Tuesday, July 9, 2013

There are moments when time stands still

This is the way the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Lake Huron looked a few days ago. From a distance and through a bit of afternoon haze, it probably appears much the same now as it did in 1896, when it was the focal point in the novel, "Bid Time Return," by Richard Matheson. Or, as it did in 1912, when the date of the story was changed for a film version entitled, "Somewhere in Time." The hotel was constructed in 1887, and is a monument to Victorian elegance. And, it is a place where time has been known to stand still.

Time is what you make it

In the realm of science fiction and fantasy, there are, perhaps, five writers who have produced stories which I consider my "favorites."

Jack Finney wrote the novel, "Time and Again," which is one I constantly re-read. George Stewart wrote, "Earth Abides," unquestionably a masterpiece of many facets. Clifford Simak, a long-time reporter and editor for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, was a prolific writer of novels, short stories and non-fiction books. His novel, "Way Station," is among my favorites. Robert Holdstock is an Englishman whose novel, "Mythago Wood," is a special story, I think.

Then, there is Richard Matheson. He wrote possibly the most romantic story among science fiction novels, "Bid Time Return." It is better known by the name given to the motion picture based on the book, "Somewhere in Time." He might be the most recognizable among this group of writers I have mentioned since six of his stories were made into films.

The reason I am mentioning this is because the 87-year-old Matheson died on June 23 and because I have had his story, "Somewhere in Time," on and off my mind since learning of his death. I have written about all of these authors and their books in previous posts, and my imagination is always stirred and reflects upon their "tale craft" when some event occurs to lure one of them from the recesses of my memory once more into the forefront of my thoughts.

"Somewhere in Time" was far from the top of the list in terms of being best known among the books Matheson wrote. It was for many, though, the only one which really counted. There are readers who travel to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island where the motion picture was filmed just because of Matheson's time-defying love story and the desire it creates to touch its magical nature.

In fact, each autumn, a "Somewhere in Time" weekend event is staged at the hotel for aficionados of the novel and the film. Between the history of the island and its hotel, and the romance of a love that even time could not conquer, I assume it is easy to understand why some of us are captivated by this bit of enduring enchantment in the otherwise rather superficial world in which we pass our time.

As described by hotel staff: "This special weekend includes a screening of the film, discussions of the movie's production process, visits with returning cast and crew, and hotel guests are invited to make a cameo appearance in costume at the cocktail receptions, costume promenade, and Grand Luncheon Buffet."

So, what are you doing the weekend of October 4-6, 2013? If you have a few thousand dollars to spare and would enjoy wearing period costume to live in the world of 1896 for a few days -- or, should that be 1912? –- you might discover the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is the perfect place to visit a moment in time which once was and which still exists if you are a believer in the existence of everlasting love.

See you there? Maybe?


Smareis said...

Olá caro amigo,

Encantadora essa imagem, deve ser um lindo lugar, o tempo deve parar com certeza num lugar desses. Em algum lugar do passado...
Imagine o preço pra hospedar nesse hotel. Tem coisas que só ver já basta o bolso às vezes é menor que o sonho.

Esse filme só podia ser gravado num lugar assim, coisa de sonho mesmo.
"Em Algum Lugar do Passado"

(Somewhere in Time), é filme que marcou muito, e eu me emocionei muito quando assisti ao filme. Já vi varias vezes e sempre que vejo fico emocionada com a história. E a música do tema do filme, lindíssima. Alguns cantores aqui do Brasil já gravaram essa música, a letra é muito bela... Eu adoro ela tocada só no piano, perfeita!

Eu acredito no amor eterno! Todo amor é eterno. Se não é eterno, não era amor.
Esses escritores que citam são muito bons. George Stewart é fantástico.
Richard Matheson um dos meus favoritos.

Adorei a postagem muito bem elaborada.
Desejo que sua semana seja magnífica!
Deixo um abraço meu amigo Fram!

Fram Actual said...

I can think of many adjectives to describe the Grand Hotel, Smareis, including marvelous, beautiful, historic, elegant and spectacular -- to list a few. And, it is expensive, but not outrageously so in terms of today's prices and the typical costs to stay in a major hotel in places like San Francisco or New York City.

I have stayed at the Grand Hotel, but never during a "Somewhere in Time" weekend. I would like to attend the event some day, but it is not the sort of occasion a man would wish to be a part of without a companion.

As for the novel ("Bid Time Return") and the film ("Somewhere in Time"), their endings are a very different and, while I love the story, I do not care for the ending in either. I think the ending and, in terms of the man within me, the entire story of "Time and Again" by Jack Finney, are more satisfying and play better to my sense of how I would write the story of my own life if the cosmos would allow me.

And, as for the music, few composers can match the work of John Barry. I cannot imagine this motion picture without his music.

Finally, as for love -- the eternal version -- I think you are right: If it cannot or does not last forever, it could not have been actual love. Unfortunately, I think most of us find everlasting love to be illusive.

Thank you, Smareis, for coming, for reading and for leaving your thoughts. I appreciate your presence.

A Cuban In London said...

This is one of those posts that is worth bookmarking to return and enjoy it again. I read it, read it again and I have just finished my third reading. I am not familiar with the authors but it was your passion that drew me in. You have a talent for enthusing people about the literature you like. I will now be checking Richard Matheson despite the fact that I have already about half a dozen books to read during my holidays.

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

You are exceedingly kind with your comment, CiL. Thank you.

I think I would repeat the same recommendation I made to Smareis. If you were to choose one of these books to read, I would guide you toward Jack Finney's, "Time and Again." This novel is a mystery story, a time travel story, a love story, a travelogue of New York City as it existed in the 1880s and an adventure story. It is fiction blended with history. It is the work of a writer whose love and knowledge of "old New York" (the milieu of which should fascinate you, given your personal history), and unbounded imagination have melded literature with the realm of fantasy. And, to a person like me, the theory, the possibilities, the events are utterly believable.

Your appearance here always pleases me, CiL. I hope you are enjoying your holidays and summer with your family.

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Something special ....