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April 18, 2007

Unstuck in Time

While working on my column about Kurt Vonnegut this week, I had a dream in which I filed a draft and was surprised to notice that it ran to just two paragraphs.

In real life, "The Eternal Sophomore" is not quite that short. But at some point I did decide to leave a lot of stuff to moulder in my notes and make it fairly compact.

While mentioning that most readers encounter Vonnegut in adolescence, I didn't go into my own experience of doing so -- reading Slaughterhouse Five in a frenzy of concentration throughout a boring day at Wills Point High School (recently named "academically acceptable" by the Texas Education Agency! yay!) circa 1980, for example.

But on reflection, that was not my first encounter with Vonnegut -- which seems to have come at roughly age 10, when I had absolutely no idea that was taking place. Sometime in 1973 or '74, I saw a film on television (PBS it turns out) that was a satirical, science-fictionish account of someone living in a future or an alternate world where there were, among other things, "suicide parlors" one could go to for a quick exit. It struck me as really funny and strange, but I never caught the name of it.

Years later, I found a paperback with the script of Vonnegut's Between Time and Timbuctu (based on some of his short stories) and immediately recognized it. I have no idea how well it would hold up after 35 years. Unfortunately it is not available on DVD or otherwise, that I can tell. It seems as if there might be enough interest for this to be worth someone's while.

For another moment in Vonnegutian cinema:

Moving paratactally....see also this item by Jerome Weeks

Posted by smclemee at April 18, 2007 7:01 AM