Perchance to Dream

This, people, is why I sleep. Because my mind-brain is endlessly entertaining and cinematic. And sometimes I actually prefer not to lucid dream so that I can be caught up in a world of whimsy…well. Not usually whimsy but, you know.

So last night’s dream setting was an amalgamation of Old Montreal and North Wales. (Because my brain wants me to travel. We all want me to travel, I think.) Anywhoooo, I had friends. A rather big guy of a friend who could effortlessly swing me over the hood of a car parked in a crosswalk instead of making me walk around it. There were a couple of other people with us, generally jovial and the like. But in the back of my mind I was thinking about my sister, Jen-the-Twin, and how I had to study “acceptances” so I knew what to say.

See, in this world – for an undisclosed and yet completely understandable reason – at the end of childhood, we were dispersed around the world, sort of willy-nilly. Individually, without our family. Communication was spotty and yet somehow you were supposed to get to a point where you chose one person from your past with whom you’d like to be assigned to live. And I’d chosen my sister. So, like, everyone else, I was paying close attention to the people whose requests had been approved. The whole process involved standing in this very long line every time the woman – get this: a young Whoopi Goldberg – was available to make decisions. You got one shot, but you never knew when it was going to come. So you stood in this line, listening to other people make their cases. And the people who got approved always said a few of the same things. When asked what the other party said the last time they spoke, the person always answered, “You’re the one.” [Sidenote, because my brain is gorgeous: in a recent email, I said this to Jen-the-Twin, quoting Morgan from Tombstone.]

This other party was always referred to as the soulmate of the asker, the one person from their past they couldn’t live without. And then, like some sort of mystic, Whoopi would stand with her hand on their shoulder and either agree to their request or deny it. And the person would live with that decision for the rest of their lives. They never got a second chance.

When it was finally my day – because I was third in line somehow so I knew she’d get to me – it didn’t look good. Both the two women who were in line in front of me got approved. And for some reason, this didn’t bode well for my chances. By the by, this ordeal was taking place on a long, chartered bus this time? Because dreams. So the woman in front of me gets approved and the entire bus, including myself, just erupts into sighs and cooing, completely overjoyed to see someone who’ll soon be reunited with family.

So it’s my turn. The thing is I notice Whoopi has her own bags packed and with her. O..kay. So I’m ready to answer her questions. I’ve studied, I know all the right answers. I’m about to tell her who my soulmate is – in this world in which no other member of my family is who they are in real life, btw…and clearly I have no husband or son. Only Whoopi doesn’t ask me any question. She just starts the mystic part of the process as though to save time, but everyone watching – not to mention me! – knows that this won’t work. No matter what answer she gives, I haven’t announced my chosen party. And if she makes a decision – even though it’s based on no request – she’s used up my turn. But I can’t interrupt her. I’m just standing there, with all these people watching me sadly because they get it. And she’s totally oblivious, it seems, to her error.

Well, actually, she’s in a hurry. As soon as she’s done approving my reunion to no one, the bus stops and she debarks with her bags in hand. Now, finally, I say to heck with proper behavior and I chase her down the bus steps and onto the sidewalk as she hurries to her own transport. I’m yelling after her that she didn’t ask me who, that I never got to tell her where I wanted to go. She never turns around, just keeps hurrying away, bags in hand. I turn back and the bus driver, who for some reason is the German guy from My Last Day Without You, just looks at me, compassionately. So that’s when I buckle, collapsing on the steps and wailing. I mean, like, crying so hard I might not have any energy left in my body when it’s over. I think I’ve pulled myself together and try to stand, only to be overwhelmed by the fact that I.get.no.family. She stole my turn. There’s nothing I can do. I’ll never see Jen-the-Twin again. I’m alone, in this city, with “friends” who are all trying to get back to one or another member of their own family. So I just lay back down and cry my eyes out.

That is one sad bird.

And sooooooo. Yeah. The bus driver gets me to sit with him – because for some reason his seat is like a booth? Right. Dream logic. And while he drives, he tells me about Cleveland.

Fin.

UnAuthorized Guest Blog

Bethany:

Because I couldn’t not reblog this because hilarity.

Originally posted on Pretty in PDX:

One of the things I like most about vacations is coming home. There’s something about seeing our little house with its white picket fence after some time away that makes me feel content. Inside the boys have their own beds, and I have mine and nevermind all that, there’s a stable fucking internet connection. But I loved our short time in Burnaby/Vancouver and Parksville/Victoria (speaking of Victoria, HOMGLOVE). Andy and I had been to Vancouver 7 years earlier as a newly married child-less couple and of course this time around it was all about low key fun – animals and water and sometimes both at the same time.  I met a man at a gas station who wrote 4 places on the back of my receipt that the family and I simply must visit while in Vancouver.  One of the first things that he said was: “You look like the…

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Hey, I’m No Geographer!

I know, I know – I don’t do writing advice. So this isn’t advice, it’s a suggestion. (See how I can split hairs? It’s a minor passion of mine.)

In two scenarios (I can think of off the top of my head), it’s really useful/fun/interesting/workcrastination to write a (as in, not THE) query synopsis for your novel. I say “a” because I’m not actually telling you to stop what you’re doing and work on perfecting something that arguably uses a different hemisphere of your brain. But when (a) you’re writing from the hip but want a clean first draft or when (b) you’ve written a first draft or are far enough along to realize your story began in the wrong place – writing the blurb can rid the clutter of minutia from your mind and let you see the straight line as far as where your story *must* go. Maintaining logic flow sometimes requires taking the straight shot, as opposed to the scenic route.

This is also particularly eye-opening if you’re not sure precisely what genre you’re writing. Seeing where the story *must* go can be the difference between … well, any two genres. You might find that it’s a character story, as opposed to one driven by plot.

I realize I’m making it seem simpler than it might be by saying “where the story *must* go”, but I can only speak from experience (which is why writing advice isn’t altogether useful, at least not broadly). When I think about situation/prompt a, my muse responds with an obligatory b. No matter whether I’ve tried steering it another direction or not, I think you can hear when the characters aren’t responding. (Yes, I’m kinda dryheaving over that phrase – or rather what it *sounds* like I’m saying. But once again. I’m not pretending to have aural hallucinations. I mean that I can identify that this is not how this character would reply.)

And who wants more visual inspiration from/for my current wip?! You do?! Well then!

(See my model?! She’s Jen-the-twin!! Go congratulate her on giving birth to my newest nephew-son!!)

And, finally, if you can tell me where I got the title, you win!

Note: Winning is a state of being and so does not entail the receiving of anything exterior or temporal. I respect you far too much for that.