Dream Diary: The One That Got Away

I don’t know if you know what I mean by “the one that got away,” but a lot of people have them. “The one that got away” is a love interest that you were very invested in, but things didn’t work out and you really regret it. My mom had a “one that got away,” her high school sweetheart, whom she kind of regretted breaking up with.

After my mom died, I found an obituary for someone that I think was him, and it wouldn’t’ve worked out. He became a pastor, and, well, how do I make this read smoothly? I’ve reworked this part three times now.

Near where I grew up, there was a church. I’m a Christian as was my mom, but this church had some, not really doctrinal (though there were those, as well) but . . . business-related activities that my mom disagreed with.

The obituary I found said that he worked at that church. Everything else matches up — his (fairly common) name, his age, he was even in the state where my mom was while they were dating. And, well, the pictures of him I found do look like this pastor was her “type.”

So, yeah.

In my dream last night, my “one that got away” was Keith Habersberger from the Try Guys. Why him in particular? I don’t know. The real life Keith is young enough to be my son. So we were never in school together, but in my dream, we had been classmates.

I got a chance to go back in time and fix what had gone wrong between us. I walked up to him and when I made eye contact with him, his career with the Try Guys and his relationship with Becky, his wife, all came flooding back to me and I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t know what kind of life he and I would’ve had, but he seems really happy with Becky and the whole Try Guys thing, so I told him that I had a feeling that he would get everything he wants and deserves from life and he offered me his friendship and promised that we’d keep in touch.

At some point, I attended the wedding of Zach Kornfeld and his fiancee Maggie. She was a beautiful bride. I don’t know if I was, like, there because I knew the Try Guys from my friendship with Keith or what.

Time to get back to Gratuitous Amazon Links. This is another favorite — A Deadly Education, by Naomi Novik. A Deadly Education is the first of a series about El, short for Galadriel, who is a student at a school for witches and wizards. El is a natural dark wizard (called a “Maleficer” in this series) who is determined not to go down that path. The school is well drawn and I enjoy the supporting characters. The second book comes out in just over a month and I’m really excited for it. I also bought a copy of this for a friend and will buy her the next book, too.

Dream Motif: Aquariums

I don’t know why I dream about aquariums so often. Do I feel trapped? Is it a play on Evelyn describing my pharmacy as a fishbowl? Am I missing having something to take care of since Alex grew up?

Last night, I dreamed that something terrible was happening to our house (and also that we were all due to meet the Queen of England) and so I ran back into the house for my books and a selection of dresses that might be suitable for meeting the Queen. Someone, maybe Alex, asked about my fish, and I remembered that I had to get them, too. The aquarium was too heavy to lift, so we had to move the fish into other containers and we had to drain off some of the water. Interesting to me, though, we didn’t drain it entirely, because I knew, even in my dreams, that putting fish directly into a brand-new tank of water is bad for them.

I can kind of find where this came from, probably. Two houses on one of my coworker’s street have been razed and are being replaced by mansions too big for their lots. And basically everyone who has a house in my pharmacy is being pestered by developers to sell their houses.

Now, I never wanted a house and a house will be a bad choice for me long-term, but I love my house and having it razed and replaced by a McMansion? Not the stuff of pleasant dreams.

I never did find a suitable dress to meet the Queen. I was considering the dress I wore to my friend Mary’s wedding but never made a final decision.

Other aquarium dreams include being criticized by some stranger for the way I attempted to grow plants in my aquarium, having an aquarium that somehow had two levels to it, going back to college where, somehow, I ended up in charge of the aquarium in some kind of fish-based laboratory, and spending a lot of time looking at fish tanks at the zoo.

Dream Journal 4/24/2021

So. I’ve been cleaning and now I have a headache. Let’s see how much writing I can do before I have to go hide in a dark room. I told this all to Evelyn to cement it in my mind so that I can remember it now.

Just as a little background, Jenny Lawson, writer of books like Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, lives in San Antonio. She owns the Nowhere Bookshop bookstore in a kind of suburb of San Antonio called Alamo Heights (it’s its own town, but if you address things with “San Antonio” as the address it will reach it’s destination). Because of COVID, the bookstore has never been open to the public. They do curbside pickup and mail order and, of course, there’s the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club, which supports the bookstore.

