Recurring dreams.

Used to have them in NY, before we moved down here… similar themes. I flew then, too.

My house burned down, this time. Big house, a composite of the houses I’ve lived in over my life; grandparents’ houses, aunts’ houses, certainly the house on Ray. Burned and abandoned with ghosts in it, dead friends or relatives that I didn’t bring with me, nameless and faceless now that I’m awake but bitter and angry in my dream. The house had burned and was blackened and ash-filled, and I’d gone back to salvage bits and bobs and things from the fridge, oddly. And escape meant flying on dragon-wings, leaving the ghosts behind with the lingering remnants and flying higher and away, following the damp from the firehoses that turned into rivulets and a swamp and then the ocean.

I’ve dreamt it twice, two consecutive nights.

Sequoia emerge from the ashes of forest fires. A friend of mine told me once that I’d do the same thing. Maybe it’s time.

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-her map of Tasmania. It’s her first show, and she’s terrified and ecstatic. Her mother watches, fretting with glued-on lashes a flurry of spiky black around gem-bright eyes. Sequins and rhinestones catch the cheap-lightbulb fluorescence that surrounds the makeshift dressing-room mirror as she puts her scissors down and picks up a pair of sheer stockings. The fleshtone nylon whispers and scratches as she unrolls it over her skin, encasing herself with a drag queen’s first line of defense.

She stands, smoothing her slitted gown over her bestockinged thighs. The slice in the fabric nearly reaches her naval, and slides as she moves, a shifting peep-show that shows far too much but never quite …everything.

“You all tucked up, honey?” her mother asks, and the virgin queen reaches between her thighs, giving the space there a quick once-over with cherry-taloned fingertips. Nothing comes loose, and she strikes a pose. The line of her posture is nervously perfect, from the tip of her glittering stiletto pump to the peak of her lace-front bouffant. Someone must have bled on her lips to get that color of red, and her lashes are a falsely modest line against her carefully porcelained cheek as she shyly ducks her head and blows her mother a moue of a kiss.

“You’re beautiful,” whispers her mother through proud tears that threaten to make her eyeliner run, and with all the frightened determination of a robin in late spring, she nudges the virgin through the curtained door, down the dimly-lit hallway at the end of which the stage is waiting, dollar bills in hands around it, waiting for a garter to receive them.

So we registered strangeandsavage.com in my name tonight.

The project is… the secondary, parallel track to my impulses to make things. Stories come first, but images are a close second.

Watch this space.

I don’t have your email address anymore. Hoping the link finds you, and you click it, and you read all these words I’m scribbling while the thoughts are in my head. You’re in my head today, very much, and I think it’s time I let the ghost out.

I have unfinished business with you. No, don’t close the window! It’s not bad. Well, not really. Not for you. This is an apology.

I was horrible. I was broken, and not by you; grievously wounded, and not by you; deeply mourning, but not you. You were just… there. You, with all the innocence of a small bird fluttering to the ground inside a cattery, made yourself a target by doing what was unarguably best for you, and I was dreadful to you. I had a lifetime of fury and bloody gashes stored up and hidden away and I couldn’t hide the bloodstains anymore.

I am so terribly, terribly sorry. You recognised, probably entirely instinctively, what a mess I was inside, and understood that you couldn’t afford to get tangled up in it– and there were so very many threads to get snarled in. What a tattered, patternless spider’s web my head was… I don’t blame you for severing that particular tie.

And I realise for my own part that but for my stupidity and my unpardonable behaviour, we could still be friends. I burned that bridge. I stood in the middle of it and sprayed my acid bitterness like gasoline all over it and spitefully dropped the match that sent it uncontrollably blazing under my feet, and God help me, I welcomed the burn on my skin. The anger propped me up while I mourned… and again– I wasn’t mourning you.

You bore the punishment others earned.

I can only apologise, and this I do, here and now in the open, where anyone can see it, in the hopes that one of the anyones who do will be you. You deserved none of the vitriol I gave you. If I could take it back, I would. I spent a while not thinking about it all, because doing so hurt, and I wouldn’t look at why… but the why of it is simply that I’m ashamed of myself. I was dreadful to you. I am so incredibly sorry.

I’ve said hello a few times in the intervening years. Waved in passing, as it were, but nothing more than that, not really, because this has been in the way, the need for these words. I’ve kept tabs, a little bit, although it’s been difficult: you were always so private, and I’m closed out, now, so what I get are glimpses here and there, allowed me by mutual friends and acquaintances and what I can glean from the occasional writings I stumble upon. I hope you’re doing well. I hope you’re in a good place. I hope happiness for you, because I loved you once, and because I think of you fondly still. My regrets are twofold: that I behaved so terribly, and that the bridge is burned.

