Saturday, June 22, 2019

June 22: Strange Symbols, Dreams, Mowing the Grass

Ford, Zaphod, and Trillian are exploring a subterranean passage on the mythical planet of Magrathea . . .

Zaphod marched quickly down the passageway, nervous as hell, but trying to hide it by striding purposefully.  He flung the beam around.  The walls were covered in dark tiles and were cold to the touch, the air thick with decay.

"There, what did I tell you?" he said.  "An inhabited planet.  Magrathea," and he strode on through the dirt and debris that littered the tile floors.

Trillian was reminded unavoidably of the London Underground, though it was less thoroughly squalid.  

At intervals along the walls the tiles gave way to large mosaics--simple angular patterns in bright colors.  Trillian stopped and studied one of them but could not interpret any sense in them.  She called to Zaphod.

"Hey, have you any idea what these strange symbols are?"

"I think they're just strange symbols of some kind," said Zaphod, hardly glancing back.

Trillian shrugged and hurried after him.

From time to time a doorway led either to the left or right into smallish chambers which Ford discovered to be full of derelict computer equipment.  He dragged Zaphod into one to have a look.  Tillian followed.

"Look," said Ford, "you reckon this is Magrathea . . ."

"Yeah," said Zaphod, "and we heard the voice, right?"

"Okay, so I've bought the fact that it's Magrathea--for the moment.  What you have so far said nothing about is how in the Galaxy you found it.  You didn't just look it up in a star atlas, that's for sure."

Zaphod and Ford grew up with the legend of the planet of Magrathea.  My dad grew up with the films of John Wayne.  My mother loved Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals like Oklahoma.  I think all of us spend our lives chasing the dreams of our youth.  Little boys want to fly off to Neverland.  Little girls want to be Hermione Granger and get an owl from Hogwarts.  For me, it was the Star Wars universe.  I wanted to be Luke Skywalker and spent many a summer afternoon in the woods, searching for my own private Yoda.

Welcome to my Saturday morning.  I have a busy day ahead--mowing and cleaning and playing the pipe organ and getting ready for my Book Club tomorrow evening.  Lots of stuff to do.  Now, I hate cutting my grass.  This antipathy stems from being forced to perform this task by my father when I was a kid.  I would spend an afternoon pushing the lawn mower in the blazing sun, and then my dad would come home and point out places that I missed and make me go out and mow again.  I can't tell you how much I HATED mowing grass.

Of course, now that I'm an adult, I have to do all the other adult things that my dad and mom did that I never noticed--like paying bills, going grocery shopping, spending eight to ten hours every day at a job.  I don't think kids ever really notice these parental acts.  They happen in the background, because kids are more focused on chasing Yoda through the forest, dreaming of discovering dinosaur bones in their backyards.  That is the job of kids.  Chasing dreams.

Me?  My biggest dream was always to be a full-time writer.  In fifth grade, when everyone was tasked to build shoe box dioramas of what we wanted to be when we grew up, I made an office lined with books.  There was a desk with a toy typewriter on it.  Behind the desk, I put a doll of the Wizard from The Wizard of Oz, because he was dressed in a three-piece suit with a top hot and pinstriped pants.  To me, he looked like a writer.  That was my dream.

I don't think I've ever stopped dreaming.  Granted, I no longer believe that there's a brontosaurus buried in my backyard.  I don't think I shall ever receive an owl from Dumbledore requesting my services as a professor of magical spell grammar.  (Now that would be a dream job!)  And I don't think that I will ever experience a jump to hyperspace.  (It would probably give me a case of vertigo now, and I'd spend the entire trip throwing up.)

But I still dream of writing full-time.  The closest I get are these daily blog posts.  An hour or two on my laptop, composing something and then sending it out into the world.  It doesn't pay any of my bills, and I don't get health insurance through Blogger.  However, it makes me feel, for a little while like I'm the Wizard, sitting in my shoe box office, writing my next bestselling novel or collection of Bigfoot poems or Broadway play.

And then, when I'm done blogging, I have to close my computer, drag out the lawn mower, and cut the friggin' grass.

Stop by Saint Marty's house this afternoon if you want.  Share some dreams with him.  He'd appreciate the break from working on his lawn to be Indiana Jones for a while.

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