Anyway, it’s Independent Bookseller’s Day today and to celebrate they were having a sidewalk sale, and Evelyn and I were going. I’m 95% certain this is what inspired these dreams.

First off, I was in a restaurant sitting at a table deciding what to order, when I noticed a coworker sitting at a bar. She had a cup of, like, espresso in front of her, but she said she wanted a full-sized cup of coffee.

I saw that the pot (which was one of those little moka pots they use to make stovetop espresso) still had coffee in it, so I gave her a full-sized cup of that and went in search of things to make another pot. I went to the end of the counter, where the singer J. Balvin was sitting and asked him where the measuring spoons were and he informed me that the Spanish word for measuring spoon was “culebra.” I made a little serpentine wave with my arm and asked, “┬┐Culebra?”*

He was kind of like, “Don’t ask me, I don’t make the rules.”

As I went back to my table, I realized that Balvin had just written a book and that I could have it autographed while he was here. I asked the guy who owned the restaurant if they would hold my table while I ran out to buy a copy.

He pointed to the line at the host’s table and said that the rush was about to start and that if I wasn’t back by then, he’d give my table away.

So I promised that if I couldn’t see a copy from the front door of the bookstore, I’d come right back.

After hurrying as fast as I could with my path being blocked by a large woman who looked like my Aunt Georgia from behind, I reached the bookstore and the entrance was now a sitting area and you can’t see any books from the door.

Later, I had another dream related to Nowhere Bookshop even more directly. I dreamed that Jenny Lawson herself was moving to my neighborhood, only it wasn’t where I’m living now, it was where I was living when I was a teenager. In real life, there is an empty lot at the end of the street but in my dream it was a marshland with a little grotto with a tiny waterfall there. I was admiring the waterfall when Jenny walked up to me.

I didn’t want to fangirl all over her, so I introduced myself, said hello and then took off.

So, as it turned out, the sidewalk sale turned into a “come-in-and-browse” sale and, instead of maybe seeing Jenny through the window, as I had expected, she was actually in the store and was talking to people. And I got to meet her. I told her about my dream, by way of offering to leave her alone, but she seemed approachable and friendly and I’m still fangirling, nearly 12 hours later.

Book Series I’ve Loved: The Chronicles of Narnia

I try not to spoil too much here, but I do spoil The Last Battle pretty well, so I’ll try to mark the spoiler area somehow in the post.

The first two chapters of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe* were in my fifth grade reading textbook. I was reading ahead in the book because “bring an outside book to keep you entertained during downtime” wasn’t really a thing when I found them.

They were way back in the back of the book, and I had little hope that we would ever get there.** So pretty much every time I had a chance to sneak a peek at that section of the book, I would do so.

I didn’t realize that some of what we read was excerpts from longer works, so when a story just kind of stopped, it was pretty normal to me. We did make it to those chapters, though, and my teacher told us that this was part of the book, which was part of the series. The next time my mom and I went to the library, I picked up the entire book, which led to me getting the next book, and the next, until I finished the series.

I checked them out over and over, until finally my mom bought the books for me in paperback. I still have them. I cannot get to them right now, though, because Alex’s bar stools are in the way.

If you’re one of the three people in the English-speaking world who has never heard of the Chronicles of Narnia (though there are probably more in non-English-speaking countries), here’s a basic rundown of the plot.

Should I do this in book order or in plot order? Can I somehow hybridize the two?

The flagship book in the series is the above-mentioned The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This is the story of the Pevensie kids, particularly the youngest child, Lucy, who are sent away into the countryside to the home of a family friend, Professor Kirke, during the London Blitz during World War II.

During a game of hide-and-seek, Lucy hides in a wardrobe. The wardrobe is roomier than she’d expect. It’s full of fur coats which, as she walks farther into the wardrobe, eventually become (may C.S. Lewis forgive me the inaccuracy and the pun) fir trees. She emerges into a clearing in a snowy winter forest with an old-fashioned lamp post in the center. There she meets a faun named Tumnus, and he takes her home for tea.

