Humor :: Esteban’s record collection

Poster: illustration girl in curlers sleeping.

This morning in bed I dreamed myself sideways— shoulder tucked, face protected, fists out. It took more than a few minutes for me to realize that I was here, lung out across a mattress, and not there, standing in the entryway of a walk-up apartment that faced a sunny street, having a sweet discussion about record collecting and humid climates with a man who had the head of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. (He had very clean teeth!)

August is the month of my deepest and most primal dreams. I sleep and my brain begins its real work, which is traveling across the crenelated continents of my memory, or so I told the man with the head of an ancient lizard this morning. He nodded sympathetically. His oxford shirt was neatly pressed, and his smile so endearing, that his scaly complexion seemed merely an afterthought.

While my dreams unfurl in a gentle roll through the hottest month, my body flings out into physical space, flipping over water glasses and lamps; bunching pillows; kicking blankets. Wherever it is I go in my dreams, the rest of me, that dogged corporeal self, attempts to follow.

Instead, I crash my way through the night and wake in the morning to a blue-grey ceiling and a pretty story. What was that man’s name? The man with the head of a T. Rex and the cultivated record collection? Stanley? Berber? Stefano? I don’t know. The bedroom smells of dust and book and dog and heat. The twisted sheets fall away as I sit up. His fingers were manicured— this I remember.

Did I make this up? Is this how my mind works? Who dreamed who, here? In some large city is there a man with a scaly head waking to his own August morning dream about a girl with a tin-pan laugh and strange green eyes? The one who kept asking about weather conditions and records? What was her name? Whitney? Britney? Dolly? He sits up sideways in bed. Her head was so mammalian, he thinks. That girl really needed to file her nails.

Poster: illustration man in sailor hat sleeping.

26 thoughts on “Humor :: Esteban’s record collection”

    1. Yes! Now that you mention it the post would translate rather well into sci-fi or fantasy. And the twist was delicious. 😀

    2. Sci-fi is my special love. It’s not just about tech, or monsters. It /can/ be about extreme situations that the plumb the depths of what it means to be human.

    3. That’s the weird part— I read a lot of sci-fi, soft (literary) more than hard, and a little bit of fantasy— not as much, only b/c I haven’t found my niche yet. But, I’ve never tried to write sci-fi. (I think good sci-fi is really hard to write!) To me, sci-fi is sociological fiction. Love that.

    4. lol – I think the only sci-fi I don’t love is the Storm Troopers kind of stuff. Mmmm…. or the ones that are all tech with 2D characters. Actually when you come right down to it, I like good tech but in the way that Herbert did it, not just tech for its own sake.

      If I have to write shorts to ‘stretch’ myself then maybe you, young Bluey should try writing a bit of sci-fi!

    5. Totally pwned. : D

      I KNEW you were going to say that. Why? Because we think similarly. My version, to myself: You know, I’ve never tried writing a science fiction short story. And the thought of it scares me. (A beat.) I should write a science fiction short story.

      (Two beats.) Ping!

      Comment from Meeka. If I have to write shorts to ‘stretch’ myself then maybe you, young Bluey should try writing a bit of sci-fi!

      Just. Like. That.

    6. Thank you, Hera! Do you know I’ve never thought about writing science fiction? I do read it, though— *musing* Maybe my life is weirder than science fiction? What a thought!

  1. I’ve often wondered who dreams who as well. Do we walk among creatures and habitats that walk among us and our’s? Great, simply great!

    *waves hi to Hera!*

    1. I regularly talk to people/creatures that I have never met in real life, in my dreams. There’s a little part of me that hopes this means somewhere, somehow that person is dreaming of me, too. It’s a silly hope, to be sure, but a heartfelt one.

  2. I think it’s the contrast. Yes, that must be what it is.

    I must practice more contrast. It wasn’t that you’d dreamt of him, so much as he dreamt of you too!. Right? That’s the appeal, that’s what pulls me in? Each of your posts kind of run like that, little hooks, big twists, and then we’re all pretzeled up like one of those cast iron puzzles…

    I keep trying to figure it out…

    There’s certainly some magic in what you write.

    I expect you could sell me on the way to properly sharpen a pencil eraser if I was a professed pencil phobic pen pusher …

    I was wondering if it’s simply mathematical, (remembering your sonnets) and that’s when I realized that you’ve been writing for a long time, and the twists and turns are natural for you. Could you share a bit? Do you rework twists into your story or where they there to begin with? I bet they are there to begin with, that’s part of your talent. Maybe you just have to shine them up a bit?

    This was truly a delightful read (like so much of what you write!). If the best writers see too much, then you must have x-ray vision. 😉

    1. Erik—

      I’ve been thinking about your comment for a few days, and I have been glowing like a nightlight from your compliments. Thank you!

      There are a number of tricks that you can practice to help you strengthen structure, if you think that is something you want to develop. The contrasting technique you saw here is a form of bookending. Bookending is when you mirror the beginning of a story, develop it, and, sometimes, add a twist at the end.

      The writing world tends to call these elements, techniques. I think of them more as tricks, little bits and pieces of verbal stylistic choreography that you practice and practice until the technique feels seamless. I’m always working on tricks of one kind or another, and I’m always poring over books and poems looking for new ways of doing old tricks. There are structural tricks, language tricks, rhythmic tricks, character tricks— all sorts.

      Now, knowing how a literary trick is done doesn’t mean each time I try to employ one of these tricks or backhanded passes that it will come off properly. For me, writing (and cleaning up those tricks) really happens in the revision process. It comes down to me sitting there in front of the computer (or the paper), and reading the whole thing out loud from top to bottom over and over again, moving things around, shifting the rhythm, looking for places where unclear language clutters up the flow, cutting anything that doesn’t belong, and sometimes starting over from scratch (more than once).

      Most days, when I write, I am muscling my way through the process, working those paces and passes. I also take a lot of notes. Sometimes I have to abandon a project and come back to it with fresh eyes.

      I’ve been wanting to write a piece about writing and revision and process for some time now, but I’m going to have to think about how to do this properly. (Also, someone was recently Freshly Pressed doing something similar to what I originally considered? So, I’ve got to find another approach.)

      I’m so glad you liked this piece, Erik! You are such a cool, generous writer!

  3. I love that you told us both your dream and the dream of the T Rex. Sadly, I never dream of dinosaurs. At least that I remember. Maybe my dinosaur counterpoint fails to remember dreaming of me, too.

Hey there, Cupcake! How are ya?

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