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

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