When she returns hours later, only a few minutes has passed for her siblings and they don’t believe her. Eventually they do, and they end up going on a quest to save Edmund, the younger of the two boys.

The book ends with the crucifixion and resurrection of the lion Aslan, which kind of shocked me when I first read it. I thought that Lewis was mocking the death and resurrection of Jesus. It didn’t stop me from loving the series, but still.

Now, let’s do this chronologically. My series of books is in the order in which the books were written, but nowadays they sell them in chronological order.

The series tracks the entire existence of the land of Narnia. I guess that entire plane of existence, really, since there are other countries than Narnia.

We begin with The Magician’s Nephew, in which a preteen named Digory Kirke*** is living with his uncle, who has made pairs of magical rings that will allow one to travel between worlds. Digory and his friend Polly end up traveling from world to world, where they watch Aslan create Narnia.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe comes next, and the following book, The Horse and His Boy, takes place during the events of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Then there are three more books, which chart the family of Caspian, a prince of Narnia, and their interactions with the Pevensies and their cousin Eustace.

The final book in the series, The Last Battle, caps the series with the destruction of Narnia. The Last Battle is pretty controversial for several reasons.

It has a rather interesting take on the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Aslan allows non-believers into heaven based on their acts rather than their beliefs. That’s the Sheep and the Goats right there, but I know more than one Christian who is horrified by the thought.

Spoilers ahead! Awoogah! Awoogah!

Then there’s Susan. I may end up breaking this off into its own post if I end up going on too long on this.

The Pevensie kids, Professor Kirke, Polly, Eustace, and Jill are waiting on a train platform and the train somehow collides with the platform. They go to heaven, where they are joined by the Pevensie kids’ parents. Susan, who has become a pretty typical young adult, with interests in fashion and dating, is not there.

Some people take the parents’ presence as proof that we’re in the human end-time as well or something and that Susan went to hell. Further, since Polly and Professor Kirke speak disdainfully of Susan’s interest in fashion (which is likely CS Lewis’s own opinion — I never said there was no misogyny in his work, just that Susan doesn’t go to hell for it), fashion and boys must be the reason that she went to hell.

But Susan isn’t dead. The Pevensie kids’ parents were on the train. They all died at roughly the same time.

If Susan isn’t allowed into heaven, it’s not because of boys and makeup. It’s because she no longer believes. Lucy had said something to Susan about Aslan or Narnia and Susan said that she remembered that fun game they played when they were kids. So, yeah, she’s lost her faith.

Of course, even that’s no guarantee that she won’t go to heaven because of the Sheep and Goats part. Even without faith in Aslan, if you feed the hungry, house the homeless, heal the sick, etc., you still can get into heaven. It works for Emeth in The Last Battle, after all.

Though I do feel very sorry for Susan. She lost her entire family — parents, siblings, even her cousin Eustace and the beloved family friend Professor Kirke, all in one shot. I cannot imagine how devastated she must have been. I hope she had good friends to support her through that time of difficulty.

I do have some criticisms of the books. There is definitely some Islamophobia in there with the Narnians’ enemies the Calormen, who come across as Muslims were portrayed in the Crusades. I think he rethought some of this, though, because in The Last Battle, we see Tash (the Calormene god), who is more Hindu diety-esque (not an improvement) than a stand-in for Allah.

There’s also the sexism inherent in the portrayal of Susan, which I noted above. As a person on the ace spectrum who isn’t very into makeup and things (I love to wear dresses because they make it so easy to be comfortable and still kind of fashionable), I found Lucy’s refusal to go that direction to be a comfort, but I totally can see how someone on the allo, fashion and makeup end would find the portrayal of Susan to be offputting.

*there is no Oxford Comma in this title, which is odd, because Lewis attended Oxford. I’m just kidding. Probably.

** I stopped in the middle of this sentence to see if I maybe had a solution to my ongoing desire to show how I edit as I write using Word’s “track changes” feature. It didn’t work the first time I tried, so I’m going to research it and come back to it later. For now, writing.

*** Notice the last name? Yep. He’s the professor from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.