” ante.
  • Seeds for the ending are planted when Al relays this message from Ziggy: “She also says she’s sorry she called you crazy, and forgives you for triggering her override function.”
  • A big speculative Internet question regarding the ending of QL asks whether or not Al would still be a part of the project after Sam kept him together with Beth.  I try to tie up that loose end here.
  • It still shocks me that nobody has made an iPhone App that emulates the QL handlink.
  • This story was written prior to the debut of the “Leap to Di For” fan-film, but the parallels to how Sammy Jo restarts the project and how Al has trouble maintaining the connection are pretty neat.  Great minds…
  • I loved referencing the words of Al the Bartender here in a prophetic, foreshadowy sort of way.
  • For the grand finale the story switches to the present tense, recounting a prequel of the minutes just before our first look at the accelerator chamber in the QL pilot episode.  We end with Gooshie’s famous “he’s leaping” speech that kicked off the main premise of the show.