Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Time Traveling Cotton

I can't imagine that the person who I plan to mock in this post reads my blog, or is even aware of its existence, but I still feel a shiver of anxiety about public mocking, so I will just say it's gentle mocking. Sort of. I just have to relate this conversation: I can't NOT.

If you have read The Time Traveler's Wife the following dialogue will make sense to you. If you haven't, it's a rich, sexy, romantic, beautiful, poignant novel in which one of the main characters, a man named Henry, time travels. Not voluntarily. It's a kind of seizure that comes over him and whisks him away to the past, leaving his clothes in a pile where he stood, so he arrives naked at the other end. It's a pretty sucky vision of time travel, and it is an intergral part of the unfolding of the story. It just so happens that the place and time he often ends up is the field near his wife's childhood home, over the whole course of her young life. So. This is an approximation of a conversation I heard 2nd hand and have taken liberties with:

Him: Did you ever finish reading Time Traveler's Wife?
Her: No. I couldn't. It was too creepy.
Him: Creepy? What do you mean?
Her: The way he kept visiting his wife when she was a little girl. Why did the author have to have him be naked? It was creepy.
Him: But... it's part of the story. It's the way time travel works in the book.
Her: She could have had his clothes go with him.
Him: It wasn't just his clothes, it was anything that wasn't him, even fillings. It was crucial to the plot.
Her: But to have a naked man keep appearing to a little girl.
Him: He didn't do anything to her. She put out clothes where he'd find them. It wasn't creepy at all.
Her: The writer could have made it so, like, cotton clothes could go with him. He could have worn all cotton.
Him: You don't think it would be weirder if cotton could time travel?
Her: I'm wearing all cotton right now.

Urk? That's as far as I get, because I started laughing and snorting with disdain. I should clarify this last line was said without humor, without irony, without a twinkle in the eye or elbow in the ribs. This was not "her" hinting that when she time travels her undies come along too. This was just pure... unironic... cluelessness. Which I find hi-larious. I hope you do too. At least smirk-worthy. And I hope you'll read the book if you haven't. And maybe you too will mock someone on your blog, so I don't feel like the only meanie who's ever used her blog for evil. Any takers?

40 comments:

jd said...

All good time travelers know you either wear nothing or one of those Star Treki polyester jumpsuits. Cotton doesn't travel well. It wrinkles.

krista said...

don't tempt me to mock people on my blog. there are too many easy targets around me- it would be sooo easy.

although, i must say, i do enjoy some random mocking...

andrea said...

Ha! But what's the point of mocking stupidity? They wouldn't get it. :) Seriously, though, I mocked someone on my blog but actually it was more sarcastic fun-poking, and I got a hate email. *sigh* Some people simply can't see the funny side of life or laugh at themselves.

melba said...

I just recently wrote on my blog about a conversation I had with someone. I know this person knows I have a blog, but I am almost positive she has never read it. Still I kept looking over my shoulder so to speak because I did not want her to get mad at me for writing about her.
I say a lot of "sometimes people" on my blog but usually I have someone specific in mind and I just don't want to single them out.

The book sounds interesting...maybe if I didn't spend my free time blogging I would have time to read. I guess I could share the time if the book is really worth it.

Deb R said...

I have that book on my TBR shelf, but haven't gotten to it yet.

I LOVE the conversation. I'd have been laughing about it (and probably blogging about it) too!

vicci said...

YEP!!! Laini...this is one of my favorite books!

Kim G. said...

Laini - I loved this book also. I continue to be amazed (and a bit bugged) at how people feel the need to project their own morality into the stories they read. If they are compelled to form judgements on a character, it must be done within the confines of the story - not in the real world. In the world of this story, it made perfect sense that he would appear sans clothing throughout her life so that the author could weave the beautiful tapestry that was their relationship over the years. HELLO - it's a story! There are supposed to be fantastical elements to it!

Time travelling cotton wouldn't be so bad though. Does that mean I could un-shrink all the things I've left in the dryer too long?

chest of drawers said...

I almost bought this book when I was in Graz a few weeks ago...it´s on my wish list now.
As for cotton...hmmm...you should eavesdrop on conversations here in Reichenfels, they´d be talking about how best to wash and hang it and why people have to travel anyway!

