Time Passages

Discussion in 'General Discussion & Questions' started by Walter Oobleck, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    That last example is great! Great story! I've read both of the Joe Hill stories...will have to look for that again on a re-read, but the Walter Mitty character is memorable because the whole story was his fantasy life. Reminds me of that story from Cheever, I think it was...this guy makes his way home and he does so by swimming through all of the neighborhood pools. Doesn't quite meet the...whatever about time passages...not the way I recall the story, but it came to mind.
    • From Here to Eternity, Jame Jones...listed this above and I looked again at my notes/review/index....Jones has a character named Warden have a conversation with himself. And then there's a couple descriptions that are nice, kinda related: the eyelids shuddering closed at that moment when you went clear out of your own body and you knew nothing and knew everything, you a long ways off with only a slim silver cord attaching you to yourself back there... & it was more as if there were two of him, and one of him went off and away from the other of him. he could look back and see the other of him there on the bunk, and he did not know any more which of him was him. there was a kind of cord that looked like it was made out of jism connecting the two of him and he knew from somewhere, but unconcernedly this time, that if that cord ever got broken he was dead. then he went further on into the still growing black spot and could not see the other of him down there on the bunk any more.
  2. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    Don't worry...I'm contained. It's like the Hank Williams song, I've Been Down That Road Before...my head is so swelled up I can't get it through the front door.
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    Moderator Ms. Mod Administrator


    Was that The Swimmer?
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  4. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    Yeah, that musta been the title, John Cheever. Did someone do a movie about that, Burt Lancaster maybe in the starring role?
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    Moderator Ms. Mod Administrator

    That's the one. Don't think I've ever seen the movie but had read the story in college. Must have made an impression as the title came right to me when you mentioned the plot and that was a loooooong time ago. :)
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  6. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    • The Big Bounce, Elmore Leonard: There are numerous time passages in this story from Leonard. One example is a scene late in the story when Frank Pizarro is alone on stage, thinking about the five-hundred dollars he wants to blackmail from Frank & Nancy. Leonard sets Frank on the set, he’s been and is drinking and he’s considering his next moves.

    He would come out of the shadow of the house and bushes and see the girl in the swimming pool…

    The operative word, would, is a word used by others that sets in motion the time passages. A scene following has Nancy and Jack on stage and events that just transpired (it’d be a spoiler if I said) motivate Nancy to engage in time passages, “In her mind she heard a policeman or someone say…” She uses her imagination to try to anticipate what will happen. This scene brings to mind all of the ‘crime fiction’ you and I have read, scenes where the ‘bad guy’…or maybe the ‘good guy’ imagines an outcome, or imagines a situation that would present a plausible alibi, and the result is a kind of time passages, a characters on stage using his/her imagination. I think the time passages from Leonard’s Out of Sight are more effective, more entertaining, that scene where Karen’s reflection in the windshield as she drives is the tool Leonard uses to engage Karen and her deceased father in conversation.

    Although the many instances in this story from Leonard do mirror life as I think they happen far more often than they are portrayed in fiction. Would you agree or disagree? Seems like it’d be a great thread starter, too, “What/How do you use your imagination?”

    • Zelig, a Woody Allen movie from the 80s. This is an entertaining movie if you can get past all the baggage that Allen totes around. Allen is Leonard Zelig in this movie, a Jewish character who takes on the characteristics of those people with whom he associates. Zelig is transformed before the viewers’ eyes, like a chameleon, and I can’t help but think of John Kerry during the election cycle. Or Greg Stillson in The Deadzone, another twist on the time passages theme. Watching Zelig, I was reminded of myself as a kid, meeting my ‘southern’ cousins for the first time…and then starting to talk with an accent like they did and they took note of it, probably why I remember it.

    Or have you ever found yourself in a situation where you encounter another whose personality is such that you automatically begin to take on characteristics that are a kind of foil to the other, characteristics that you would not usually exhibit? How’s it go: Some people bring out the best in us?

