“As a friend of mine, herself a writer, says, “People who spend the most meaningful hours of their lives in the exclusive company of imaginary people are apt to be a little strange.” ― Lawrence Block, Telling Lies for Fun & Profit
This quote hit me hard, one of those moments when everything comes into sharp focus for a fraction of an instant, just long enough for me to think I understand before everything slips away again. Life streams days into an endless blur of yesterdays, todays and tomorrows. We hold onto the angers and pettiness of today even as the Universe freely gives us a clean slate for tomorrow. We stop speaking to friends and family over some slight forgotten long before we remember to let go of the anger – if we ever do. We’re mad at a spouse or a child for socks left on the floor. And no, I don’t like socks scattered around my house, but really – how important is it in the grander scheme? Why am I still mad the next day and probably the next? I’m mad because I feel the sock-droppers have no respect for me as they dance around dropping socks. But who’s problem is that? Theirs or mine?
Sometimes I find myself stewing over something that happened months ago, trying to make myself feel better – justified and right – even if I was in the wrong. The sayings, ‘Do you want to be right or do you want peace?’ or ‘Do you want to be right or do you want freedom,’ or even ‘Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy,’ resonate with me. Frankly, I’d rather be all three, but only if I find a way to let go to today’s troubles and trials. Only if I learn where yesterday really ends.
Face it, we all have troubles, we all get mad, we all feel slighted, hurt, sad. What if, at the end of each day, we took all those emotions and laid them aside, leaving them behind when we sleep, waking to a sparkling new morning? Freedom is breaking free from the negativity. There is no peace when we are carrying emotions over from one day to next, losing focus on what really matters. And happiness…. I’ve always heard that happiness is something you can’t find; it has to come from within. And how better to find happiness than to leave all the trash of our lives behind each and every day?
“Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.”
― Dr. Seuss
All greatness is madness at some level, isn’t it?
“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”
― Stephen King
“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a tellar but for want of an understanding ear.”
― Stephen King, Different Seasons
If you send in a response I will publish it on my blog. Also, I welcome comments and suggestions on my interpretation of the JSW prompt.
I couldn’t find a dragon on sale so I got this…
Okay, maybe not the best trade, but come on….Who doesn’t love squirrels? He has a dragonish body – long and slender – wings…. all right, flaps of skin between his front and hind legs. He can fly…. glide. He has teeth like a dragon. Claws like a dragon. A long tail, more dragonish once I trimmed the fur. Perky ears. Darn fast when the cat comes around. The rest of the fellows laughed, but I ignored them. I like my squirrel. I do. Really… So what if everyone else has a real dragon? Who cares? And I AM not sulking.
The next day, the tests began. Ten students with mini-dragons and me with…well, you know. Each student was required to guide their dragon through an increasingly complex series of obstacles, designed to test both the student’s ability to train their dragon, the dragon’s ability to perform, as well as the student’s prowess at selecting the perfect dragon companion. Nine beautiful mini-dragons; red, blue, black, yellow, green and a variety of others, tiny scales sparkling in the sunlight. And a puffy brown squirrel…. whatever….
Hoping to be forgotten, I slunk to the back, hiding behind my classmates. For once, being short was an asset. One by one, my classmates stepped up, dragons at their sides, ready to begin. I felt a sinking dread as each started until the first dragon refused to move at the sixth obstacle, the second hid his head under his wing at the fourth. The third ran away at the very beginning. And so on. At each refusal, my heart lightened even when I knew it shouldn’t.
Finally, only I was left, me and my squirrel. Stepping to the line, I paused, tracing each station with squinting eyes. How the frick was I going to pass the test with a squirrel when none of my classmates managed with dragons? Still, nothing tried, nothing lost…or whatever.
Striding forward confidently, I easily ran him through the twists and turns of the course, small body never hesitating; up and over and down and around; gliding from one perch to another; scampering up the tree where the first dragon refused to fly. Approaching the final obstacle, however, my feet slowed. No matter how good the squirrel had been so far, here he would fail. No way could he pass; squirrels just can’t breathe fire.
“Its okay,” I murmured to him. “You did better than all of them combined anyway.”
Hesitating a moment, rat-tail twitching, my squirrel looked up at me almost as if questioning my words. Leaping, he landed on the platform, crouching as the fake *monster* popped up from behind a tumble of rocks. My heart caught at his bravery. With a squeak of indignation, he reared up on his hind legs, drew in a tiny squirrely breath and roared out a cone of flame, burning the fricking monster to a crisp.
For a moment, complete silence.
That’s my Sparks.