Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Copyright Info

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Daylight Savings Time by Christopher J. Knorps is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

An Introduction by the Author

Daylight Savings Time was written during a period starting several months after I had graduated from college while I was living in Lake Forest, IL through the entire period that I lived in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, from January 2006 through August of 2007. The rough draft was finished no more than a week before I would flee Chicago for Los Angeles and foolishly squander everything that I had saved up to that point. That attitude may be apparent in the text, particularly in the later chapters. It was written in the wake of an event that caused me no small psychological dismay and is addressed in the early chapters in referencing a broken friendship. That is not the theme of this work, however. I was trying to write something like Bret Easton Ellis would. A bunch of young people in the city who don't have to worry about how they're going to afford to live and don't really have any serious plans for their own future. I set out to create something that would define an aesthetic, a characteristic, the idea of Being Carefree, that I saw rapidly disappear as my friends and I finished college and melded with the real world. They all had a better idea than I did of what they were doing.

To be sure, DST takes an idealized view of dating. Yes, the thing to do is to meet your mate in college, and if you don't, well, some people have no problem whatsoever with meeting someone in an unstructured setting, but my few experiences proved wholeheartedly depressing. As I wrote DST, I wanted to portray a world that was simpler, where the stakes weren't quite so high, where people could do what they wanted and not worry about being judged for it. DST depicts the Group or Clique mentality, whereby a collection of a dozen or so personalities that cling to one another allow each individual within that collective to achieve greater freedom (and respect) than they would as a wholly independent being. That was my true aim in this work--to show how a community can bolster an individual--which I'm sorry to say, I don't see very often in this increasingly isolating society we call USA 2009. But that's probably my own fault now isn't it?

There may be questions about whether or not this book deserved to be published. Overall, I think it's simple to say: it doesn't. People will find its narrative format intimidating and frustrating, but I still believe it is a work of (some) serious value. It is not a masterpiece, and I know I have done better since, but there are ideas within it worth communicating, I think. I unsuccessfully tried to pitch it as a screenplay while in Los Angeles in one ill-advised e-mail query to an online ad where I attached a young Hollywood actor to every role in the story, and while that didn't work and while I am not going to spend my time twisting it into a screenplay, I do believe this is exactly the type of movie that would be a "definitive account of this generation"--whatever you want to call it, Y2K (it's been a while since I've seen a term applied to those born in the early through mid-80s)--and would be able to make someone a lot of money if they knew what was good for them. Unfortunately it seems as if my time has passed and I already feel hoplessly outdated and worn out at 26 and my conceptions about this generation's attitudes towards a variety of subjects in life no longer hold any water.

Thus, as a timeless document, there are sections worth reading that will not be adversely affected by changing times. I am particularly proud of "Halloweeness"--the longest chapter in the novel, describing the day of Halloween. One particular passage I read from it for my writing class earned the praise of one distinguished class member, who later wrote me an e-mail telling me she really enjoyed it. Every chapter after that, I believe, is strong as well. Some of the concepts towards the end I would develop further in my second novel. I also like the sprightly way it begins and some of the random, prophetic elements that would occur in the months after I completed it (I would have a co-worker named Penny, there would be an incident involving a "bum" of some type, and the "Economy Watch" would prove more prescient than I realized). "Satyrs" is probably the most offensive chapter in the book and might cause people to think I am anti-American but I would just like to remind everyone about the period in which it was written--that is, mid-2006, when frustrations in this country reached a certain pitch about the ways things were being handled. There are other chapters that I enjoy for the feeling of exuberance they represent, and again, most of them lie near the end.

I had a good time writing this book and even though it led to nothing I am glad a few people read it and derived some small pleasure out of it. The greatest gift that a book can bestow on a reader is the sense of total abandon that the author has opened up their entire personality and given their full depiction of our world and the way they experience it, to be compared with the reader's own senses. I may not have done as good a job in this first novel as I did in my second in communicating that entirety, and I may be clueless about certain matters that help define a "real life" or a "serious life," but this was a learning experience for me, and one that I feel accomplished its goal, whether or not I am ever "seriously published" in my lifetime. At least there is this.

-Christopher J. Knorps
Winnetka, IL, May 18, 2009

Daylight Savings


It had been the week in October to turn the clocks back an hour and it was the time of day when it became prematurely dark for the first time and all one had were foreboding thoughts. It was Friday, and the work was done for the week, and when he had left the office, the night had fallen. A week earlier, the drive home had been all pinkish-orange hue sunset, anticipation, good fortune, green thoughts, and wistful determination. Today it was blue-black, with faint, scraggly lines of red clouds at the extreme horizon. The summer was finished and autumn had kicked the door open. Autumn had held a gun to summer’s head and blew its brains all out at the far, far end of the sky. And he was driving in his car, driving home from work, and he knew it would be a long time before there would be good cheer. And he knew love, formerly at an arm’s length, would continue to elude and cheat and fool, like a plastic worm at the end of a fishing pole.
He was ten minutes away from work, thirty minutes from home, when he saw the highway illuminate into a deep and severe red. Five minutes after crawling along at the speed of a dying deer, a sign appeared which informed him that it would be sixty minutes until he arrived home. He took out an American Spirit from a drink holder in between the two front seats. He turned up his stereo and rolled down the windows as his car rolled to a stop. He flicked the lighter.
“This is going to be a long night,” he said to himself.

