Perhaps a Fever Dream

A fever dream without a fever, mayhaps. A long night-to bed early, early to rise-spent tossing and turning and in restless spaces between blankets and sheets and a pile of pillows meant to make me feel less alone. Cloth lovers’ arms around me, all.

The dream was winding.

Twisting.

This way. That way.

At first just the two of us. Then, as we walk, another. And another. Four of us approach the door of the modest apartment. Excited hushes and shushes precede us as we drawn near. A rhythmic knocking, and sparkling eye, the night paints the scene around us dark, the fire from inside the building peeps out between old insulation edging the door and through the slats of the dusty blinds. Blinds exist in a state of perpetual dustiness. The lock clicks open, the door wedges out a bit and a beam of warm light escapes. Whispered secrets pass from guide to gatekeeper and back again, and we are permitted entry. At this point, I am aware I am a visitor in a foreign land. This threshold is not a normal one, but one into a different realm where other sorts of things and people rest. I am not of this place, but am permitted on a trial basis. The room yawns before us. I try to follow my guide, but he has long legs and knows the terrain and the inhabitants. Where his casual greetings suffice, I am asked who, what, and why. Where he steps nimbly over lounging bodies and furniture, I scuttle around a labyrinth of barriers no taller than 4 feet.

When I realize I have completely lost my guide-or maybe it was him who completely lost me-I notice a witch, mostly naked and lacquered in gold and black paint. Her skin shimmers and cobwebs hang from her hat. Her long black hair tumbles in a tangled mass over her shoulders. She beckons me over with a neon green-tipped finger. I sit in an overstuffed chair beside her, suddenly aware that I am very tired. My bones sink through my flesh and come to rest gently as the cushion compresses beneath me. She leans across the chasm between the furniture, her face so close to mine I can see her pores and smell the moss in her hair. She smiles and asks how I am. I mumble-a string of consonants and vowels, a string of nonsense-she smiles knowingly and sits back in her chair, her curiosity sated. A sly smile precedes her invitation to the romp.

It is now the room comes alive. There are live bodies streaming like water in a gully. Singing, dancing, leaping, laughing through the room. They skip through the space like blood through a heart, from one hallway across a gap to the next to shuttle forward. I am swept up in them. I am swept up by them. They continue choosing to keep me. They continue abiding my bumbling, grief-addled mind.

We do not exit where we entered. Our escape is made through a cabinet in an impossibly small kitchen. We walked through night dark before arriving at the apartment; we now bound in the cold, clear light of midday. The sun pelts us-our eyes stunned and renewed. In this new place I am watchful, but do not spy my guide. The others, sparkling and tall and short and wide and thin and green and blue and silver all usher me through the streets. We dart across traffic-the drivers turning loops in the roads, our bodies small, darting birds testing our speed and agility. We listen to crowds of people in fields playing soccer with friends and walking down sidewalks conversing. We see a great museum, dead. The marble horses in front shine a plastic green reminiscent of roadside carnivals. The columns which once beckoned visitors to learn now shimmer with cheap gold plating and disco ball lights. I turn to discuss this marvel of evolution with the others.

And I wake up. The sounds of their flutes recede. Is that the fire alarm going off down the hall? The building shudders and sways. An earthquake? The air heavy. The end? It is 3 am-dear witching hour dear witching hour, but only because I went to bed at 8-and no, there are no alarms, there is no earthquake, there is no end. The ringing in my ears recedes as I grow more alert. The gentle movement of the building is wind pressing outside and my pulse pressing from within. The air becomes air again, light and clear as is best.

Today is 7 years and 1 day since my mother passed. Today I ache and can’t tell if it’s grief? The dream? Stress? Grief.

Time moves slowly. It moved even more slowly yesterday. Maybe this perception of time crawling is a sign that I need to steep in this visceral experience.

Sometimes the missing is great.

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Revisited

While rooting around on my computer I happened across some old pictures of me.

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I also happened across this beauty. I can’t wait to get behind the lens again, I miss exploring the world with a camera.

Oh, A History

When in the small steps backwards to catch my balance I see the world yawning open and bright before me, I know the stresses of the day-in-day-out are naught but distractions. I know each pain births a greater appreciation for each joy, and even in the pain there is a beauty because it is vivid and alive.

If things feel like a game, they likely are, and I might be taking it all too seriously.

In spite of what light my moody writings may cast, life has been incredibly good for me; many changes are afoot and they all seem to be quite good. Some very exciting developments for me on a lot of fronts are coming to fruition.

Interim

In the meanwhile, while I dally here and there, life has carried on about me. Monday marks my entry into a new company, a new position, a new schedule. I am eager to undertake it, and I think it will be a good change.

As an aside, a bit of creative license:

Neither here nor there, I find myself caught in an imbalance too hot to touch and, seconds later, too cold to grasp. It feels like a game and, even though I’ve sworn off these kinds of bets, I find myself engaged in hoping for a pleasant outcome. Hoping in a fingers-crossed, knit-breath kind of way that good will come of things.

I’ve never vested much faith in karma, so the idea of deserving/undeserving strikes me as a particularly odd one.

Admission Essay

So, I want to get a bachelor’s in drawing.

