Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Timequake (Brian Katcher)
Timequake was Kurt Vonnegut's last real novel, though a lot of it was more of a memoir. Compared to his earlier works, it wasn't that great. The premise is that time unexpectedly resets ten years, forcing everyone to relive the past decade exactly as they had before.
I read this book in 1998, and of course thought back to where I'd been ten years previously. In 1988 I was just starting the 8th grade. Now I was 23, living Mexico, working at my second teaching job. It struck me how radically my life had changed in ten years. It's fun to play this game occasionally, remembering where I was at certain milestone years.
Ten years ago, I was thirty. I had just accepted the job I still have. I had no idea that in five months my wife would inform me she was pregnant, or that a Random House editor was looking at the draft of my first novel and liking what she saw.
Fifteen years ago, I was living in Puebla, Mexico, though I was back in Missouri for the holidays. My parents had just told my sister and me that they were divorcing. Merry fucking Christmas.
Twenty years ago I was in college, still living in the dorms, and working at a group home.
Twenty-five years ago, I was a high school sophomore. For the first time in my life I had fallen in with a large group of people who shared my nerdish outlook and I didn't feel so alone (though my first kiss was still months away).
Thirty years ago I was in the fifth grade, terrified at the prospect of junior high.
One final distinct memory I'd like to share. It happened when I was a college freshman. I was registering for the second semester, when a thought hit me: some day I will look back at this moment that's happening right now, and it will be in the distant past.
Turns out, I was right.