Sunday February 26th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the dream-catcher.

Sorry, just finally got around to watching Inception. Needed to use a prompt that was at least somewhat related.

Had a good time at the birthday party this afternoon. They had it at a nearby hotel so that the kids could go swimming in the pool. Also: I think the not needing to clean up afterward thing played a part.

So. Emersyn is one now. Which means Miles is less than seven weeks away from that number.

Goodness. Me.


We are a nation of dreamers. We dream big. We dream with gusto and greed and a deep rooted desire for the very best that life has to offer.

Don't worry, I'm not judging anyone here. All these fat, bloated dreams floating around make my job easier. They're just so easy to catch.

It's the little dreamers I have to worry about. Their dreams are not so obvious. It's like they're trying to sneak these little pebbles by, hidden amongst the lumbering boulders of those sleepers who envision themselves at the peak of the mountain.

Which mountain, you ask? Any mountain will do for most. All the mountains are required by some.

But not these pesky little dreamers. They are more subtle, more clever. They understand that the true path to all of these grand end goals is through a nearly endless succession of little steps. Don't dream of the penthouse when you're mopping the lobby floor. That's too big a stretch.

Dream instead of a raise. A promotion. Recognition for all that hard work you do, day in and day out. Climb higher and higher, one rung at a time.

Don't try to leap frog all the way to the top in one foolish bound. Sure, some will pull that off. Cling to the edge by their fingertips. But the vast majority - the overwhelming majority - will fall.

And it is a nasty landing, let me assure you.

It's the one rung at a time dreamers that keep me awake at night. They will reach their goals, given enough time. If their determination is strong enough. If their will is unbending.

Those are the ones I am paid to stop.


Greg said...

I see you've been on a mammoth comment-catching-up as well, so great work there! I'm glad you liked the unfavourable comparisons, I had fun with those :)
Inception is fantastic, I really enjoyed it and the layers within layers and how it all comes together. Plus the undercurrent of the layers where you get lost and whether you can ever really emerge from them. I get the feeling from this piece today that you rather enjoyed it too, given that your narrator does seem to be inhabiting a similar world. Or perhaps... is policing a similar world, given that the last line casts everything you've written before into a rather different light. Slightly menacing perhaps, and opening up many more questions than it answers. Excellent work!

The dream-catcher
"Feathers and bones are essential for a good dream-catcher," said Meredith. Des, on one side of her just nodded her head, and J, who was sulking that the two older women wouldn't let her call herself Jihadi just sighed with all the impatience that an 18-year old can muster. Meredith ignored her and plunged her spade back into the soft ground with a metallic slicing sound as the soil parted beneath the blade. She levered another two spadefuls out and cast them behind her, and on the third thrust she struck wood.
"Bingo," she said.
"Bingo," mimicked J, brushing pink and purple hair back from her eyes. "That's like, so... square, daddio."
"Fine," said Meredith scraping the spade over the outlines of a wooden box. "Paydirt, bitches!"
Des rolled her eyes at the same time as J, and then J turned away to try and pretend that that hadn't just happened.
"Why can't we get them from a chicken or something?" she said. She was trying to make a real suggestion but even she could hear that she sounded petulant. "Why do you have to dig up a pet cemetary? This is like a Stephen King novel."
"Wow," said Meredith. "Isn't he dead yet? I was reading him before you were born. Probably before your parents even thought of having you, come to think of it."
"Chickens in the supermarket don't come with feathers, and most butchers don't have them either any more. It's not like the days when people knew where food came from. So it's easier to dig up a couple of dead budgies, and it's not like the people in the assisted housing block don't keep buying birds and then paying for their burial."
Des nodded solemnly and pulled the tiny coffin from the grave. A tarnished nickel plaque on the top read "Arthur, Budgerigar, aged 2.45 years." Strong, weathered hands cracked the coffin open and sorted through the remains of the bird. Satisfied she scooped out the lot and handed the coffin back to Meredith and started stringing them together to make the dream-catcher.
"Arthur," said Meredith reflectively. "I wonder if there's a better place for birds?"
"I think the grannies are thinking like the Egyptians," said J. "They're hoping when they die all their little feathered pets will be there waiting for them."
"Why would anyone imagine Heaven as an aviary?" said Meredith. She sounded faintly puzzled, as though recently concussed. "That sounds nightmarish to me."
"I've got an aunt that's had all her cats taxidermied," said J. "I'm not sure what she's getting when she died."
"Stuffed herself if there's any justice in the world," said Meredith, and Des smiled in a thoroughly unsettling way.

Marc said...

Greg - yes, I definitely enjoyed it as well. Well worth the wait. Hadn't meant to watch the whole thing in one go, actually, but ended up staying late to do just that.

Thanks for the kind words on mine :)

Ooh. Ooh, I like these three together. The back and forth is delightful, while the work they are doing is perfectly unsettling. I would be very happy to hear more from them :D

Dragonfly Oracle said...

The Dream-catcher

It was blue, the colour of the sky in high summer when the dust count was up and the light looked faded.
It had little dark-blue beads along its web-like strings and fake indigo feathers dangling from strips of blue vinyl - they wafted like kite tails when the breeze came through the window above my bed.
I could never figure out how they wove the thing. I'd have liked a traditional one made of gut and deer leather, but that's too un-PC nowadays. Ha! As if mock-leather is any better for the environment.

It saved me, that dream-catcher.
I don't know whether it was the focus I took off myself and poured into something seemingly endowed with mystical powers, or whether it was because I'd ceased that so-called medication, but it worked.
Gone were the nightmares that'd been building slowly over the past months... Horrific images and sinister whispers in my ear that plagued me in the wee hours... If that was its job, then it'd done the job.

Then followed the months of rebound pain.
I had to start all over again, bit by bit, gradually building myself up, again, into a whole person - from a fragmented one, you know, the one with the frail body, the broken soul, that one - I had to rebuild that.

I did it. Nearly two years to get back to some sense of normalcy, it took, but I did it.
No one saw the tears at night.
They just saw the fine-boned frailty and made harsh judgements. Even those who should've known better... ah well. People judge. Get over it. They didn't help me, those folk. No one could. It's one of those things you have to do by yourself until, like an extended resurrection, I could finally say...
"I'm baaaack".

Marc said...

Dragonfly - love the description of the dream-catcher in your opening. And the story that follows is excellent, with all those wonderful little details bringing it to life.

Also: nice to see you 'baaaack' here :)