The Longest Line

His mother was taking a bottle of suntan lotion out of her handbag.
“You need more lotion, Lu.”
She spread some on his face, and didn’t rub it in deeply enough. He could have been dressed up as a ghost for Halloween. He could have been a young dead boy inside The Haunted Mansion.
The two were at the Magic Kingdom. They were waiting in line for Dumbo. The wait had been posted at sixty minutes, but his mother had checked her watch frequently, perhaps every single time she had found herself trying to eke out the last drops of her bottle of diet cola. The sign was wrong. They had been waiting for ninety minutes, if not more. And there was nothing between them and the sun. Luckily, they weren’t far from the front.
“How much longer, Mom?”
“Judging from the length of the ride, and the amount of people in front of us, I would say, oh, five, ten minutes.”
“What does judging mean?”
“Making an informed decision based on different sets of variables.” She was grinding her teeth.
Five minutes later, they were fastening their harnesses inside the Dumbo wearing the yellow hat. His mother let him control how high or low the flying elephant went. As they took off, and little Luther started laughing, all was suddenly right again.

The Program

He parked his car in the basement garage and took the elevator up to his studio apartment. He looked at his watch. 6:17. Not bad for having sat in an horrendous traffic jam. The floor display said 12, 15, 18. It stopped on 22. He walked out and to the left, stopped at unit #2202, took out his key, unlocked the door, walked inside, and closed it behind him.
He dropped his bag, collapsed onto the couch, and hit the flashing button on his antiquated answering machine.
A robotic voice said, “One…new message.”
And then immediately began a male voice, slightly digitally distorted so that it wasn’t immediately clear who it was.
“Luther, are you back from work yet? You should pick up the phone. I know you’re in your apartment and you’re listening to me leave this stupid, boring message. You’re a jerk. If you won’t pick up for your last one, true friend, I’m sorry but I don’t want to talk to you. Anyways when you get over whatever you need getting over, call me up, we have to set the program for the evening.”
The program, Luther thought. He opened up a cabinet in the table next to the couch and took out his snuffbox. Inside were five intricately rolled joints. He lit one, and turned on his stereo, and thought about what kind of program he was in the mood for. A mellow evening? A night of crime? The typical bar scene? Crashing a party? Something completely uncharacteristic? A rave?
Halfway through his spliff, he set it down and called Rory, the aforementioned male, digitally distorted voice.
“I am thinking of a program that involves making an absolute mess that we do not have to clean up.”
Rory was intrigued. “You want to make a mess. That’s not like you.”
“I know a party that we weren’t invited to. I say we repay their snub with a diabolical scheme.”
“You’re very imaginative tonight.”
“Well, get ready, get over here, we’ll pre-party, we’ll lay out our plan, and we’ll execute ruthlessly.”
“Right on. I’ll head out in five minutes. Just have to put some things away.”
“See you later.”


Rory came from a poor family, attended public schools until college, and promptly won a scholarship to Brown. It did not seem particularly advantageous for Brown to offer this young man a free ride. Rory wanted to be a post-postmodern philosopher. He had gotten excellent grades by paying astute attention in class, and by hounding his teachers before and after class for guidance. He studied extremely hard, and was properly rewarded, but unfortunately he was never given the gift of self-expression. His essays often turned out clunky. They were only given good grades by his teachers because they had known how hard he worked on them. His enthusiasm was brilliant, but talent continued to elude him.
On Friday October 24th at 7:52 PM, Rory rang Luther’s buzzer and was promptly admitted to the building. He had brought a brown paper bag with him. Its contents were a one-liter bottle of whiskey, and a two-liter bottle of cola. Also in the bag was Rory’s flask, which he had often brought along to bars, even though a few bartenders in the past had seen him slipping one down in the shadows, and then said something to the effect of, “That’s not cool, man.”
Luther opened up his door and Rory was taken aback by the aroma of scented candles. They greeted each other, walked into the kitchen, and exchanged minor pleasantries about their days.
“Like a drink?” Rory offered.
“Make mine a double.”


The plan that Luther laid out, as the two of them sat reclining on his couch, enjoying their whiskey and colas, was this:
They would walk to Ted’s party, so that they would not have to drive home drunk, because they planned on making a real mess. It was a twenty minute walk, and it was a nice night.
They would find the beer and immediately shotgun a couple.
They would romance girls.
They would find where the music was playing, and sabotage the play list.
They would piss on the floor of the bathroom, not egregiously, just enough so it would look like they had trouble finding the bowl.
They would find Ted and ask him why they didn’t get invited.
They would try to make amends with Ted.
They would stay late and drink as much as possible.
Then they had their goodwill option:
If Ted dropped his grudge, all would be forgiven and the bad behavior would end. If he refused to sway in his beliefs and notions, then Luther and Rory would defecate in both his bed, and underneath a couch cushion. How they planned to accomplish this they did not yet know. They figured if they continued to drink, all would be clean and clear. All would be much simpler, easier and more direct.