I know everyone remembers Alix as the reckless angry one who’s always ready to fight, and she is, but like… she’s also, in canon, really dorky and sweet?? Like how excited she is to get the pocket watch as her birthday present after seeing how cool it is, and reassuring her dad that she’s not gonna ditch him, and waving at Marinette’s parents, and just… look at this sweet happy child
And at the end of the episode when she thanks Ladybug for fixing her watch and says she’ll take better care of it next time and will try not to be irresponsible, it’s so Pure and Humble, she’s just such a Good
And Christmas episode??? Where she’s so happy to get sweets??? And happy to see Adrien’s okay??? And just generally so adorable and happy??? I’m love this child so much???
AND THE FREAKING PILLOW FIGHT IN PIXELATOR, WHICH SHE LOSES
In conclusion: Alix is an adorable precious bean in addition to being a terrifying little monster, this has been a PSA
ARIES: eat frozen yogurt and take not-so-shitty Polaroids because these memories mean more than you’ll ever know. you are unique. go on adventures, and let yourself be taken with whatever these heated days have to offer. you remind me of the good that will persevere no matter how bad it gets. i have so much love for you in my heart, and thank you for being the closest thing to home i know. you have saved so many people with those warm arms of yours. i am lucky enough to be one of them.
TAURUS: i hope you let your skin get painted over in gold from sunshine and your cheeks hurt with the weight of your smiles. see new things, but be safe. if it gets rough, just know there’s nothing you can’t get through. you are a smart and beautiful everywhere. embrace your humor, you’ve always had a knack for keeping me laughing.
GEMINI: this is your time. the skies are blue with your name painted in every breeze. it’s all yours if you want it. i think you should spend as much time as you can outside, because there is something about summer that will always love you. eat your birthday cake on a picnic with the most loveliest person you know, and let all your stress fade into the chlorine smell of swimming pools and sticky sweet smell of skin and sunscreen. it’ll be good, i promise.
CANCER: you deserve to shine as bright as you possibly can, you deserve to see the stars, and taste galaxies, and love someone who knows what that word means. you deserve so much, much more than i’ll ever be able to give. but i will give it up anyway. no more regrets. dance a lot to loud music, and sleep with your entire body and soul, take care of yourself in the most gentle way you know how. i want you to have fun. go out and do something only mildly reckless. i want you to find stories, to tell, to write, to capture, to paint, to sing half badly at the top of your lungs. you are so lovely. none of these words will ever be enough to tell you how grateful i am that you are here.
LEO: we’ve got a calendar of things to do but it’s gonna be alright, trust me. you’ve got an army of love ready to fight the stress any hour of the day. there is so much good waiting for you, so much greatness you deserve. if there is a battle, you are the winning side. you’re the strongest person i know but please remember take care of yourself. travel far and i hope you find different places that feel like home.
VIRGO: i just want you to smile. a little, a lot. i want you to feel lighter than things have been recently, or in the past, just want you to relax. the world is always moving, turning, constantly, and it can be deafening the amount of noise. sometimes people act like they don’t hear you, but they do. they’re just too stupid to admit it. you’re so goddamn gorgeous. enjoy the sun, i hope you find something new to love.
LIBRA: you mean so much, you matter so fucking much, there will be never enough of my stupid poetic sayings to describe it. this is what this is, stupid. just another time i couldn’t keep my mouth shut. you’re a different aspect of life, one that i’ve neglected. my most sincere apologies. you’ve always believed so much, i admire that about you. i hope you’re happy every possible moment you can be, and i hope you are loved. this summer should be good. you deserve it.
SCORPIO: calm down, breathe in, breathe out. you are always there, like a constant thrum in the background or the sound of screaming poetry, no matter the noise, i am nothing but appreciative of your love. i hope you live your days breathing in salty sweet air of the sea and that your skin is speckled gold with sand and that your soul is breathing and alive. things will work out, i like to believe the universe has a way of giving back to the good ones. you’re one of them. good. calm. pure. something sinful, yeah maybe, but i’m alright with going to hell as long as i see you there.