    Anyone else have any others? Either from other writers or from Stephen King stories? Or maybe other movies? Paintings? Songs?
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  7. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    • Touch, Elmore Leonard: Another key word, daydream, that Leonard uses to set up this time passage. In a daydream he used to serialize when he was younger--and still imagined from time to time--August was Augustus, a Christian of ancient Rome. This time passage is short, a long paragraph, but it works in this case for the way it builds on August's character. Too, if you're a Leonard fan, this story is worth checking out. In the foreword, Leonard writes, TOUCH takes place in 1977. That's the year the book was written and, within a couple months, rejected by more than a dozen hardcover publishers. He goes on to describe some of the problems a writer faces--and I believe in 1977 he was an established writer...I think this one was finally published in 1987. He says I had a good time writing Touch, imagining mystical things happening to an ordinary person in a contemporary setting...friends of mine who read a lot think it's my best book. The foreword was written in 1987...and Leonard just recently passed.
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  8. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    • Out on the Cutting Edge, Lawrence Block. This is...#8 maybe...or #13 in the Matthew Scudder series. Read the 1st, skipped to this one. Lawrence begins this story with a time passage: When I imagine it, it is always a perfect summer day, with the sun high in a vivid blue sky...this goes on for several pages, Matt, 1st person eye-narrator, telling us so on and so forth. If you're interested, this one and the one listed above, Touch, from Leonard both contain elements of AA, this one goes a bit more into the nuts & bolts of AA, whereas Leonard's story uses people and places associated with AA as stage & setting. (Block is okay...but this one reads much (story-line, characters, action) like the 1st.)
    Feel free to list or describe your favorite time passages from a King story...there's a pile of them. Leonard is the only writer I've read recently who uses the tool (almost) as much as King and King's use is off-the-charts. Thinking about a few of them--I really like the one in Dreamcatcher (and Doctor Sleep)--makes me want to reread one of them. Or one could go through the entire batch with an eye toward enjoying how he does it.
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  9. skimom2
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    skimom2 Just moseyin' through...

    Absolutely. Years back, I had a friend who brought out a wild, impulsive, absolutely bonkers side of me. Sounds like a lot more fun than it actually was--I did things when I was with her that were downright dangerous. It was like she short circuited something in the impulse control part of my brain. I scared the hell out of myself, because I could see 'The Stranger'--an alternate universe version of myself that wasn't kind, or funny, or thoughtful or generous, or anything I wanted to be. It was a friendship that had to end.
  10. blunthead
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    blunthead Well-Known Member

    Not to go off topic, as I can't at present think of an example to answer yer question, but I like when an author describes a character's dream. My favorite examples are in Bag of Bones. I feel sK does a very superior job of it whenever he does it.
  11. Bryan James
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    Bryan James Well-Known Member

    Lest we not forget Holden Caulfield...seems that he was slodging through an "ants marching" reverie the whole phony time.
  12. mustangclaire
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    mustangclaire There's petrol runnin' through my veins.

