A Traveller through Time

 A Traveller through Time... sounds like a great title for a piece from a Specfic writer, doesn't it? Conjuring a mental image of some deliciously Whovian flight of fancy; an exploration of strange worlds with even stranger inhabitants, or a dip into the far reaches of our own history, and the extraordinary voyage of discovery that may be found there. So I'm sorry to have to tell you that today's little mental ramble is going to be far more prosaic than the title might lead you to expect.

For we are all, of course, travellers through time - all on a shared journey to one inescapable destination - and what we do with that journey depends on an extraordinarily complex set of factors: ambition, opportunity, character, family background, desire, environment, mental and physical wellbeing, education, luck... the list goes on and on, yet in the words of the old adage, what it really comes down to is how well (or otherwise) we play the cards we are dealt. Sometimes the choices we make turn out well, sometimes not. And sometimes we may have been dealt such a poor hand that we can't see a way to play it at all. That, as they say, is life. Sometimes it is wonderful, sometimes it sucks.

And who could have dreamed that we would have been dealt such a particularly awful hand as we were given in 2020? Covid has robbed us of the best part of two precious years of life - and if that's all it has done, then we are the lucky ones. For countless thousands have been robbed of life itself. Not to mention the still-emerging problems of 'Long Covid'. For me, well, I count myself as one of the lucky ones. Admittedly it has been a time when it was well-nigh impossible to do my day job, (no place for performers in the brave new Covid world) and even once work did become possible again, the passage of time became marked by the daily swab and swirl of the lateral flow test. But I have weathered the storm thus far with little more than a depleted bank balance, and a few periods when I've felt pretty low, so yes, overall I've been luckier than many.

I last committed my thoughts to this blog about a year ago, when we would have found it hard to believe that it would still be going on a year later. And in the meantime, days flow into weeks and the unstoppable march of time carries us inexorably onward. It's a bugger.

So it's little wonder that so many people are finding themselves re-evaluating... not only counting their blessings but actively looking to change their lives for the better. To concentrate on what is important, and to make the most of the lives that they have. Of the cards they have been dealt. Some are staring directly at the dealer and risking a twist, in the hope of improving their chances. Others have folded. Those who can afford to are perhaps sitting this one out, looking to re-join the game later down the line. Most do not have that choice.

And as I sit typing, the news from the Russian invasion of Ukraine only serves to accentuate the fact that our lives can turn in a moment - what we may have thought of as a pretty straightforward journey from cradle to grave can become fractured in an instant, and we are hurtled towards an alternative timeline not of our choosing.

So I apologise for the unusually downbeat trajectory of this post, but the truth is that I too am re-evaluating. Recently I passed a somewhat unwelcome milestone - a moment in life which has profoundly brought home to me that while I may not be able to see the finish line quite yet (hopefully), nevertheless I have definitely entered the final furlong. And as those remaining years hurtle by, it tends to rather concentrate the mind. I would call it a mid-life crisis, except that I'm a way past mid-life now, and the clock keeps ticking... 

As they so rightly say, inside every older person is a youngster wondering what the hell happened. Intimations of Mortality...

So not unnaturally I find myself looking back at how I've spent my earthly journey - the choices I've made, for good or ill; what I've achieved and what I haven't; and all that I still want to do before I finally shuffle off into the darkening sunset. This isn't the place to bore you with all the bucket list details, but writing, and more importantly, getting my writing to all you lovely people out there, is very high on that list.

So has there been any movement on that score, since I last committed myself to this blog? Well, yes, as it happens. Last September I had a piece of horror flash published on the Timber Ghost Press website (you can read it for free at https://www.timberghostpress.com/blog/oubliette-by-kb-willson) and this coming summer will see the publication of the delayed Northampton Arts Lab SF anthology in which I have a story, so things are moving in the right direction, albeit slowly. And rest assured, whenever I have ANY news on pieces of mine reaching the wider world, you can be sure you'll be the first to know.

So until next time... stay safe, look after each other, and make as much of life as you can - it don't 'arf fly!

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