MAH JONGG, HEADACHES, AND TIME TRAVEL
MAH JONGG, HEADACHES AND TIME TRAVEL
Mah Jongg has nothing to do with writing, unless one writes a story about the game. It’s a lot of fun to play. Writing can be fun too, but I’ll get to why sometimes it isn’t in just a minute.
On Saturday I finished the fourth of four Mah Jongg classes at the Haverhill Library, the same library where that illustrious group, the Thursday Night Writes, meets each week to critique the heck out of one another. Criticism can be fun when you are on the dishing out end, but this past Thursday I was on the receiving end. It wasn’t too, too bad. If you can keep an open and disengaged mind the bad stuff can just float over your head while you write down the criticisms. It seems the major problem in my current story is getting the hang of time travel.
In the film Back to the Future, and in one of the Harry Potter stories, why can one person appear in a time and place both as the present existence of himself and as a future or past existence, yet I’m not allowed do it in my story? Is it such a big deal to stretch and break the bonds of believability? This is why writing sometimes is not fun, when one just can not grasp why one’s critique group cannot grasp the concept!
But, back to Mah Jongg. This was the first time I’ve taught the game to a group. And to a large group of ten, only one of whom had actually touched a Mah Jongg tile before, and yet no one threw anything at me. That, in itself, was both rewarding, and remarkable. It can be frustrating when you don’t know the game. Even when you do know the game. When you are just learning the rules sometimes you just can not grasp the concept of why the game is played that way. Grasping new concepts, slippery concepts like time travel and Mah Jongg, make your head hurt. Several times during the class on Saturday I heard someone say they had a headache.
Figuring out my time travel issue will probably give me a headache at some point this week. If anyone can give me a definitive explanation of time travel, in simple terms that a lay person can understand, I’d be most thankful.