Mapping the Road Not Taken: Do You Want a Do-Over?

My book, The Road Not Taken, poses many “magical questions”—and I’m going to begin digging even deeper into the historic and mythical underpinnings in its pages, here and on social media @SusanRubin1 on Twitter and @SusanRubinWriter on Instagram, in a new series: Mapping the Road Not Taken. Together, we’ll travel through the pages of my book—and at every stop, I’m going to ask you to answer a magical question. Leave your response in the comments here or on social media.


Note to self: not everybody sees Time/Space the way I do, the way astrophysicists do—some of them. To me, it’s like a huge DVD and on it is every bit of language, action, emotion, and history that has ever happened on planet earth. I would give a lot to be able to get a copy of it so I could visit places and save people from the horrors they lived through and warn them of horrors to come.

In my book, The Road Not Taken, the Time/Space continuum is a given. And because of that, you can visit with dead loved ones, meet with historic heroes and geniuses. If it has happened on earth, you can revisit it on this DVD.

Which begs a big question: How far back should we go, and how should we behave when we get there?

I could’ve run around New York on September 10, 2001 yelling “get out of the World Trade Center! Something horrible will happen here tomorrow.” And they would’ve listened to me, and nobody would’ve been incinerated by two airplanes. Nobody would’ve jumped out of 58 story windows to escape the flames. 

Or, I could go back to 1692 and ride a horse to Salem, Massachusetts and rush into the courtrooms where the Witch Trials were happening and demand that I be allowed to prove they were killing innocent women who were not witches at all. What a hero I would’ve been. 

So many past lives fascinate me for their heroism, their barbarism, their romanticism, their discovery of life-saving vaccines. Real ones. Why not go to Congo Square when a slave auction was happening? Demand the people for sale be set free immediately. Explain the cost to the human soul that would be incurred for hundreds of years because one group of rich people bought African human beings, dragged them here, enslaved them and created an ugly imbalance that would haunt this country forever. 

As I tried not to watch the Supreme Court hearings of Amy Cony Barrett, I smelled smoke. I smell all the lives shattered and burnt up by people she reminds me of: pious, dishonest, cruel and without a soul. Proclaim that you love Jesus, give yourself stigmata to prove it, but if you are a phony Christian, it will show. 

If I could get back to Time/Space, maybe I could stop the constant flow of wolves in sheep’s clothing: The Evangelicals who love embryos but not human beings they disagree with, the extreme Catholics with their weird sects in which women are subservient to men. Those members of the Muslim faith who burn and explode things thinking it will please Allah. The Jews who steam roll the Palestinians because they are angry and afraid. 

I want a Do Over. I want to stand at the doorway to Time and Space and get to decide what will help my fellow humans, and what will destroy them. So far, I have not been invited to do this. But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming.

If you could go back to any moment in history and change the way it unfurled, where on the space/time continuum could I find you?

Tell me, in the comments here or on social media, and I promise to meet you there. There are so many historical wrongs piling up—and so many were already outstanding before we got to even 2016, or, god forbid, right now. I promise I would ride along to fix them all with you, if I could.

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