    OMG I remember that film. I watched it years and years ago. When I was still a child really. It stayed with me for a long time. You've reminded me of it. The Swimmer. I'd love to see it again.
  13. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    and I he doesn't jerk you around...don't recall a specific title at the moment, but what I mean is you're reading thinking what's going on or someone died or some other thing and then you're provided with information three pages into the scene that it is a dream. I like dream usage, too...we all dream...maybe more so when we're facing some turmoil. So a dream or nightmare works in a story about life but few writers use dreams.
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  14. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    Too...maybe he suffered from too much imagination...imagining the one guy whose razor was all cruddy scoring with some girl...or those ladies he danced with...he fed their imagination didn't he by saying he saw some famous movie star over there? I enjoyed the idea of touch in that one...coupled with that other from Salinger...Frannie & Zooey maybe. And then too, his brother was out there in Hollywood prostituting his imagination. Yeah...there's some interesting things happening in that story. Next time I reread it I'll have to see how imagination is treated.
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  15. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    • The Switch, Elmore Leonard...add this one to the growing list from Leonard. Skimming back through my kindle notes, trying to find a few exampled. There's a short one, scene where the bad guy is holed up in the house, cop enters through a side door, saw in his mind the Medical Examiner's report describing exit wounds in the guy's chest... But there was another...let's see if I can find it. Yeah, here it is...Mickey, the lady in this story, our hero...we have a scene shift to her mind...Try it again. You walk in the house--Mickey pictured it, opening the door, seeing the familiar black-and-white tile. You go into the kitchen. There's a sound from the den. Frank comes out. He sees you, stops. His hands come up. He says... Goes on for a couple more short paragraphs and then her mother enters. I like this one because this is how people think...imagine things.
    There's another from King that comes to mind...having looked posted in that thread, Stephen King character that scares you the most. I was trying to think of Collie's name...blunthead had the same idea there...but I couldn't remember his name and plus he changed...or the evil swapped. Anyway, there is that scene with the two in the van and they begin to imagine things. And then that calls to mind The Dark Half...I guess all of the stories from King about writers involve a character using his/her imagination...but to be fair I don't recall a female character who writes. Or say Tom in The Stand...doing what kids do best, play with toys. That was a great scene. Everyone is gone. What do you do? Escape into your imagination.
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  16. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    ...after a dry spell...
    • All the Names, José de Sousa Saramago...this story is a hoot. A clerk who works for the Central Registry happens by chance on the identification card of an unknown woman...he has been amassing a file of famous people and her card is pulled...by chance...by mistake...with other cards that he pulls...and he begins an odyssey to discover her. Halfway through this story and as the clerk's madness evolves, he spends short & long periods of time passages...this one, he's talking to the ceiling. Heh! The ceiling and he discuss the relative skins of each other. But too, he imagines all manner of...harm...coming his way. Somewhat Dostoyevskian...Camus...or this Romanian woman...I forget her name. Greetings from the dictatorship. Too, since there are Stephen King fans that might read this post, be sure to check out Saramago's Blindness, a story that is so much like a Stephen King story...Cell, Cannibals...that even if Saramago won the Nobel Prize...his stories are enough to keep most poets curious and questioning. The clerk, Jose's time passages are extended interior monologues, but Saramago's style is such that there are pages of black, no indent, not structure as one commonly finds, but one can follow it and the style adds to the flavor.
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  17. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    • Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King...this story has a multitude of time passages. For example:
      theoretical characters, characters in general
      Virginal maid who sits on a toilet seat…will get up pregnant (TV show, 2W, 1M) (Hodges)
      A couple of bums paid thirty bucks each to go at each other (Hodges)
      The Detective (Mr. Mercedes)
      Cops (who do this…suicide) (Mr. Mercedes)
      No close family members who might see the Warning Signs (Mr. Mercedes)
      Grown children living far away from home (Mr. Mercedes)
      The guy driving the liquid propane truck (Hodges)
      The meter reader (Hodges)
      Rich people (Hodges)
      A hot date at the Corral (Freddi)
      First squirt on the Tower of Power (Freddi)
      About a thousand tweenyboppers and their moms milling around (Huntley)
      Career criminals acted guilty (Hodges)
      Solid citizens just couldn’t believe it (Hodges)
      Presumably if a mugger attacked you
      Somewhere relatives were weeping and rending their garments. (Hodges & Huntley)
      All the stay-at-home mommies (Hartsfield)
      He goes out every weekend with different girls. All of the girls are pretty. Some are even white. (Hartsfield)
      Two people seated beneath a large blue umbrella, a young man and a young woman (Debbie’s Blue Umbrella)
      My Stepfather (Hartsfield)
      The other kids but by teachers too. (Hartsfield)
      A woman come in for a few hours on weekdays (Hartsfield)
      TV news and the papers…your friends…the police…people will look at you and whisper…your security people (Hartsfield)
      “otrelaw19” username for Mrs. Trelawney at Under Debbie’s Blue Umbrella (Hartsfield)
      “kermitfrog19” username for Bill Hodges at Under Debbie’s Blue Umbrella (Hartsfield)
      The newscaster…about the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor (Patterson)
      Heroine is declared insane and socked away (Patterson)
      The Joker
      The Clown…two options in the letter, 2 out of 3 (Hartsfield)
      Va-voom receptionist with a name like Lola or Velma (Hodges)
      The kind of guys who work the downtown nightclubs (Hodges)
      Blind man to stroll around town without his guide dog (Hodges)
      The salesman had probably overloaded her with info (Hodges)