Art has always existed in me. I’m not sure from where it sprang: looking at it from a genetic perspective, none of my family has displayed an artistic predisposition. Even upon looking at it from an environmental viewpoint it can be noted that there wasn’t much to encourage me to do art in my home, but I did it nonetheless.

I began with what I could grasp: crayons on walls. I think a lot of people start there. Somewhere in the rampant scribblings of childhood, my interest changed from destruction to observation and creation. As a young child I began to use art to express my experience as a person.

My family, though they don’t “get” art and don’t do it themselves, was very encouraging. Once they became aware of my love of creating, they did their best to offer an environment where that passion was nutured. They provided me, early on, with paper and pencils, encouraged me to take as many art classes as I desired, and, as my skill level grew, provided nicer media with which I could create.

Upon completing high school, I was under incredible pressure to choose a school and a “viable” career path. Not wanting to abandon art, I decided to do graphic design, enrolled in and was accepted into the design program at UNT. As a 17 year old, I was wholly unprepared for such a competitive program and for the social climate pervasive in and around UNT. I ended up dropping out, even though I was meeting with some success in (progressing through) the design core.

I took a break and lived with a friend for a while in a small house in Denton. It was an ill-kept house, and a January storm sent the sopping ceiling down on all of my possessions. The accumlated mold and rat carcasses made the house unliveable, and I ended up moving in with my parents. At that time I decided to pursue an associate’s degree in visual communication at Brookhaven. I adored my professors, classmates and the school. My experience there was an idyllic one and I graduated without issue.

I decided to attempt to find a job and work to save money before returning for my bachelor’s degree. I applied wherever I could, but could not land a design position. I found a barista position with Starbucks, and thus began my long tenure there. I made attempts to find design jobs during my time slinging coffee, but didn’t meet with any luck. I had a go at doing freelance design work, but found it wasn’t what I enjoyed.

In the midst of my years spent working for Starbucks, my mother lost her battle with cancer. For a decade she fought it, and, even as she grew small and weak, we had hope until the very end that one of the treatments would work. Hers was the first loss I ever experienced, and my grief was a maelstrom. For years afterward I lived in a sort of attempted “normal,” but never felt myself. I attended therapy, which helped, but grief cannot be assauged by anything but time and good company.

Shortly before my mother’s passing, I met a young man and began a relationship with him. We spoke of my returning to school, but it was put aside to make room for other things. He wasn’t a bad man, but we were a terrible match, and it took my emergence from my grief to realize it. In late 2015 I left him, and have been on the warpath to acheiving my goals. Where I once waffled over choosing a degree which might assist me in landing a “normal” career, I have grown a determination and passion to instead invest my time and money in doing what I love. I love drawing. I love drawing more than I love painting or graphic design. I love it a whole lot more than the idea of spending my time learning to be an accountant, executive, or anything of that nature. Part of my recent determination to live as I want is in no small part influenced by the position I’ve recently held: the past year I have worked as a graphic designer creating funeral programs. Editing obituaries every day certainly helps keep things in perspective: life is brief, do what you love, do what you want and do it while you have the chance to. I want to draw.

Dalliance

A quiet night, my head full of smoke, the whiskey warmed my throat as I sat slowly sipping. Fingerlings of cold air attempting to worm their way into the bleached white sheets encouraged me to burrow deeper. A brief sweetness, a small oasis hidden amid hectic schedules and miles of highway, placed for safekeeping in memories and words, lest I forget.

A dalliance which set my head to reeling all while anchoring me in something gentle.

The remnants of this brief respite are just the sighs in my lungs and the smile at the corners of my mouth.

The sting is gone and all that’s left is a wistfulness.

Slowly Slowly Sadness

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Oh, a silly Trump face. Isn’t he pretty?

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A quick study of Humeur Nocturne by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Her face is muddled, but I think it still counts toward one of my 29 for this month.
I’ve decided to attempt 1,000 faces again this year, as it was such a resounding success last year! We shall see how it goes.

I’ve also had a growing inclination to pursue a bachelor’s degree, and I’m thinking I might like to pursue it in fine art – painting or drawing or both.

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A Valentine’s moose, drawn but not delivered.
Oh well, such is life.

A dramatic little snippet about it:

A small series of hurts, collected like drops in a red mug, slid down from the shadowy side of the mind. One, then another, assuaged and comforted, hidden behind a brave face and quelled by a shy tingling and roaring excitement.

A night, dark and starry with a gaping, wide sky, brought a hurt, larger and more fluid than the rest, akin to them all. There is a consolation, albeit small, in knowing it will be the last hurt.

If I’ve been told the truth, as I suspect I have, it is for the best.

I am crestfallen, but resilient. It stings, but that will fade.

This blog is a lovely stage for my theatrics. My theatrics are fabulous exercise for my creativity.

To end on a positive note: I had a valiant go at NaNoWriMo in 2014 and popped out a novella. I’ve finally opened it up again to edit, revise, send out some copies to be looked over by friends, then, finally, I will attempt to have it published. I will say, it was written in a rush, and I was expecting it to be pretty rough, but the first paragraphs have surprised me. Maybe I won’t need to spend months editing it as I originally thought.