Me and Sherwood and Billy Pilgrim

From Malcom Cowley’s introduction to the Penguin Classic’s edition of Sherwood Anderson’s Windesburg Ohio, © 1919:

One characteristic of the subconscious is a defective sense of time: in dreams the old man sees himself as a boy, and the events of thirty or forty years may be jumbled together. Time as a logical succession of events was Anderson’s greatest difficulty in writing novels or even long stories. He got his tenses confused and carried his heroes ten years forward or back in a single paragraph. His instinct was to present everything together, as in a dream.

I have the same problem.  Time just doesn’t seem linear to me.

I’ve had the experience more than once of finding a date on a ticket stub or an old letter which proves conclusively that the order of things as I remembered them could not be true.  It’s always a little disorienting.

I’ve thought of making an autobiographical blog, but it couldn’t possibly be chronological. The memories would be more like a series of colored panes that wouldn’t necessarily fit together to make a stained glass window.

Most of Sherwood Anderson’s novels and short stories are in the public domain, and can be downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg, HERE.


1 Comment

  1. I think I have lived my entire life not really paying attention to time. I tend to think it doesn’t really MATTER; what matters is the emotions you felt then and can bring to memory in your heart right now.


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