SAGITTARIUS: there is sunshine loving adventures waiting for you. i think you’ll hate and love airplanes a little bit more, and get a little pissed at the way time seems to run on it’s own agenda, but all in all, i know it’s going to be a good month. draw, paint, laugh, go on road trips with good music playing in the background and take a selfish amount of pictures. there are memories that will keep you warm longer than the sun ever has.
CAPRICORN: i don’t know what to expect out of you that’s anything less than greatness. don’t run forward but a walk in the park can do wonders sometimes. you’re life. don’t forget that. have fun, don’t sit idle. move around, go downtown and look at sculptures and art you have no idea what they mean. laugh. a lot. be a child, cause you know things are only getting harder. but you’re better. you’re good. things will work itself out. what is broken, will always rearrange.
AQUARIUS: summers are either chlorine stained hearts or the breath of fresh air in your lungs, and this time around might feel a little bit of both. work with what you have, i don’t know what else to say. but remember you are not poison. yes there is black ink spilling from your pen and sometimes your gushing veins, but it is not a part of hell you have to keep inside of yourself so you don’t infect and destroy and hurt hurt hurt. humans, we’re heaven and hell combined in one animal. and that’s it. you’re only human. nothing more, nothing less. and that’s okay. keep breathing. i know you can take care of yourself, but thing is, you don’t have to. you are not alone.
PISCES: i don’t see you around much, but your tenderness is always in my heart. i hope you pick flowers and decorate your hair with the aesthetic cause you’re a sunflower in a garden full of weeds. you told me that once. i’ll never forget. i hope you love yourself. if things are spiraling, i will do good on my promise to sink with you, no matter the distance, no matter the time spent apart, we’re always together. somewhere. i miss you yeah. there is no battle ship, there are no more gun shots and bullet wounds, and you’ll be okay. the sun will be sweet to you. listen to good music and visit a new cafe. you have so much love to give.
It was my sixth day of First Grade at Beaumont Elementary in Devon, Pennsylvania I was a 5-year-old new kid Mrs. Kowalski was still learning our names The School Board decided not to tell the students what happened Didn’t want 7000 children in a panic Thought we were safer in school Than with distraught and distracted parents on highways It was just another Tuesday
I don’t remember 9/11 I remember the weeks that followed The red eyes of adults around me The fantastical and horrific stories The tears and denial of friends who lost loved ones All burned into my psyche
I don’t remember 9/11 I remember my parents going to New York a month after the attacks for their anniversary They brought back gifts from the Toys R Us in Times Square And stories of dust covered cars that would never be reclaimed
I don’t remember 9/11 I remember hearing that we were going to war I remember my fear for children like me who would get hurt I remember resigned acceptance “We’re just getting the bad guys,” people said “You’re too young to understand”
I don’t remember 9/11 I remember my confusion when my father couldn’t walk my mother and I to the gate at Philadelphia International “But the last time we visited Aunt Theresa you waved goodbye” What I would’ve given to go back to 1999
I don’t remember 9/11 I remember the dead Young Americans fighting out of grief and misguided patriotism Iraqis and Afghans and Pakistanis slaughtered out of revenge I remember pushing a bully down a slide on a playground when he asked my friend if her parents bombed buildings A week later he tripped me going down the stairs, spraining my ankle “Al Qaeda supporter,” he whispered
I don’t remember 9/11 I remember a war I remember being desensitized to images of gore and destruction I remember a norm of hatred and aggression in the name of patriotism and security I remember learning of the ever-mounting debt being saddled on my generation Debts that my grandchildren will still be paying off Debts of money and of blood
I don’t remember 9/11 I remember traveling to other countries Being reminded to exercise caution when telling people we’re Americans I remember the surprise on their faces “But you’re so nice” “You don’t look like war-mongers”
I don’t remember 9/11 I remember the nausea I felt when we learned in school that we armed and trained Al Qaeda and the Taliban That we caused the Iranian Revolution That we fund corruption and war when it fits our needs That we’ve murdered millions in the name of freedom That we are a nation of terrorists ourselves
I don’t remember 9/11 I remember years of teachers glossing over the early 2000s “You know this already” I remember finally speaking up Asking Mr. Palmatier to go over the events of that infamous day I remember his stunned silence as he looked at his 2nd period AP US History class “Sir…we were 6…we don’t remember”
I don’t remember 9/11 I remember the fear I feel every time I fly Every time I ride public transport Every time I’m in a crowded area Every time I’m at a national site
I don’t remember 9/11 I remember visiting memorials on a frigid day in December Sleet masked the tears on my face So much death and destruction An endless war A generation that grew up on fear A generation that could learn Learn to empathize Learn to love Learn from the mistakes of those who came before us
I don’t remember 9/11 But I can’t forget everything since I won’t forget
“What is a good way that I could write time travelling without it being cliche?”
