As a rare glimpse into the collaborative
process between two creative minds, I reproduce these excerpts
from an email exchange between myself and Jennifer Boylan,
author of She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders and I’m
Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted.
Yesterday , November 17th, 2008, I had this
I was back in the house I lived in with
my family in the 1960s, and there in one of the rooms was
our man Mr. Jerry Garcia. I was my present grown-self Jenny
[SEX SCENE REDACTED]
In the end it was time for me to leave,
and he seemed sad, and I said, LISTEN, JERRY. I NEED TO
TELL YOU SOMETHING. And he looked at me suspiciously and
said, What, man? And I said, YOU'RE IN TERRIBLE TROUBLE.
SOMETHING AWFUL IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU UNLESS YOU'RE
He raised an eyebrow and said, "How
do you know what's going to happen to me?"
And I put my arm around him and said, plaintively, "Because.
I'm from the future!"
At this moment it was clear from his expression
that he thought I was nuts, just one more insane chick
trying to mess with his head. You know that look people
give you when you tell them you're from the future, and
they don't believe you? That look.
I just said, "I'm sorry you don't believe
He said, "I'm sorry too." Then
he picked up his guitar and he sang a song-- it was "Attics
of My Life," from American Beauty. He looked
me in the eyes and sang, "When I had no dreams to
dream, you dreamed of me."
Later, after I woke up, I thought, you know
what, I DO come from the future. And I wasn't wrong about
him either. Because, since he's dead and everything, he
doesn't have any dreams to dream. But nonetheless, I dreamed
I was thinking the line, "Because!
I'm from the future!" is probably a line that ought
to go in a panel of The Pain, at some point. It's sad the
way people in the past NEVER EVER FUCKING BELIEVE YOU when
you tell them you're from the future, they just assume
you're an asshole, instead of someone sent through the
space time continuum especially to help them. It's a thankless
I think in my hands this cartoon would
be called, "I'm From the Future, Asshole!" It's
a solid premise.
I would use my time travel simply to try
to knock a little sense into people. Like--"Mr. Kennedy,
why don't you travel in a car with a roof? Just for the
heck of it?" OR: "Hey! Trojans! Did ya ever wonder
WHY the Ithacans want you have a giant horse? I mean, you
KNOW they hate you!
I would want to tell my eight-year-old self
all sorts of things, but my guess is, I'd just take the
kid out and get him drunk.
Recently my colleague Alex Robinson
has taken to posing the question: "If your high
school self could see you now, what would he/she think
of you?" Some have answered that their high school
selves would be utterly disgusted, and smother their
adult selves with a pillow--and that their adult selves
would limply submit to smothering as their just due.
Tony Consiglio, one of the funniest
people alive, immediately said that, granted this opportunity,
he would make sweet, sweet love to his 16-year-old
Tim, you should know that since this morning
I cannot stop thinking about the idea of a Time Machine
owned not by some evil scientist genius, but by, like,
just some stoner guy, who uses it to go and get Demerol.
Like, he could go see the Crucifixion, Pickett's Charge,
or the signing of the Constitution, but no, not so much.
Sometimes he goes and bothers his old girlfriends. "Aw
come on, man, just gimme one more chance!" Our narrator,
who is me, keeps finding evidence that our man is fucking
with the space time continuum. And every time he goes back
to like, Woodstock, say, he keeps running into dozens of
other versions of himself there, because in the future?
He just keeps coming back to the same places. I guess this
is turning into some sort of chrono-synclastic "Boy
Who Loves his Waffles" [SEE
TIM KREIDER'S FIRST COLLECTION, The Pain—When
Will It End?]. I'm also thinking that
this same guy has a yard full of other junk he's invented
that doesn’t work: like a Rocket Ship to the Moon
that has never moved an inch, or a catapult. There's also
lots of cars up on blocks and a dog on a chain. But the
Time Machine? Totally works! I would
like to call this novel "______'s Fuckin' Time Machine!" The
blank being some stoner name like "Doober Moynihan," or "Loogey." I
wonder if I could get Random House to actually call the
books so-and-so's FUCKIN' TIME MACHINE! Somehow I doubt
I do owe Random House another novel, and
every time I think of writing this one, I am convulsed
with laughter. I think I need to sit down with you in [NAME
OF TIM'S FAVORITE NEW YORK BAR REDACTED] in
early December and sketch out the whole thing in one night.
This idea is brilliant. Doober MacKenzie?
I once asked my own publisher whether
calling book #2 Fuck Them
All would adversely affect marketing/ distribution/
sales, and his answer, which I construed as not exactly
a no, was: "It would sell just as well as any
other book with fuck in the title."
I am already at work on "I'm
From the Future, Asshole."
Fair enough. Let the best man win. Just
so you don't mind me doing the same idea as a novel. Which
will take two years to write, a year to publish, a year
of book tour. I think I like the title: LOOGEY'S FUCKIN'
My 54-year-old self wants to appear to me
to say, Dude. Don't write this.
Author • Professor • Public nuisance
Look for Looger's Fuckin' Time Machine! from
Random House Books in 2012.
Note to Kristin, in the unlikely event that
you are reading this: If I could go back in time,
one of my priorities would totally be to sleep with you
that afternoon in Ocean City, despite the fact that it
would’ve meant pathetically mooning over you for
another year or two at least.
I started to compile a list of Other Girls
I Could Have Had Sex With and Would Totally Go Back In
Time and Have Sex With If I Could--Jovi on Earth Day 1990,
Marcie at Burning Man in 1997, Brooke at Webmaster Dave's
first wedding--but once I got to half a dozen it became
too much to bear. I am an idiot and regret everything.
Our donation button directly below. A cat
yowls for cat food and there is none. O, will no one take
pity on this poor abuséd cat?