Brrrrrrrrr!!!! It’s gray, windy and cold on this Sunday morning over here in my neck of the woods. First day I’ve had to use my heat. It’s also the first day of the time change, and with the extra hour of laziness, it’s the perfect setting for my imagination to go a-wandering. Although it doesn’t have to wander far. As I sit enjoying my coffee and listening to the musical delights of the 1930’s while watching the leaves twirl to the ground in their sweet little autumn ballet, I find myself wishing (as I often do) that I was born in a bygone era (hence my love of the dearly departed “Boardwalk Empire”, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and vintage men’s silk pajamas – think William Powell in “The Thin Man”). That being said, today’s post is all about my love of time travel fiction, specifically, a rather romantic offering from Richard Matheson.
Yes, the author of “I Am Legend,” “Hell House”, “Stir of Echoes”, and the man credited as the inspiration for Stephen King’s career once wrote “Bid Time Return” (unnecessarily re-titled “Somewhere In Time” after the film adaptation’s release…http://www.amazon.com/Somewhere-In-Time-Richard-Matheson/dp/0765361396/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1414945228&sr=8-2&keywords=bid+time+return), the story of a screenwriter vacationing at an old hotel in California, where he falls in-love with the photograph of a famous stage actress who once performed there around the turn-of-the-century. His obsession with her becomes so intense that he figures out a way to travel back in time to meet her. Talk about fearlessly putting yourself out there – this guy took a HUGE leap, literally and figuratively, having no idea whether the object of his affection would even like him, much less fall in-love with him. Of course, aside from the whole time-travel thing, there was also the challenge of not coming across as completely psychotic and stalker-ish (so, in essence, a little like online dating with a serious twist). But I digress … The book is beautifully written, a sentimental journey that Matheson referred to along with his other equally sentimental endeavor, “What Dreams May Come” (later adapted for the screen starring Robin Williams) as “…the best writing I have done in the novel form.”
Of course, if books are not your thing, you could always watch the previously mentioned film adaptation, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour as the lovers playing out their star-crossed Edwardian romance in a grand old hotel by the sea. It’s just as compelling and lovely as the book (and marks Christopher Reeve’s first post-1978 Superman performance), with even lovelier costumes (http://www.somewhereintime.tv/). But, rather than being set in the Hotel del Coronado in California, it takes place in The Grand Hotel on Michigan’s Mackinac Island, and it does NOT include the fairly significant and poignant twist that injects the print version with a touch more realism.
So, whether you choose the book or the movie (or both), it’s a surprisingly moving, emotional excursion, and one that is definitely worth curling up with on a cold fall day, like a hearty helping of comfort food for the soul.