Ooh, I love questions like this! They’re so much fun, and on a somewhat self-indulgent level, they really get me thinking on the tropes themselves.
So without further ado, here are my personal thoughts on writing about time travel:
1. Embrace the fact that it’s not gonna make total sense.
This goes for a lot of creative fiction. When I was writing my urban fantasy novel, for example, I used a lot of traditional mythological figures whose duties and depictions (i.e. one humanoid being reaping the dead despite the fact that over a hundred thousand people die a day, billion-year-old entities who still look and behave like teenagers, figures from religions whose world views wildly conflict interacting with each other, etc.) weren’t compatible with what we currently know about the laws of physics.
And the sooner I resolved not to even attempt to explain it, the sooner my novel improved.
The wonderful thing about fiction is that it doesn’t have to imitate reality as we know it; the laws of the physical universe need not apply. And as long as the characters in your universe accept that, so will the reader.
I’ve had around twenty beta readers look at my book, and not one of them has poked holes in my casual disregard for the conventionally accepted rules of physical reality. The suspension of disbelief is an amazing thing.
As for how to best apply this to time travel, take Back to the Future, for example. This is one of the best time travel series ever made, but if you really look at what’s going on, you’ll come to find that none of it really makes any sense at all.
First of all, Marty McFly is a popular high school student whose best friend is an eccentric nuclear physicist. Conventional wisdom (and just about every fiction writing book or advice blog I’ve ever read) would dictate that this is a pretty heavy plot-point and warrants some explanation. But the narrative never questions it, and as such neither does the vast majority of its audience.
It is in this exact manner that Back to the Future handles its heaviest of all plotpoints, the act of time travel, which is the main driving force behind its entire plot.
How does it explain Doc Brown’s ability to time travel? Well, he invented the Flux Capacitor, of course. What is a Flux Capacitor, you ask? How does it work, exactly? Well, fucked if I know. All I know is that the narrative treats it like it’s a real thing, and by default, so do I.
The same could be said for the magically changing family portrait, the fact that the characters can’t interact with their past or future selves without universal destruction, flying cars, and the fact that the McFlys’ future children inexplicably look exactly like them. None of it makes any sense. And it’s fucking magical.
Another of my favorite examples of this is pre-Moffat Doctor Who. The science is campy, occasionally straight-up ridiculous, and unabashedly nonsensical, yet paves the way for some truly great and thought provoking storylines and commentary.
Bottom line is, I don’t know how to time travel. I’m guessing you don’t either, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be asking me for advice on how to write it. Accept it. Embrace it. Don’t be bashful about it – trust me, time travelers are probably a minority in your readership, so they won’t judge you.
So as to what would be a good means of writing time travel, the short answer is: any way you want. For obvious reasons, I’d stay away from old cars, police boxes, and phone booths, but with the power of the suspension of disbelief, virtually nothing is off the table: a pair of magic sneakers, a refrigerator, a closet, a treehouse -oh, crap, that one’s been done before. But you get the picture. You can be as creative as you want to be about it. Don’t be afraid to step outside the police box, so to speak.
Trust in the magic of the suspension of disbelief, and don’t overthink things. Your story and readers will thank you.
As for how to avoid other cliches, that brings me to my next point:
2. Look at the tried and true tropes of time traveling. Now subvert them.
This might just be me and my adoration of irony talking, but since you specifically asked how to avoid cliche I’m going to indulge myself here.
Do the exact opposite of what people expect from narratives about time travel. You know the old trope: the protagonist steps on a bug, and comes back to the present to find the world being ruled by gorillas.
I’m not telling you not to include drastic consequences for time travel, because there would probably be quite a few (at least if you believe in the chaos theory, which states every action has a universal reaction.)
