- your profession is one that has been given many witty names throughout the centuries. gossips who tease the dead, prophets in reverse, and other quips like that. you prefer the term celebrity necromancer. you deal in a sort of immortality, bartering eternal memory for information about the past. the result is not always what your clients wished for, but necromancy doesn’t come with a satisfaction guarantee.
- you are reading a book on imperialism when you realize that the past few pages have been eerily identical. looking back, you confirm that this is the case; looking forward, you see that the rest of the book appears to be the same two pages reprinted over and over again, napoleon forever invading russia. you put the book on imperialism down and pick up a book on farming practices in the early united states. it begins in the middle of the narrative of napoleon’s march on russia. you shrug. you are used to history repeating itself.
- your library is a graveyard and your mind is a museum, facts and figures and little bits of the past cataloged in every nook and cranny of your memory. the ghosts of those who lived long ago whisper to you in the fluttering of every page you turn in your books. you rarely listen to what they have to say. the ghosts of historical figures tend to be miserable liars, and they can never seem to agree with each other.
- you know so many dates that you can hardly close your eyes without seeing months and days and years burned onto your eyelids. you don’t mind them too much. they are a familiar comfort. you do not count sheep at night; instead, you recite days that generally only have a significant meaning if you are older than three hundred. september second in the year thirty-one before the common era- the battle of actium. may fourteenth in the year sixteen hundred seven in the common era- the foundation of jamestown. you struggle to remember your own birthday at times, but you can rattle off the dates and sometimes even describe the weather for hundreds of historical events, and that is good enough for you.
- you are mocked, sometimes, for the perceived lack of contribution you make to society and for how little monetary compensation people think your occupation is worth. “what do you even do?” they often ask, and so you show them. you present some of your finest wares: a dull and lingering sense of melancholy that comes from missing someone you have never met; spontaneous moments of dread that our lives are meaningless, part of a great cycle that will never correct its errors and instead will only continue to run the same eroded path; a tear shed for the misery that humanity has put itself through and the hope that it has somehow never stopped feeling. the others are begging you to stop now, wrangling with the emotional turmoil of this academic séance, but it is no use. you remind them that history trudges on, with or without us.