Dream Lessons: #1

[Been having lots of wild and wonderful dreams lately, and besides restful entertainment, I figured I could get something out of them, so I’m going to capture a lesson from each one. Without further ado…]

Lesson #1

In a lecture hall, through song, is totally the best place to express your feelings and quell any doubts your partner might have about your future together after graduation. 

[Note: I was really touched by the gesture, thanks Catrin!] 

Showstop (jhewsyol)

I dream I’m not on a train with 200 other people
(I didn’t count them all, just my carriage before extrapolating)
but in the thick of all that’s troubling me, wading through the minefields
of love and friendship

and though by day I long for simplicity –
that we can be without reproach or interruption –
I shake awake, still on the train,
and pine, thinking ‘at least it was exciting’.

[No, I’m not quite sure what this piece is either.]

Please Send Dragons

Being the creative, whimsical, free-spirited soul that I am (by that I mean easily distracted as well as… [drifts off mid sentence]) I occasionally find myself bored, and then daydreaming, and then wishing for a dragon.

It’s a slippery slope.

I can remember countless times I’ve been sat in a school chapel, sports hall or meeting room, ears under attack from a unending drone on responsibility or rules or the emancipation of the proletariat (I probably should’ve listened to that one), and just thought,

‘Imagine if a dragon smashed its way in here now. That would spice things up.’

It works best when there’s a big window, the destruction of which is overwhelmingly pleasing to visualise. Rose windows in chapels are my favourite – sorry god, but a giant reptilian jaw gonna look so sweet smashing through one of those!

[My inner writing voice is telling me that tips for a great daydream are where this piece is headed (Tip #1, ‘Rose Windows’, I guess?), so…]

#2 ‘Vantage Point’. Pick a window a good distance from you. Unless you’re going to daringly tame and ride the dragon (respect) or slay it nobly (there best be maidens watching, else you’ve just wasted a dragon) you want to be at a safe (out of the way for the first few seconds) distance to chuckle as your fantasy comes true and that classmate/colleague/tennis coach you never really liked gets scooped up in the mighty beast’s jaws. If you’re going into an event with the expectation of being bored, at least the foresight might allow you to pick an optimum daydreaming spot (I always liked some elevation where possible, or a nice corner in an office).

#3 ‘Sly Grin/Wee Nod’. There are two purposes here. The first is to provide an intense feeling of satisfaction and generally ‘being cool’. To achieve this, imagine yourself giving the dragon (and the bodies of your currently-deceasing unliked colleagues) this combination: sly grin (because you’re far enough away to be safe, clever you) and a wee nod (a show of mutual respect between you, virtually a demi-god for being called Skylance, and this mythical beast). You can even do this dual-action in real life, because of the second purpose: feigning interest in whatever’s actually going on. Your boss, examiner, chaplain etc. will be thrilled.

There are, of course, obvious drawbacks to imagining dragons, which is why I will soon post about my excitement for the impending zombie apocalypse, my preferred option.

This seems like enough nonsense for one day (one week in fact, sorry I’ve been so quiet!). Have a great weekend!

P.S. As a little aside, I really admired and respected my school chaplain, who was a great man and to whom I mean no offence, but the subject matter just wasn’t my jam. Plus, rose windows!

The Cycle

[Happy Friday! Hope you’re having a great day and are excited for the weekend! I’m in a great mood, but here’s an angsty piece I wrote a few days back while reflecting on two recent reads, ‘1984’ and ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’. Hope it doesn’t dampen your spirits – have a wonderful weekend.]

bury your dreams in conformance
send all your hopes to the grave
seek only continued existence
give up those who cannot be saved

Work to fuel Spend to fuel Work
a cyclical landscape of greys
death: less an event than a process
overlaps life in a haze

Consume Allocation Required
Pay Homage Appropriately Due
Perform to your Median, Modal Ability
mean’s too much thinking
means too much thinking
don’t be
mean too much thinking
mean too much

–Herein the Unit was deemed DEFECTIVE and the Process TERMINATED.–

Don’t Waste It

[I listened to some rap, thought about some other music and wrote a song. Shout out to the diverse influences of Lethal Bizzle, Lonely Island and Electric Six]

Get a chance better grab it
We’re chasing dreams: white rabbit
Blink once and you’ll miss us
Blink twice we’ll be off with your missus
Live fast die famous
Mess up but stay blameless
You can’t touch us: Hammer
We’re messing up works: spanner

I only write when I want to
It’s a right then a left it’s a one-two
I’ll knock you out cold, you be falling
That’s what you get if you’re coming cold calling
I don’t get sold to, I’m a buyer
I’ll tell you what I want it’s my desire
They want to know why I keep starting fires
High voltage lifestyle: live wires
I don’t care if you want to be me
Just don’t stare every time you see me

Take my advice: live your own way
It doesn’t ever matter what they all say
Proved wrong when they said I couldn’t make it
It’s my song I ain’t ever got to fake it
It’s not long but the message lasts forever:
We stay strong ’cause we always stay together.