But you could toy around with the idea that fate isn’t something that can ultimately be altered at all, and that all the protagonist accomplishes is solidifying (or even triggering) a pre-existing outcome.
My knee-jerk suggestion, as someone who takes fiendish glee in incorporating humor into my writing, would be to make the protagonist have some Forrest Gump-type encounters that unwittingly trigger huge, history-defining event, but it can also be significantly more tragic than that: maybe the protagonist goes back in time to save his father from a hit-and-run car accident, for example, and then accidentally kills him. Or perhaps he realizes that his father was a bad man (beat his mother, planned on killing someone, etc.) and makes a moral decision to kill him (which is also a great way to ask philosophical questions. More on that later.)
I don’t know what kind of time travel your writing or what your style of writing is, but these are things I’d personally just love to play around with.
Or maybe time travel does change things, but it’s not even close to what the protagonist expected: maybe his words of wisdom to his newly married mother about true love and the meaning of life and whatnot unexpectedly lead her to realize that she’s deeply unhappy in her current marriage, and he returns to the present to find her divorced (lesbian stepmom optional.)
Maybe absolutely nothing at all changes, but he realizes that he’s responsible for some famous Mandela Effect, like the Bearenstein/Bearenstain discrepancy.
Bottom line is, don’t be afraid to do the unexpected. But conversely, don’t be afraid to use tried and true tropes, either: regardless of how overdone they may seem to be, they can almost always be rejuvenated when interjected with a thought-provoking plot.
Which brings me to my final point:
3. Make sure it has something to say.
Science fiction, especially the speculative variety, tends to be best when it begins by asking a question, for which it will later provide an answer. Take, for example, Planet of the Apes. The pervasive question of the movie is whether or not humanity is inherently self-destructive, which it ultimately answers with its famed final plot twist that humanity has long since destroyed itself.
Rod Serling (who was incidentally responsible for the original Planet of the Apes, by the way) did this remarkably well: almost every episode of the Twilight Zone packed a massive philosophical punch due to the fact that they followed this simplistic formula. The episode would begin with the presentation of a question, big or small (frequently by the charismatic Serling himself) and by the end of the episode, that question would be answered.
I’m not going to go in to detail here, as it would spoil the magic of uncovering the plot twists for the first time, but Serling used his speculation to tackle the narrow-mindedness of beauty standards in Eye of the Beholder, the dangers of fascism in Obsolete Man, the communist paranoia of the time period with the Monsters are Due on Maple Street, and countless more.
I would recommend watching the original Twilight Zone for almost anyone looking to write speculative fiction such as time travel.
Even if your work isn’t compatible with this specific formula of Question => Debate => Answer (which some work isn’t) it will still need to have some kind of underlying statement to it, or no matter how clever the science fiction is or how original the time travel is, it will fall flat.
This is why Twilight Zone, Planet of the Apes, Back to the Future, and (pre-Moffat, as I always feel inclined to stress – he does literally the opposite of almost everything I recommend here) Doctor Who still remain widely enjoyed today, despite the fact that many of their tropes have been used many, many times since they original aired.
So for time travel, remember that it is a means, not an end. You could write the most cliched type of time travel story imaginable, and your audience will still feel fulfilled by it if your message is heartfelt, thought-provoking, and/or poignant.
Maybe you want to use time travel to make a statement about your belief in the existence of fate, or lack thereof. In this case, using the Sterling Approach, you would have your story begin with the question of whether or not humans can alter or change destiny, allow the narrative/characters to argue the question back and forth for a while, and then ultimately disclose what you believe the answer to be.
Or maybe you want to use time travel to explore or subvert the treachery of history and how it is taught, and show how the true narrative can be explored, purposefully or otherwise, by the victors.
Maybe you want to show that there’s no clear answer, or maybe no answer at all, a la the cheerful nihilism of Douglas Adams novels.
Either way, figure out what you want your message to be long before you put pen to paper, and then use time travel, like any other creative trope, as a means to an end to answer it. Your story will thank you for it.
The important thing about having lots of things to remember is that you’ve got to go somewhere afterwards where you can remember them, you see? You’ve got to stop. You haven’t really been anywhere until you’ve got back home.