A Time Travel Tale in Which I Attempt to Write a Poem in the Style of Robert Burns

Hot buttered banjo strings, Batman, it’s almost 2016! The year has whizzed by so fast, I think I have whiplash.

So that I can begin 2016 with a clean slate and a productive feeling, I’m spending the month of December in a mad dash to catch up on all of 2015’s projects in advance of the New Year. One of those projects is the Totally Fabricated Bios I owe to several contributors to my March IndieGoGo campaign, which was successfully funded, allowing me the opportunity to spend six weeks in New Hampshire for the Odyssey Writing Workshop.

So get comfortable and prepare yourself for a tale of complete and fantastic invention about my friend, Robert Lindsay Nathan, his time machine, and his exploits in history. Lovers of the poetry of Robert Burns will particularly enjoy this Totally Fabricated Bio.

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Robert Lindsay Nathan, Intrepid Time Traveler

Robert Lindsay Nathan and Time Travel in the Historical Record

Robert Lindsay Nathan is primarily known for his 1999 discovery of the principles of time travel, and his subsequent invention of the time machine in 2012. He was born September 24, 1952 in Sheffield Alabama, and soon grew to be a prolific collector of science fiction magazines. Thus it was that, inspired by the pulp stories of the day, young Robert began experimenting with the bending of the space-time continuum at the tender age of 7. Though he was not immediately successful, he never abandoned his dream of traveling through time, and when he achieved his invention, he wasted no time in setting off to explore history. Unfortunately, little else is known about Mr. Nathan, apart from the small hints and clues left to us in the historical record.

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It appears Nathan left Robert Burns with at least one memento from the future.

But some of these hints and clues are tantalizing, indeed. For instance, take this poem, written by the great Scottish poet Robert Burns, who received a visit from Mr. Nathan circa 1780 in his Dumfries home. The poem not only mentions Mr. Nathan by name, but also comments upon the appearance and function of Nathan’s time machine, to which Burns refers as “time’s auld horse cart”.

To a Man from Aft Me End

Wi’ gears aglow an’ wheels rotatin
Time’s auld horse cart stands awaitin
Sae stately grand an’ yet sae patient!
To tak thee in its draft
Dear Robert Lindsay Nathan
An’ return thee aft!

Wi’ nae horse, but needs na hae ane
Thy cart down paths of time be trav’lin!
Thou clamb wi’in its steely cabin
An’ in a hasty glimmer
Lang aft I lay auld, cauld an’ graven
Thou’s in the future, hae’n dinner!

But I thank ye for callin me friend
An’ shewin me a’ that lies round the bend
An’ for singin a sang of things unken’d
Forward tho’ I canna see
Now I’ve met a man from aft me end
And thou’rt curs’d, compar’d wi’ me!

Dozens of other bits of evidence of Nathan’s time travel lie strewn across the historical record, from a Paleolithic cave painting in Lascaux that clearly depicts Nathan standing next to his time machine; to a brief but perplexing Biblical reference in which he is accused of absconding the Battle of Jericho with the Ark of the Covenant; to an ancient Chinese text that lists him as trusted adviser to Zhu Yuanzhuang, first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. There are entire schools of historic research devoted to finding Robert Lindsay Nathan’s path through the timeline.

But, while new branches of history may have opened up due to Nathan’s discovery, the same can sadly not be said for science. Because Nathan left no notes, diagrams or plans behind when he ventured into the past, our modern scientists and inventors have no way of learning from his designs. Furthermore, he has not been seen or heard from since his disappearance in 2012, apart from the historical clues. And, if he has made it to the future, modernity has yet to learn of it.

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