Tag Archives: dream

Adventure In The Great Wide Somewhere

7 Mar

I have always wanted a Tardis. I have not always known the name for it as such. But to see all of time and space – and, if Dr. Who is any precedent, to have uncountable many adventures while doing so – is what I have, and will always, desperately want. I want it so badly it hurts.

But I was not always a Whovian. The seat of my yearning was not always a mad man with his box. No, my wanderlust came with other names – a wardrobe, a letter upon my eleventh year, a snag on my finger in the bookstore with an oath to follow, unicorns with amulets, wrinkles and tesseracts. My mind has always been an amalgam of Ella’s who have more adventures than their Char’s, Wilma’s who make incredible wishes, Sara’s who create kingdoms out of attics and words and poverty, Mary’s who find gardens tucked away in, well, space and time.

It’s always been books, of course.

Sometimes people seem to think that books make people sedentary dreamers. Perhaps this is true, for some. But for me, all it did was make me yearn for adventure in the great, wide somewhere.

I’m going there on Sunday.

There have been so many, many times in my life when I’ve had the thought, “I wish I could do [something].” But there’s always a barrier. Time. Money. Health. Sanity. Money. Energy. Money. It’s hard to make our own adventures in a world where experience belongs to the old and expediency to the wealthy. It grinds a bit, settling for the smaller scope and pretending you feel like you’re doing something more. There’s always that answer to keep us in our place, “Now’s just not the best time.”

I’ll just wait until things in my life become more certain. Then I’ll know better what I’m dealing with. Then I’ll be able to better move around the pieces.

This is reasonable. This is good. This is clear, logical, totally appropriate thinking.

But I personally realized that unless I was suddenly very, very lucky, I was never going to go anywhere. There was never going to be a “best time.” There was probably never even going to be a good time. I wasn’t ever going to be able to have it all. I was going to have to risk something. I just needed to figure out what I was willing for that to be. Money. Job security. Time. Not feeling alone. Absolute certainty that everything would work out.

Adventure means risk. You’re going to have to be willing to lose something. That’s what all those books I read growing up had shown me, right? You want the world. What are you willing to give it in return?

Sure, adventures aren’t inherently about taking stupid risks. I mean, we’re talking about my wanting to go exploring, not saving the world from the forces of evil. I can at least make the risks I take calculated.

And so I am. Five months ago, I saw something that I wanted. A bookstore. Of course, a bookstore.

In Portugal.

But… it was the bookstore, in a way. We’re not talking corporate white walls with B&N logo slathered everywhere (though B&N is lovely and I buy books there and that’s all well and good). We’re talking… well, we’re talking about that library that Belle found in the Great Wide Somewhere. Bookshelves on the scale of glory. Red carpet and graceful bannisters and dust hanging like history in the light shafts, giving the place an irrefutable air of magic and tales as old as time.

It’s called Livraria Lello, by the way.

I found the place while doing random internet browsing. I wasn’t searching for anything in particular. I was just flick flick flicking, procrastinating my time away while breathing between grad school apps.

And then there it was. The most beautiful, magical bookstore I had ever seen. Because it looked like the one I had grown up dreaming about. The one that I had always, always wanted to be real.

It was a bit like finding a wardrobe.

But… Portugal. That was so far away from ocean-locked United States. It would be soooo expensive to get there.

Sigh. Put it on the mental docket. “Places I desperately want to go before I die.”

*PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC*

YOU DON’T KNOW WHEN YOU’RE GOING TO DIE! YOU CAN’T JUST DO THAT AND EXPECT TO ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO EVER GO THERE!

Holy moly, Anxiety Man! You’re right!

Sometimes my mental demons have a point. Knew there had to be some kind of reason I keep them around.

So. I sat there, staring at my screen. Doing some calculations in my brain. Thinking about time and energy and money and certainty and dreams.

And I’m going to Portugal tomorrow. And then France a few days after that. And then a few days more and I’ll be in Ireland, where I’ll be volunteering with that project I’d wanted to be part of since something like a month after I left Burning Man. The one about art and community and fire and redemption.

You know, things that sound like magic.

I am going adventuring, tomorrow.

Sneaky things, Tardises, when they go looking like plane tickets.

Headaches

5 Aug

It’s too late a morning for what I’d planned,

hours of dream-thrashing that left me sweaty

what I wake up to, instead of the cool and metal sheen of dawn.

The shrunk-down woken-up figures of odd dreams and bad memories

wrestle round my neuron junctions, pulling at threads

and threatening connections that would sooner be left alone.

I re-heat the coffee and guzzle it down like magic,

hoping to thrust my mind through enough caffeination

to rid me of this rough-delivered headache

and release me, forgetting and free.

Magick

2 May

 

Magic

I want a world where there are dragons.

I want a world with traveling circuses at night.

I want a world with flying carpets, mermaids, selkies –

where colds, flu, and heartache can be magicked away

with nothing more complicated than some herbs in a pot

and the right words, already written down in a book for you.