      Tyrone Feelgood Delight (personality of Jerome)
      “tyrone40” (Jerome’s username Under Debbie’s Blue Umbrella)
      Weirdos--child abusers, crush freaks…like-minded friends (Jerome)
      “merckill” (Hartsfield‘s username)
      Ralph Jones, Hartsfield is a.k.a.
      Some rich guy whose wife, Paula Rollins, is the second or third ex-trophy wife (Hartsfield)
      Kids, probably…imaginary break-ins (Hodges)
      Frankie…name used by Hartsfield with Ollie Under Debbie’s Blue Umbrella
      Ghosts…(Hartsfield)…mother & child
      Mr. Tastey…Smiley face on the Mr. Tastey ice cream truck Brady drives
      Fictional character in a boring foreign movie (Hodges)
      Greedy vixen, maybe a nightclub cigarette girl (Patterson)
      Cynical private detective (Patterson)
      An older guy murders a bunch of people…family, co-workers, both (Hodges)
      Wife kicked him out…boss downsized him…couple of security guys (Hodges)
      As fast as a good dealer’s fast shuffle (Hodges)
      3 new (and non-crazy) friends. One is a lady with a delightfully dirty mouth!!! (Hodges)
      n-word yardboy (Hartsfield)
      Fumbled-fingered but powerful force at work, always trying to put things right. (Hodges)
      Detectives assigned to a murder case…interview witnesses…to the door of a perk. (Hodges)
      Brother whom Brady’s mother wants to visit (Hartsfield)
      The burglar (real) who got caught trying to squirm through a basement window (Hodges)
      The twelve-year-old boy and cold-cocked a home invader (Hodges)
      The housekeeper who stole several pieces of her employer’s jewelry (Hodges)
      Deborah Ann Hartsfield…(Brady Hartsfield)
      Some of my neighbors have mentioned guys trying cars to see if they were unlocked. (Hodges)
      The virtuous woman (Proverbs)
      Gorgeous young virgins (the Koran….Hartsfield)
      Martin Lounsbury…(Jerome as)…to the VGS receptionist, M.L. a paralegal at the firm of Canton Silver, Makepeace, and Jackson
      Career businesspeople and military veterans (Synergy Corp/Citibank)
      The stupidest no-talent screenwriter in Hollywood (Hartsfield)
      One sharp-eyed security guard (Hartsfield)
      Standees (concerts at the MAC)…(Hodges)
      Fembot…lectures Hodges
      FBI and Secret Service…like they wear…(Gallison)
      A nagging wife and ungrateful children (Holly…applied to Mike, heh!)
    These kind of stories...crime stories (yeah, I know, it's more than that) lend themselves to time passages, as both the cops and the robbers use their imagination to varying degrees, the cops trying to imagine what the robbers are doing, the robbers trying to imagine what the cops are doing so forth so on. I index much of what I read and as I was reading this one I was impressed with the numerous times a character imagines himself or herself someone else...or...imagines a future or a present for another character--the one that Holly imagines for Mike is a hoot. There are a multitude of time passages in Mr. Mercedes...some...maybe they do not fit the parameters whatever they are...but they approach the definition. The fembot that lectures Hodges. Heh! That one is another hoot. And that one might not fit completely, but it a twist on the time passages idea as presented in this thread. Spank me if you disagree. Too...indexing the story presented opportunities to think about time passages, like in advertising, the Mr. Smiley logo of Loeb's Ice Cream Factory trucks. Or the various imaginary characters presented by Hodges and Hartfield in their posts to each other Under Debbie's Blue Umbrella. Or...the various usernames that people use online. And too, the various alias that a couple characters use...Jerome as Tyrone Feelgood Delight...or Hatfield as Ralph Jones. Or so on so forth, check who's on-line. That last is not new to fiction...there's been many who have had characters who use aliases...Huck Finn as Mary...a thousand others. But that does seem to be a different take on the time passages theme.
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  18. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    • The Beginning, Berlin Gothic, Jonas Winner...I've only read this first from German Winner, but you might enjoy this one...if you can get past some of the nicely ambiguous story lines running through this one. But in here, the time passages refers to a writer-character...as in creepy writer character and creepy happenings via fiction, via the imagination. This is a variation on The Dark Half from King. I like how Winner incorporates fiction from one of the main characters herein...his son and another boy taken in, the manner they sleuth what the mister is up to and then some. They too use their imagination, trying to get a handle on what the old man is doing. The old man has his separate writing quarters (and then some) away from the main house. Curious series...have not yet started the second. Worth checking out.
    • A Replacement Life, Boris Fishman, his first novel and it is a winner, I think. Concerns a 20-30-something young man born in Russia, Jewish, family made their way to the states so it has that immigrant-flavor to it, but the way time-passages works in this one is a twist on the writer-theme. Slava, our hero, works for Century magazine where he is trying hard to get a by-line, to no avail, alas. In this story, Slava is asked to write...a proposal...for various people known to his grandfather, (this task is not related to the magazine where he works) a feisty old Russian Jew who managed to stay alive during the world war...Slava is asked to write...a story more or less, chronicling the subjects experiences bad during the time of the world war...to be reimbursed by the German government. Apparently in 2009 there was some fraud uncovered related to some sort of true event like this, $57 million in fraud. I like how the time-passages works in this one as Slava, in a sense, comes to know his grandmother of whom no stories were told though she was in the Minsk ghetto and escaped from the place so forth so on. Too...if you consider how the stories are accepted, read, if you will...that says something about the imagination, too. I suppose one could come up with some heady thoughts about the imagination and related items if one gave it some thought, but even a cursory reading brings an awareness to tweak one's curiosity.
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  19. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    I'm home today, working in the shop back of the house, staining and varnishing some woodwork...customer emailed me and said she's happy with the work so far...said "you rock!" Heh! Made my day as I was worried...she's a surgeon and hasn't been around, figured they must camp out at the hospital maybe...port and starboard watches or something, 12 on, 12 off or maybe more...maybe they sleep there, on call.