Amber said...

Please. I already mocked wimpy moms on my blog, and stuck my foot in it this week! This is nothing.

But it IS funny. It made me laugh. :)

I have this book, so I guess I need to get around to reading it. Seems with my kids, I can just never get into a good book! :(

liz elayne said...

oh i am cracking up out loud.
i love this book...one of my favorites ever.
and i love people...the way they sometimes do. not. get. it. at. all. just delightful...

tracy loves pink! said...

It's amazing that people can't just take things as they are. It's the same with art..."I don't get it" as if that somehow makes the art unworthy. I LOVED that book, one of the best ones I've read in ages and have passed it on to my mom and one of my best friends who loved it as well. It's so crucial to have an imagination...can you even imagine how UNfun life would be if we didn't allow ourselves little fantasy escapes like the one in this book? I never want to become jaded or critical of others creativity...even with the stuff I don't get. Thanks for sharing. oxox, tracy

Little Swing Fairy said...

Time Traveling Cotten... now there is something to ponder. Should it be 100% cotton? or can it be, say a cotton-poly blend? Imagine if only certain fibers were retained on the journey. Wouldn't that be embarrassing!

Enjoyable post..if not a bit frightening.

Guess Who ;-)

Caroline said...

Laini you are the second person to recommend this book and I'm going to listen this time! I'll find it and read it.

As to mocking - as a principle I was brought up on the saying that people in glass houses shouldn't through stones... but if I was living in a cotton tent of course that would be different ;-)

Caroline said...

Luckily I wasn't preaching about spelling...

jamie ford said...

Off topic, sorry, but I love your illustrations. I just clicked through your site. I really love the collage style. Who is your rep? I'm the CD of an ad agency and am slidding in the mental bookmark for future reference.

Your work is incredible.

andrea said...

...giggling. Ok, THAT was a funny conversation. I once had someone ask why I had to paint nipples on the few nudes I had done. Um, because they are there. :)
Great post, and thanks for the rec, I will have to check out this book next.
a.

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Andrea -- ha ha. Your nipple comment reminded me of an art school episode. It was my first oil painting class, and the first nude I'd painted. I don't know if I spent an undue amount of time rendering the nipples, but the teacher's critique (he was very articulate) was, "You really wailed on those nipples."

And hi to "Little Swing Fairy" in her top-secret identity! Yay, so glad to see you here

Letha Sandison said...

I have heard about that book from so many people, I guess now I will have to move it up the book list!! There just isn't enough time to read them all.

Too funny, I have a habit of listening to people talk when I am out and about alone. I mock like crazy in my head...especialy when I lived in Denver!! My husband always teases me about it cuz I generally share it with him...now maybe I'll have to blog the worthy ones :)

Thank you for the laugh!

Mardougrrl said...

I'm LOL over here. I haven't read the book, but I LOVE it when people get all randomly prudish about things like this. Kind of like people who want to believe that children should be born already wearing their little onesies! :)

Thanks for the laugh. I needed that.

M said...

I LOVED this book, one of my all time favorites!! This is too funny, someone obviously missed the point big time. I loved how original the whole concept was and how attached I got to the characters. I don't want to give much away for those who haven't read, but I could talk about it forever. Thanks for the giggle.

acumamakiki said...

I couldn't get into this book at first but when I finally did (a second time) I really loved it. I loved the re-creation. (=

la vie en rose said...

i haven't read the book but the conversation gave me the chuckles.

Terri /Tinker said...

I have to agree with Krista, Laini; please don't tempt me to get started - I might not be able to stop! Yes the dark side of blogging, I've heard its siren call; but I'm to chicken to answer - I just let the voicemail pick up :>)
I bought the Time Traveller's Wife as an Artist Date/Valentine's treat to myself and promptly lost it, before I could start reading it! Now I'm more determined than ever to hunt it down. Perhaps it time-travelled; do they use cotton fibers in printing softbacks? If not, it could be lying naked somewhere, without it's jacket on (gasp)

holli said...