In this world of pragmatism,

it’s too hard to know the right words to say.

I want a world with beasts and beauties

requiring no photoshop to recognize,

where illusion makes you think about what life is

instead of trying to convince you the other way around.

I want unicorns,

phoenixes that can rise from ashes and second chances that really matter.

I want the impossible.

I want something more than indeterministic fate.

I want a way to cats-cradle the strings of the universe together

into something better than what it handed me to start with.

I want not the power but the plausible hope

of a world where your will could actually change things.

Where try hard enough and you can succeed,

instead of just the lie they feed you about that here.

I want a world with beautiful rules

and even more beautiful exceptions,

instead of just the shit stochastic

we all give our breath and brains and beatings to.

I want a world where words can fight fists

and win in the moment, there and then.

Words can already bruise people beyond belief

but at least with magic they could provide real safety too.

I want a world with fewer bruises.

I wish more people just hid flowers up their sleeves.

I want a world where more hearts could roar

when they hear that uttered, muttered phrase –

Here be dragons.

I want a world that will offer me greater possibility than this world has to offer

where the only magic that people can ever know –

love, hope, faith, dreaming, a kiss –

is more often that not mere slight of hand and even the best of pixie dust

will end up dead.

 

Strange Sleep

8 Apr

My brain is a very weird place. Like, very, very, very weird. Possibly also still a bit scrambled right now, seeing how I haven’t downed any coffee yet this morning. But hey. We’ll deal with it.

So, how weird is my brain? Well, when not deciding that I was going to be awake at weird hours and then sleep in a very nonsensical pattern last night, my brain was off in who-knows-what-land spinning incredibly odd dreams. Usually, I’m able to figure out what the stimulus was when I have particularly strange sleephaunts. An advertisement I saw on the Metro, something a friend said, a line from a book…

Yeah. Not so much this time.

I mean, my roommate and I did watch the lump of slap-happy confusion that is Zoolander last night, so maybe that was the impetus for my brain’s thinking that ooh! ooh! it could come up with absolute ridiculousness too!

What was last night’s brand of weirdness? Well, all within less than eight hours of shut-eye, I lived through a Star Trek-themed nightmare (neither Spock nor Captain Picard graced my dream with his presence, though) that was also slightly Monster’s Inc.-esque; I was Disney’s Pocahontas in an alternative history where I got to just hang out with John Smith and tell him he was boring; I was told via phone that the head of the tribe had died and so I (still Pocahontas) had to lead a group of other Native American aristocracy through a mine field where we were being attacked by flying frisbee-ish weapon technology; still as Pocahontas, I fought Malfoy from the Harry Potter books; and then in a completely different dream sequence, I was nanny to the Obama family’s young daughter (who in my dream was like 3 and a very unruly child); that dream somehow involved reality that was hybridized with video game graphics and clicking; and then finally that dream somehow connected back to the Pocahonatas one and the Chinese were going to try to attack through plants or something and I had $25 million that came from a fraud transaction and thus couldn’t gamble but it wasn’t my fault…

You all as lost as I am by now? Geez. There’s a reason I wake up exhausted…

Any of you lovely readers have a comparatively weird night? Hope you all managed a more restful pre-work Tuesday morning.

Brains are weeeeeird, man.

Ahem. I’m going to go drink some coffee now…

Disgruntled Groveling

23 Mar

Hello folks! I’m going to attempt to sound more cheerful that I was in my other blog post from this morning. Because there are happier things to talk about here! More exciting things!

Things that also maybe sort of kind of possibly involve that super awkward thing called “money”…

No! Please don’t go yet! I promise I’m going to try to be funny in writing this! Then you don’t have to give money, either! You just get to laugh! Laughing is good, right? RIGHT?

I am only one largeish cup of coffee into today’s caffeination, I swear.

Aaaanyhoo. First exciting thing: books! I have them! For you! Wooo! So, what are these books? Well, these books are writing-containing-things that I’ve talked about on this here blog thing before, except now they’re even cheaper! Why? Because I decided that I wanted to make my books cheaper, actually. More accessible. Especially my memoir about life with (and moving towards without) an eating disorder and depression and other mental health stuffs. Because I wrote it in the hopes that maybe it would be helpful for someone out there. As a place to find sympathy. As a place to direct the friends and parents and extended relatives with their bagillion questions for answers. Perspective, more so, really. You can throw statistics and diagnostics and symptoms at people all you want, but that’ll still only tell them what a disease is, not what it’s like. So that’s what I tried to do with my memoir. Show people what living inside an eating disorder is like.