    Anyway:
    • Hombre, Elmore Leonard. Elmore Leonard rocks. His stories are a joy to read and here's yet another time passages in Hombre...reading it on the kindle fire, took a break just now, and the eye-narrator is telling about John Russell and a girl that the Apaches kidnapped. He's waiting outside the Alamosa Hotel, waiting for the girl to come back out, and it goes like this: Somebody might laugh, but just for something to do I was picturing the McLaren girl and I sitting alone in the hotel cafe... Goes on for some time. If you haven't read any Leonard you owe it to yourself to read some of his stories. Like I said, Leonard rocks. And I'm wondering if there isn't something more to this time passages, characters using their imagination, more to it...as when it happens, the story rocks.
    • Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury...there's this scene where Montag is the focus of everyone, right? Being tracked by the mechanical dog, everybody looking, watching their tube. When the chase concludes...Granger makes the comment after turning off the tube..."They didn't show the man's face in focus. Did you notice? Even your best friends couldn't tell if it was you. They scrambled it just enough to let the imagination take over." Another story worth the read. And though it too has the imagination as a theme...nobody is encouraged to talk about time passages and the like...burn down that house...I like how this scene and these lines focus the reader's attention on how that void is filled by those void-fillers.
    • Mulligan Stew, Gilbert Sorrentino...this one is included for the manner that some of the characters in this story inside the story characterize their creator, the guy writing the novel in which they are cast. The characters imagine all manner of good and evil on the part of the writer...they even walk off the page.
    • Needful Things, Stephen King...cause this is his website, no? I don't recall exactly if the manner the characters use their imagination to "see" things that are not there. I think what's happened since the last time I read this one...probably the 4th or 5th read for me...is that I recall a bit scene from the movie...that I don't believe I saw in its entirety. That horse-racing game the one guy has. He imagines it working, imagines all manner of events associated with life...but the game is just an old dusty thing probably doesn't even work. Not sure if that's how it was in the story...but yet another take on the time passages I'm talkin' 'bout here...and I'll say it for King's stories, the same way it applies to Leonard's stories...perhaps this is but one part of the greater whole that makes the story appealing.
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  20. Walter Oobleck
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    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    • Heartsnatcher, Boris Vian...time passages comes midway in this story from a man who died of a heart attack at a movie based on a work of his...at 39 years of age, alas. Clementine is our hero here of the time passage...and she imagines all manner of harm coming to her growing babes...boys all, three of them. Realistic, the kind of things most parents likely imagine happening to their loved ones...although Clementine takes it to the extreme, part of the story here. Pretty good story, if you're interested.

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