Before you get too excited, I’m not writing about actual time travel today. Until someone gets the physics figured out, your best chance for time travel is finding a spacial anomaly. Of course that’s risky. You may not end up at your desired point in time, and it may cause a dimensional shift instead of, or in addition to, time travel.
The time travel I propose involves looking back at your previous writing. I do this most often when I’m having trouble writing new material. I get out my old notebooks (even the ones from back in high school) and flip through the pages. I don’t think my writing was as good back then (at least I hope I’ve improved), but sometimes I stumble across something I can use now.
I’ve written before about my slush pile of lines that don’t yet have poems in which they belong. That’s often how these old poems work. Even if I’m embarrassed by the work of young Randall, I find individual lines that work well. I then use these lines as a prompt for a new poem. Sometimes it isn’t a line but an idea. I may find that I inadequately approached a theme 10 years ago that I’m now ready to try again.
You don’t always need such a utilitarian approach. Sometimes I just look through my old notebooks to remember. It takes me back to that time but with the knowledge and experience I now have. It can be fun to relive those times. It can be frightening. No matter what emotion(s) arise, sometimes one just needs to remember from whence he/she came.
At 28, I’m not the same writer, I’m not the same person, I was at 18. At 38, I’ll be yet again a different person. Life is a journey, and there are moments when interrupting the linear flow of time is exactly what we need.