So. Lower prices. (Some of my poetry + short story collections are even less than $3 now!) More accessibility. Good stuff. Check out what’s available on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=miceala%20shocklee

Also, heads up, my memoir is almost half as expensive if you get it direct through LuLu, because Amazon hasn’t updated the price change I made:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/miceala-shocklee/drop-dead-gorgeous/paperback/product-20635940.html

 

Other exciting thing! I’m going to the Galapagos in two days!!! It’s literally a dream come true for me. Yes, I’m a writer, but I’m also a biologist. Who loves animals. And nature. Especially cool nature. Do you know how much cool nature there is in the Galapagos??? All of it. ALL of the Galapagos is cool nature. I’m seriously not kidding.

I’m lucky enough to get to go on a mostly-completely-paid-for science research-ish type trip to the Galapagos through a class I applied for and was accepted into at Caltech. We spent the entire term, 11 weeks of it, talking about evolution and geological history and 16S RNA genome mapping stuff and LOTS and LOTS about the Galapagos. And this Tuesday, I get to wake up before 6 am and head out to LAX with the rest of my class to hop (well, probably more like “sleepily bedraggle”) onto an airplane that’ll take us to Quito, from where we’ll be sent off straight to the Galapagos!

So, like I said, very exciting. Me, a biologist, gets to go to the Magical Land of Biology. Dream come true.

Also, as I said, the trip is only mostly completely paid for. I did still have to pay for my own flight. Which means that I am $700 of life savings short and recently graduated. I kinda get these knots in my stomach whenever I’ve thought about my bank account over the past few days…

But oh man! I set a “GoFund Me” page to hopefully help make some of the stress-knots stop attacking my insides! In return for donations, I’m writing Galapagos-y things (poems, flash fiction, pieces, short stories, etc.), printing them out all pretty-like when I get back, signing them, and sending them off to donors! The more stress-knots you slay, the more literary goodies you get!

So, um, if you think you would like to help fund my scientific writerly trip to the Galapagos, that would be super nice! But no pressure. Really. It’s cool. Money’s tight. I get it. I like smiles too!

It’s really hard to ask people for money. Katherine Fritz on her blog has called it “shameless whoredom.” I’m calling it “disgruntled groveling.” Because I’m kinda sitting here in my chair all tensed up as I write these paragraphs in which I presume to suggest that maybe if you like my writing you could possibly help fund it and my dreams and travels but if you can’t it’s really okay and you can forget I ever mentioned it okay bye please keep reading.

Here’s that link you can totally forget about to the GoFundMe page thingy that’ll be up till some time tomorrow:

http://www.gofundme.com/53r4wo

Okay. That’s enough being balled up in a whole-body stress knot for the day.

I swear, I was going to make this post more positive…

Um. Here. Have a puppy.

Fantasy

23 Feb

A poem for Fantasy.

Fantasy

I would like a Tardis to fly away

or perhaps a Wardrobe to crawl through.

Some pixie dust or powdered Floo

might do in case of a pinch,

or perhaps a heated air balloon

might be just the cinch.

I’d like to jump a rattling train

to cross the city bounds,

or follow up a couple clues

chased down by the Hounds.

I’d take a sequence of bricks to tap

or an amulet that listens to runes,

the kind of ring that knows a place

hummed in fireside tunes.

And perhaps a ship or craft would do

to bring me Somewhere Else –

just put me anywhere, anywhere

they say exists in those dreams upon the shelf.

Nightmares

31 Dec

I have nightmares sometimes. And by “sometimes” I mean sometimes they really are true nightmares, the kind that leave you cold in your bed when you wake up, frozen with a sense of gruesome horror. Sometimes, though, I call my nightmares “stress dreams,” because they leave me not so much afraid as weary and worried and anxious.

No matter what, I wake up to wet clothes and a body dripping with sweat. It’s unpleasant.

And sometimes, I shake when I dream. I’ll awake to my boyfriend’s arms around me, his hands pressing my head to his cheek, his voice low and whispering my name, begging me to wake up, or stating – and it is an assertion, no such flimsy thing as a coo – that it’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right.

But sometimes, I’m awake before the shaking starts. I’ve left my dream and its festering or frittering behind, fully conscious if eyes closed there on the sodden mattress. And before I’ve time to take a first waking breath, my body convulses. I jolt from the center, hinging around my stomach as the contractions come. My body, railing not at a nightmare but at its existence, the tortured mess of nerves my mind has forced upon it, crying in the only way that muscles and tendons can, as they release the stress in heave after heave of screams that could not be made aloud, letting out the tension of a night spent tangled up in the dank sheets of my worried mind, paralyzed.

There is no fight or flight for the unconscious. You cannot run from dreams. And so my body racks and rages at the brain it cannot eject, trying to shake the bones within me awake, to move themselves and kick and fight and scream in claw marks down whatever has caused the adrenaline to course through my veins while my consciousness flails under the dredges of a restless sleep to put the world back together once more.

But instead they only curl my legs closer and wrap my arms together so that at least while my body still lies there, subsiding into twitches, the waking mind, just as much a victim, won’t feel so alone, hiding its face and rasping softly – please, forgive me my sense of horror.