Big Me

by Dan Chaon

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 321

In Dan Chaon’s story, a young man looks back into his own past, especially the year he was twelve. He decided he would be a detective, prying into other people’s lives such as his neighbor, in a sort of alternative identity that contrasted to his normally shy self.

He also became interested in time travel and related phenomena in which people’s relationship with normal time or consciousness became interrupted or distorted. He remembers that was the year he had his first “blank spot,” as he calls it—a piece of time that vanished from his awareness. As an adult, he tries to explain this to his wife, who is rather concerned. He decides not to share any further information about this interest.

"You’re blowing this all out of proportion,” I said . . . And I wanted to tell her about the things that the Detective had read about in the weeks and months following the first incident—about trances and transcendental states, about astral projection and out-of-body travel. But I didn’t.

The title comes from Andy’s form of address in a journal he started keeping that year. “Big Me” is how he refers to his future self.

In these journals I would frequently write messages to myself, a person whom I addressed as Big Me, or The Future Me. Rereading these entries as the addressee, I try not to be insulted, since my former self admonishes me frequently.

Andy asks himself in the diary what might become of him, once even wondering if he will live to read the entries someday in the future. As an adult, he thinks about what has happened in the intervening years.

There are so many people we could become, and we leave such a trail of bodies through our teens and twenties that it’s hard to tell which one is us. How many versions do we abandon over the years?

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