Thursday, April 18, 2013

Here is a little sample from my work in progress. It is still a little rough around the edges, but I wanted to share:

Perchance to Dream Sample

“Really, Dave? Really? You feel the need to go out of your way to give yourself the heebie-jeebies?”

“I was hoping for the willies, but the heebie-jeebies would work too, I suppose. Come on Mindy, don’t be afraid. I’ll protect you.” With that, Dave led Mindy down a leaf-blown path into the cemetery.

The cold evening air did indeed produce upon his exposed skin an effect that caused goose bumps, but the feeling was a pleasant one. Any change brings a certain excitedness, a certain expectation that wasn’t all that far from nervousness. But the alternative was to not feel anything at all. That was the difference between him and those lying so peacefully below them in their isolated little boxes.

“See, there’s nothing to be afraid of.” Said Dave in an overly paternalistic tone.

“I’m not scared by a cemetery, depressed is more like it. It’s like when I walk through a cemetery…I don’t know, it’s like they’re all children who were punished with death for the sin of growing old.”


“I mean, they’re all just children, really. We tend to think of people who have died as being who they were in their last moments. But they were all young once, too. They’ve all got years for when they were born just like they’ve got years for when they died. They were all babies once, looked upon with envy by widows who remembered being young. And their only fault was having lived too long.

“We’re all just children, really” she continued. “Children without parents to watch out for them twenty-four hours a day. Nobody really grows up, they just find themselves with more responsibility, they become slightly more functional is all. They start pretending that they’re grownups and they do it for so long they forget they’re just kids. When I was young, I’d look at pictures of my grandma when she was my age and it seemed like people were made differently back in those days. But it’s just the superficial stuff, hair styles, clothing, the technological advancement of the camera that was used. As I get older, I see that people don’t really change. I look in the mirror and I still see the same person I’ve always been. I look at you and you’re the same kid I knew way back when.”


“Well, you’ve changed obviously. But you’re the same, too. It’s like you’re the same person, but drawn by a different artist. When you were young, you were drawn by a cartoonist, but now you’re more of an oil painting. And when you’re old, it’ll be more like you’ve been drawn by a fine pencil, all thin lines and shadow.”

“I think Picasso drew your brain.”

“Shut up. I’m trying to be introspective and you’re being childish.”

“Yeah, but the idea of children being punished for living too long is a little unnerving. I mean, it awaits all of us. Me, you, every single person we know or ever will know is going to die, and there’s no alternative, no ‘maybe not’. There’s nothing between ‘it’ and us except a little bit of time, and that cushion is getting smaller every second. One day you’re going to wake up dead, and that’s it.” He paused, and then started to recite some lines of poetry:

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

“My grandfather used to recite that to us. He had to learn it in grade school, and he carried it around inside his mind for the rest of his life. I used to think it was a poem of defiance, like “rage against the dying of the light”, but it’s not. It’s an acceptance of death. All these years I thought my grandpa was being a tough old codger, but he was saying we should welcome death. I don’t know how that makes me feel.

“Fuck death.” Said Mindy, out of nowhere. “Fuck him. He’s a little girly man and he better not try fucking with you or me.”

“Yeah, fuck him.” Dave repeated. “It’s not about inevitability, it’s about the attitude.”

Dave’s hand found Mindy’s and he squeezed it hard. Despite the conversation, he felt unexpectedly, thrillingly alive. Death defines life. One can walk around in a daze, not even realizing the life that’s bubbling up inside at every single moment. But when the reality of death hits, so does the reality of life. He felt not only his own life force but Mindy’s as well, felt the flow of all the existence that was all around him. He felt powers bigger than himself playing through him, and it had nothing to do with anything supernatural. No, whatever it was was exceptionally natural, though it was immensely powerful. And as much as he tried to believe his will and mind were captain of his ship, he knew he was only dimly aware of the forces that moved him. To feel part of the greater whole made the idea of death less real, as though his body was but a storage space for the life that flowed through everything. Life was a cosmic force, and his human form was merely a tide pool that had managed to trap a tiny fraction of an ocean. He wanted to share his thoughts with Mindy, but found that holding her hand was sharing enough. He was alone in his thoughts even as he was together with her. But his mind was sharing something bigger than just another person at the moment. He wondered if Mindy felt the same thing, but found no way of broaching the subject.

He felt as though he were atop a mountain at that moment, looking down on all that was. Doing so, he could see himself and the foolish, small ways he often looked at life, trapped as he was in his small single self. Although he rejected much of modern-day life, he couldn’t help but seeing things through the prism of his times and environment. He was more a sheep than he would ever be willing to admit. Things that moved society moved him as well. Ego, petty concerns, insecurities. He was a character in a play written by someone else.

“Something’s coming, Mindy” said Dave, with an ominous air.

“Where? I don’t see anything. Are you trying to scare me?”

“No, I mean something’s coming to shake us all up. We’re all edgy. We’re scared. We sense something, like animals sense an earthquake. We’re all living in an artificial environment, and something outside the little fishbowl we’re living in is about to knock over the table it’s sitting on.”