Norma Jean and the Butterfly Effect

This year I’m taking part in “Bloganuary” – a series of writing prompts published throughout the month by Mindy Postoff. Today’s writing prompt is “If you could, what year would you time travel to, and why?”

I imagine we have to ignore the conservation of mass law if we’re going to consider time-travel as a valid possibility? Have you ever thought about it? If you go back in time, you are potentially there in parallel with yourself – so the mass of atoms you comprise of just got multiplied – how did that happen? It’s not you plus the version of you from the future, because the version of you from the future IS you.

I suppose we’re also going to ignore the butterfly effect – the combinatorial explosion that happens in response to even the tiniest things we might do to affect the past while there. I remember reading a wonderful book called “Golden Apples of the Sun” by Ray Bradbury years ago – that gave rise to the term “Butterfly Effect”. A man goes on a time travel journey into the distant past  and is warned to stay on the path, lest the future be altered. Quite how they built the path is another thing, but of course he strays from the path and steps on a butterfly. When he returns to the present, the first thing he notices is some of the letters of the alphabet are now reversed on signs.


I guess we’re going to pick something that happened in popular culture, and go into the past to watch it happen. Something significant. That turns us into Sam Beckett in a strange sort of way, doesn’t it.

Let’s go with the first person that springs to mind – the first celebrity I wish I could have met. It’s got to be Marilyn Monroe. I’m not quite sure when I would have liked to meet her though – before she was famous, during her fame, or towards the end?

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to be at the scene of a significant event unfolding, with full knowledge of what was about to happen, and to redirect history in the most subtle of ways. Perhaps to be wandering on the beach on the same night Marilyn took photos with George Barris – to make friends, go for a coffee, and just be there at the same time everybody else was trying to take a piece of her. To support her. To look over our shoulder at the future with a raised eyebrow, and say “not this time”.

2 replies on “Norma Jean and the Butterfly Effect”

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