Wishes (Part Five)

[For the rest of this story, as well as my other flash fiction series, click here]

I have the same dream every single night. I’m playing korfball, and playing well. I fake out defenders, score with most of my shots and collect the rebounds of the few that don’t go in.

The opposition are powerless to stop me. ‘I am taking them apart,’ I think, before I begin to do just that. Defenders slip and their legs snap like dry twigs, shots cannon into heads that roll and clutter the pitch and still the match goes on. The floor becomes a sea of body parts, twitching and crunching beneath my feet as I dazzle the remaining players with my skill.

Eventually it’s down to two-a-side, as me and Vix take on two faceless defenders. The match’s result is beyond doubt but we keep pushing as the commentator says one more goal will make the scorer the best player ever. We work a neat one-two and as soon as Vix shoots I know it’s not going in. I’m quick to react though, and charge towards the korf to gather the rebound. As I thought, the ball bounces back off the rim and arcs away. Vix and her defender are underneath it; ‘I’ve got it,’ she yells but she doesn’t seem to have the upper hand. It’s down to me to save this. I stride forward and leap up, sailing over the ladies at the base of the korf. I catch the ball, land, set myself and place it expertly in the basket as the commentator and the crowd go wild.

Ecstatic, I turn to find Vix, but I can’t see her. Her defender is there, ashen-faced and staring at my feet. What is she staring at? I look down. Vix’s lifeless eyes gaze up from her broken body, crushed beneath me.

I wake up, drenched in sweat. Vix sleeps soundly beside me – I reassure myself her chest is moving slowly with her breathing. I pull on a pair of shorts, socks, trainers, an old top. Head out for a run in the cold October air. Championship game in five weeks.

The Life Plan

Hi readers, I just fancied putting a few thoughts down – I’m sure you know the feeling! It’s a dilemma, the roots of which go at least as far back as my school careers fair in 2006.

Back then, I wasn’t sure where my varied interests would take me. I enjoyed aspects of a lot of my subjects – the vibrant recall of History, the cold logic of Maths and Physics, the human understanding of Physical Education and Biology (admittedly, the former also included the chance to play football on a regular basis)… Perhaps most of all, I loved the creative writing we did in English Language, a subject my school didn’t offer beyond GCSE. This was understandable as we were expected to fight our way into top universities, the likes of which didn’t value Language at all compared to its Literature counterpart. But I didn’t want it for university; I wanted it for me. A charismatic chemical engineer at the careers fair had sold me on his job’s combination of scientific knowledge and practical application. Maths, Physics and Chemistry were the requisite A level subjects, ones I was good at, and that seemed to be my future direction settled. But the chance to write more stories by taking an unrelated AS level? Yes please! Did I move schools to have that chance? No…

I took general engineering at uni in the end – a course that had its moments, and the near-guarantee of a job was certainly a perk, but I had lost something amongst the dry numbers and clinical calculations that comprised so much of my daily work. Where was the freedom, the ambiguity, the madness? Where had that creative spark gone? It was fairly early on in my degree that my Life Plan took shape. My heart and head warred so, as the sensible security of the engineering sector drew me from the wild creator I considered myself. The plan was thus: I would embrace a ‘normal life’ for a while, taking the prestige and payroll of engineering, while keeping my writing as a well-practised hobby. Then, when my mid-thirties rolled around, I promised myself a real shot at becoming an author – a sabbatical long enough to give getting published a go. If I didn’t work out, a hobby it would remain and my life’s purpose would be derived from outside the 9 to 5 construct. Succeed, and…

A lot of my friends have graduated into the real world now, and among them lies a particular inspiration to me: William Sirl.

Long story short, but Will is an old friend, one of the first I made at secondary school and who’s stuck by me since. We’ve a long history of creativity together – from holding an informal after-school poetry club (admittedly partially to impress girls) to planning a sketch show and most prominently, constantly creating and embodying characters in improvised comedic scenes. Hilarity and invention are constant companions of ours. For me, this activity is part of the fun that defines our friendship; for him, improv is the dream he’s actively pursuing. Will lives in London, spends half his time unemployed, hops between hostels and sofas and edges closer to his dream every evening, step by step, gig by workshop. The contrast between our lives, it seems to me, could not be greater. And I am so jealous. What of? His talent for his craft, his carefree lifestyle? No. I’m jealous of his courage. I am paralysed by fear: fear of giving up my comfortable, easy, middle-of-the-road existence to dare, to dream and to value what I love over the realistic, responsible rewards I feel I should be hoarding in its place.

Will I stick to my Life Plan? Do it sooner, later, not at all? Who knows. Its presence keeps me going for now.

[Thanks to Jodie Louise and her thoughts on writing for inspiring me to publish this well after it was written – the aforementioned fear had kept it hidden until now!]