Quote of the Moment

"It's never wrong to hope, Byx," said my mother. "Unless the truth says otherwise."
- from Endling #1: The Last, by Katherine Applegate

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dream of a Musing Lurker

It's been a long time since I last came here, to this school, this world. Last time, I was one of them, the students in the old uniforms. White shirts, dark slacks or skirts, for the girls who still refused to wear pants. Still the same. Even the teacher is the same, with pale red hair pulled back severely and glasses in a style most popular when my own mother went to school. She stands before a blackboard; despite technological advancements that allow interstellar travel, still classrooms around here haven't changed much, any more than the uniforms have.

Why had I come back? I was called back, for some reason, probably asked back to help in the class. It was a job, I suppose. For now, I sit to the side, observing, waiting as a boy gives a report on some project or another. A flicker of motion catches my eye near the closet. A slithering shape, green with perhaps a hint of gold, gone almost before I notice it. I blink, then see it again. A little dragon, small as a cat, pokes its head from the dark closet, then slither-runs back inside.

"Excuse me," I say after the boy has returned to his seat - I learned the hard way in my own school days not to interrupt - "but does anyone else see anything by the closet?"

Sometimes nobody else sees things like that. I remember learning that lesson, too, the hard way. This time, I'm not alone. After some staring and squinting, the class erupts in giggles and screams. Another dragon has joined the first one, translucent as polished crystal, refracting iridescent rainbows in its internal "flaws."

"We'll have to call for help," the teacher says, shaking her head as she tries to regain control of the classroom. I wander closer to the closet and squint into the shadows behind the coats.

"It's a nest," I say, seeing the telltale pile of sawdust and paper strewn with eggs like marbles.

A man comes in, dressed in janitorial coveralls and carrying a metal cylinder with a spray nozzle attached.

"They're over there," the teacher says, still trying to get her students to settle down.

"Don't worry, I'll have them out of there in a jiff," the man says.

As he sets the tube on the ground and fiddles with controls on the nozzle, I realize that he's an exterminator. He's going to kill the dragons. He can't do that. I know, with every fiber of my being, that he can't do that. The dragons have run, taking most of their eggs through a small crack in the closet wall. I consider trying to talk the man out of it, but somehow I know he won't listen. There's no time, anyway - he's already set up to spray in front of the closet. Maybe I can at least keep them from returning to Death in their nest. Ducking out of the classroom, I run, trying to figure out where they ran to.

A ways down the road is an old-fashioned store, the kind that was once a house and still is, to the proprietor. I duck inside, hoping to find help in saving the dragons which nobody on this world seems to consider worth saving. It's some sort of craftsman's shop, I realize, smelling sawdust and seeing half-finished figures stacked on uneven dusty shelves. Behind a small table sits a pot-bellied stove and an old wooden bed, neatly made with a hand-stitched quilt. The proprietor, a dark-skinned man with almost no hair left, sits on a stool before the table, looking up curiously as the door chimes ring.

"Have you seen any dragons come through here? Little ones, without wings... Asian dragons," I explain, having trouble finding the words. "Someone's trying to kill them! They sent exterminators!" I'm still indignant at the thought of exterminators treating dragons like common rats.

"You don't like seeing dragons exterminated?" he asked, though it sounds rhetorical. His sharp black eyes seem to see right through me. "I'm not surprised, seeing as how you are one."

"Me? I'm not a dragon," I protest. I grew up here, I think I'd know if I was a dragon... I think...

"Of course you are," the man says, as if it were obvious. "You just haven't hatched yet. Dragons can be human before they hatch; there's no way to tell the difference until afterward. People around here find it disturbing, so of course they're keen to see them killed."

"So I'm still in an egg?" I ask, as my eye is drawn to a small glass case, as for an animal. A familiar pile of sawdust sits in the corner, with a shining marble dragon egg on it. "Is that me?" Hand shaking, I reach into the tank, picking up the cool marble and squeezing it into my palm. I forgot because I left it for so long, but now that I'm back I can grow. I can hatch. No wonder not everyone could see dragons. No wonder my life had felt so cramped and small, I marvel, looking at the shooter-sized glass egg. It seems to melt, passing through flesh and bone... and I know it is true. I am one of the dragons of this world, and I have come home to reclaim my birthright.

"We were wondering when you'd come back," an unfamiliar voice says. I look up, and see a strange man standing in the shop, both human and not-human, a native of this world to which my kind are just invading colonists. Whatever else he was, I know he is also a dragon. I smile, knowing that whatever worlds I go to now, wherever my life takes me, I am whole again.


(Just a little writing warm-up, based on a bizarre dream from last night. Only the dialog has been altered for clarity. The school part was probably inspired by a recent episode of Doctor Who, but beyond that I have no idea where it came from... Hey - like I said before, I never promised to post interesting blog entries.)