I agree - I think it's ridiculous to think that cotton travels through time anymore than any other fabric.. She's watched too many of those cotton commercials!!

Other than that, it provided great blogging material, because it was an extremely funny conversation!!

Alexandra S said...

That is the silliest conversation I have heard in some time. I just started the book and already am so intrigued and touched by it. If I could time travel by choice, there are moments I'd love to revisit and observe what it was really like and compare it with my memories. I wouldn't mind seeing myself right after I was born so I could politely take myself aside and warn myself of one or two things. I'd also time travel my way back to the Renaissance. I wouldn't mind seeing what the Pilgrims felt and looked like as they stepped foot here for the first time too. I think I would also like to transport myself over to Italy to a pizzeria once or twice a week so long as the calories didn't get to travel back with me. I'd like to have been to the first world fair, and traveled a bit of the path with Lewis & Clark. I'd also like to have been there when Twinkies were first ivented and the first magic bite was taken. And I think I would go back to Florida November 2, 2000 and warn everyone that their vote won't be counted so to stay put. Then I'd go back and find GW as he was preparing to steal the country from its rightful leader and I'd place him back in the jack-in-the-box he escaped from. As I read the book, I will remember that ridiculous conversation and laugh!

deirdre said...

I've talked to a few people who were bothered by aspects of The Time Traveler's Wife and couldn't get past it enough to enjoy the story. It's one of the most beautifully written books I've read. The story is so full of heart and humanity.

Rampian said...

That IS a very silly conversation. I eavesdrop all the time, and though Miss Manners would not approve, it's quite educational. It's fascinating to dip into someone's life for a few minutes and hear their conversations with close friends, lovers, their mothers. I don't think I could mock someone online---too afraid of getting caught! But mocking oneself is always easy and the only person you can offend is yourself--so maybe I'll try mocking myself on my blog tonight!

kelly rae said...

part of me wishes i could spend some time in that lady's brain. just to see. i'm curious what it must be like to walk around in the world with that sort of brain! you're funny. looking forward to our get together!

Patry Francis said...

I've been meaning to get to that book for a while. It sounds wonderful.

And really, you weren't being mean at all. You were just doing what writers do: listening, seeing, and then...writing it down.

Bohemian Girl said...

had a much needed laugh over this.

thank you...

megg said...

wow. ridiculous!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this. I LOVED this book so much I suggested it to a book group I'm in & as they read it there are discussions about the creepiness... sigh. I also love that you have used your blog for evil. I will do so very soon, I promise!!!

tara dawn said...

This is hilarious indeed! I loved the book, and the pure idiocy (excuse me for saying it) of this woman in the coversation leaves me speechless. Who could help but mock her? I would have done it too...I love that you posted this. Thanks for a great laugh!
xoxo,
Tara Dawn

telfair said...

Okay, that's one of the funniest things I've read all week...
I don't really consider it mocking if it really happened. Then it's just relating an incident of astonishing, gobsmacking hilarity.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was sexy that he kept showing up naked.

carla said...

Yikes! Mock away, if that's what you want to call it. I think it just comes down to how some people just don't "get it" about certain things. The Time Traveler's Wife is one of the best books I've read in a long time, and I think a large part of it has to do with the way Niffenegger makes the unbelievable very believable and real. Part of it has to do with Henry only being able to travel with his body. Although we need to have that "willing suspension of disbelief" to accept the intial premise, the author doesn't just give up and make it an ordinary story of a man who visits different times, showing up fully clothed for the wrong season or the wrong decade. That would make it almost an absurd comedy rather than the very compelling love story that it is. The fact that Clare can accept his nudity almost matter-of-factly is a large part of her characterization. Oh...I could go on and on... You know what - it's just so much fun to eavesdrop! Stan Mack made a carreer out of it!

Earth Monkey said...

love it! yes... mocking... was way funny. it probably was something in "her" memory bank - that she experienced - that she was not even aware of. But yes i love the cluelessness of it. I will put it on my book list... sounds quite interesting.

Jaimie said...

Funny post! I bet those women were fundy talibangelicals.
I've done a bit of mocking and political criticism on my site and I think it's just fine!!!

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