I wish sometimes I could build another, of different structure and design, one meant for longer friendship, rather than to close the gap I was trying then to define or, really, ignore. I don’t know if I can… but the wish is there.

The designer behind Hidden Eloise is claiming that Amazon.uk retailer Paperchase has copied, duplicated, and profited from her designs.

Frankly, giving the two pieces in question a brief comparison, I have to agree. It’s blatant plagiarism, and Paperchase’s response to a request to desist has been, apparently, a great big shrug and a step up in the merchandising.

What a bunch of assholes. I don’t have a .uk account with Amazon (not that I’m using my US-based one right now anyway; they pissed me off over the MacMillan books tiff) but it makes me wish I did just so I could post a screed in the reviews of each of the products in question. Still, others have got there ahead of me. I’ll take comfort in that.

Twitter sparks things. Tonight it sparked this thought: that most people don’t feel the story of their lives is worth telling, that the story of what is ordinary is not anything in which anyone could have any interest. It occurred to me that I don’t believe in the existence of the ordinary.

I used to, and I used to firmly place myself in that category. I still, to this day, disavow compliments with the phrase “I’m only me,” implying that I am nothing extraordinary. I realised tonight, however, that I’ve discarded the idea of “ordinary” as fallacious. Maybe this marks me as an idealist, who knows? Maybe it means I’m finally moulding myself into the shape I want to be. If you want to be a storyteller, after all, it’s fairly essential that you learn to recognise stories.

I never considered my life to be anything extraordinary. The more I think on it, however, the more I realise that it’s had extraordinary moments, and that nobody’s life is comprised of more than that. Some people have more of those moments than others, to be sure. Some people go out and create those moments for themselves, seize upon events around them and turn them into something mad and amazing; some people have those moments happen to them without their conscious interference, victims of caprice and happenstance. But all of us have them, to some degree or another, and it’s those moments that are worth telling. It’s those moments that make a life’s story interesting enough to be told.

My life could be a novel. Parts of it would have to be excised, of course; parts emphasised or embellished, but the story so far isn’t as boring as I used to believe.

Food for thought.

Tomorrow- today, technically, but I haven’t been to bed yet, so it doesn’t count- is going to suck. I know it. I feel it in my marrow and in my blood. I have to share space with the ex and his gf, and there is so much pent-up hostility there I’m surprised I haven’t lit buildings on fire when I think of it.

But I’ve realised something. Just now, in fact; just a minute and a half ago, or less: it’s going to suck, but that doesn’t matter. I’m better.

I have to put up with the ex and the sour piece of uptight upholstery he’s saddled himself with, but that doesn’t have to bother me as much as I’ve let it. He’s lost everything over the past few years, and I’ve only gained.

He’s lost three houses, his jetskis, and a car because he couldn’t pay for them. He lost his swanky job, the one he was going to get rich in (he was selling mortgages, btw. For Ameriquest, briefly. This should tell you everything you need to know about the man). He’s living in a small apartment in a relatively cheap portion of town, selling cars and barely, as far as I can guess, making his bills. From comments my kid has made, I suspect he’s turning into a functioning alcoholic. I suspect, after having the pattern of his actions pointed out to me, that he’s miserable right now, that he’s using the fact that the divorce isn’t final yet to avoid having to marry the woman he shacked up with.

And I’ve only gained.

I’ve gained self-respect.

I’ve gained confidence.

I’ve gained a good job that, if all goes well, I should be able to hang onto through the current economic hosing, and although things are tight, I’m doing better than a lot of people.

I’ve gained a girlfriend, someone who loves me warts and all, unreservedly, without insisting I change things to suit an image, rather than the twisty-turny, slightly warped, constantly-shifting reality of me.

I’ve gained the best dog in the whole wide world, a smart, sweet, pretty, loyal, funny boy who learns tricks and loves me and keeps me safe while I sleep.

I think I’m finally starting to come around to the proper perspective, the proper way of looking at how I relate to the ex.

I’m happy. I’m finally happy. And he’s a sad, struggling, self-absorbed, close-minded, selfish, small man. He wants success and he sabotages himself. And he’s getting older without getting further along. And I feel sorry for him.

I’ll probably hate him again tomorrow, when I see him with his gf, with matching smug expressions, but tonight I feel sorry for him. I knew him before he turned into this person that I hate, and I know he could have been so much better.

And there, as the adage goes, but for the grace of God, go I. I can only be grateful I got out in time, and that I learn, and grow, and that I can be happy.