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I'm sitting here, waiting for my thoughts and my cats to settle down enough to allow for some writing, so even though a month hasn't elapsed yet I thought I'd write a little blog entry/life update.

October is now officially half over. Okay, so it has 31 days and this is the 15th; technically, it's not half over until past noon tomorrow, or 15.5 days, but essentially it's half over. I have yet to hear from the library, by phone or form letter, though I was given to understand that the HR department moved with all the speed of a snail (a normal snail, not a racing snail.) So, of course, some corner of my mind is still eyeing my fast-dwindling finances and the approaching holiday season and asking whether I'll have to fold old newspapers into origami gifts this year or what.

This past Thursday, I went down to the shop where my mother works to attend a live radio broadcast. The shop is a New Age gift/book/whatever store, and the hour-long broadcast featured a psychometrist and an astrologer. The audience was, shall we say, less than anticipated. Counting myself, my mother, the store owner, the host's husband, and the sound guy from the station, we had round about five people. (I hope I don't have to spell that out for you... if you're reading this, I'm assuming you can count...) With the limited audience, four of us (the husband opted out) got on-air astrology readings and the opportunity to ask a question. When one has a mother in the audience, it's hard to hide the fact that one has indeed been wondering about whether or not one would soon attain a source of income, or if it would turn out to be a hellhole or a great opportunity or whether she should just move into the desert and start weaving straw hats for jackrabbits (not being able to afford a mule.) So, of course, before an unknown listening audience, I asked the question about the job. The overall answer seemed to imply that the job itself was pretty much a done deal - it was whether or not I wanted to accept it that was the issue. If it was just going to be a job-job, I was told, I shouldn't be afraid to say no if/when it was offered to me. There was also some stuff about me having mixed feelings about jobs of any sort. (Hey - I defy anyone to have the Universe nearly kill them and not be a bit reluctant to take a wrong step...)

The next night, I was back at the store for a five dollar class on Finding One's Life Purpose (or words and sentiments to that effect.) The lady offered much the same advice as other sources I have seen lately, from finance gurus to DVDs and self-help books. She also did an exercise that proved more interesting than it initially seemed. It went as follows: Write a question, any question, on a piece of paper. Then, write four or more sources to ask about it. They can be anyone or anything, living or dead, fictional or real, animal, mineral, vegetable, or spiritual. Donald Trump, your cat, your guardian angel, God... one man even asked Love and Light. Close your eyes and visualize each one as clearly as possible. Ask them your question. Write down any answer - anything that pops into your head after asking that question, silly or irrelevant as it seems. That's your answer, and it's supposed to work far better than one might think.

Okay, so we were paired off (so one could do the writing and the other could do the visualizing/asking), so I'm pretty much stuck doing the exercise anyway. For the question, I asked: What do I need to know to create more wealth? (This was angling toward what I was told the night before, how I really need to think more about what I want to create with my life rather than where I want to go to work - determine one, and the other problem solves itself.) For the sources, I wrote down beings with certain significance to me, none of them human. (I was paired with my sister; she didn't ask any humans, either. Irritating as she can sometimes be, we are sisters...) Hey, it was in the rules that there were no rules... So, I ask. I've been told previously at these events that even if you think you're just imagining it, treat it like the real thing. It all starts with visualizing, and visualizing starts with imagining. I'm getting some rather basic sensation/image/words things, for the most part. (It didn't help that other people were talking in the room, nor did it help that the inconsiderate people next door cranked their radio up while they cleaned, knowing full well there are classes on Fridays at that time.) My answers were Focus, Strength, Open Your Eyes, and Fly - this last from Griffin, whom I asked because I admire griffins. It came as an image of a griffin jumping off a ledge and soaring off.

The exercise ended, and the instructor queried people about their questions and answers, helping with interpretations. I offered mine (it's hard to back out of these things when your mother's in the room and won't let it lie), and the instructor, who had already proven that she was on a somewhat different wavelength when she was amazed that someone else had thought to ask an animal guide, decided that "Fly" was too vague, and explained to the class that you can always ask for clarification. What do you mean, it was too vague? I understood it perfectly. It means stopping second-guessing myself. It means picking a direction and heading towards it, knowing I will reach it if I keep going. It means, I said, jumping from the ledge and trusting that your wings will carry you. Yes, I actually said that, which is highly unusual for me, given my chronic shyness. I don't think it helped explain it much, though after class another student came up to me and thanked me for what I'd said, because he had drawn a blank on who/what to ask and I'd asked the same beings he would have asked had he thought of it.

Am I really that strange? Have years of daydreaming, fantasy, dreaming, and imagination really pulled my mind so far out of synch with the average human, that I see a relatively clear message where they see nothing? Do I really have to explain such things? Is it even worth the effort?

Ah, well... I suppose I ought to listen to my own advice here. I've been sitting on this ledge long enough. It's high time I figured out which way to point my wings... and jump.