Saturday, July 28, 2012

Four Oldest Parks in MLB

Earlier this year I discovered to my amazement that Dodgers Stadium and Angeles Stadium were the third and fourth oldest parks in Major League Baseball respectively. This is because of all the old legacy parks, like the old Yankees Stadium and Comiskey being torn down over the years.

I’ve seen games in Dodgers Stadium and Angels Stadium. I’ve stood in Fenway, but it was after the Red Sox season was over. If I see games in Wrigley and Fenway, I will be able to say I’ve watched baseball games in the four oldest parks in MLB.

And I have a ticket to see the Cubs play the Giants at Wrigley when I go to WorldCon in Chicago in August.

Story Unto Itself

The story of this last week is the short story.  
I've been working on them.  I've been submitting them.  I've been reading them.  A lot of them. 
I remember hearing once, years ago from some source I've forgotten, that writing a poem is like a flirtation.  Writing a short story is like having an affair.  Writing a novel is like getting married.  
I guess that fits with me.  I set aside my novel to have an affair with the short story I wanted to finish.  My novel, being the understanding sort, is patiently waiting for me to return.  The affair will be over soon, Spell of 13 Years (the name of my novel).  I don't have the same commitment to Hacking Gay Penguins (the short story's working title) that I do with you.  It's a writer thing.  I'm sure you'll understand and forgive me. 
I have a feeling she's going to be a bitch to rewrite when I get back to her.  
Anyway, I had a whirlwind time during my little affair.  I looked into the nature of consciousness and its origins, I wrote a short piece about coming to life from disparate parts.  I wrote a fairy tale outline about how the main character came to face a group of male penguins which had suddenly formed a group intelligence via computer intervention.  
All fun stuff.  
But more than writing this short story, this week I've been submitting them, too.  That is a big deal for me.  I am at my desk, every morning, by 5 AM at the latest during the week, working on one story after another.  I'm good at that.  I have mastered that part of the writing discipline.  
What I've gotten better at, also, is the rewrite process.  I discovered my process, an integration of several tricks and techniques I'd picked up over the years, while finishing "Shadow Angel," my story that was published in Asimov's Science Fiction in September, 2011.  It still needs tweaking, but it works because it makes the rewriting process more like writing.  I write out my changes rather than going over line by line, editing and rewriting.  It feels more creative.  
But what I have not been good at is the submitting part.  Robert Heinlein's rules of success at writing, as I remember them, are 1) Write; 2) Keep writing until you're finished; 3) Submit what you've finished; 4) Keep submitting what you've finished until its published; 5) Don't rewrite what you've finished EXCEPT by editorial order.  
My problem is that I often stop submitting after the first rejection.  In my first year of college, after attending a four year Catholic High School for boys, during which time I did not have one date, I asked a girl I met in my communication class out on a day on the very last day of the semester.  
She kicked her head back and laughed in my face.  
Getting a rejection letter for one of my stories feels something like that.  Actually, a lot like that.  I imagine the editor that wrote the letter as a cute, slender girl with blonde curly hair, kicking her head back and laughing as she stuffs her rejection letter in my prepaid stamped return envelope.  Yeah...  I have to pay to get this reaction.  
This week, though, I think I might have found the means to get over this.  Or at least do what I need to do despite feeling this way.  
43 Things is a social website that's been around since 2005.  I created my account in 2006.  The way the site works is, after creating your account, you list the forty-three things you most want to do with your life.  Buy a home.  Finish a novel.  Lose weight.  Whatever.  It then links you with other people with similar goals.  You cheer other people on.  They cheer you.  You write entries on your progress.  
I used it for a little bit but eventually stopped.  The only reason I remembered having the account was that the website would send me reminders about some of the goals I had on my list.  Emails that would read, "How is Learning to Read and Write Japanese Fluently going?"  
Last week, for no reason I can remember, I clicked on the link in the email to check out my account.  I looked over my list (click here to see it).  I poked around the account.  I changed some items that I had accomplished to "completed."  
It was while writing the entry to one of these completed items that I noticed something different from the last time I had visited the website.  I could now automatically post any entry I wrote to my blog.  
Huh?  Really?  I could feel myself getting intrigued.  I look for times and opportunities to write.  I've wanted to update my blog more consistently.  And there is no writer on the planet that doesn't want to talk, or write, about his writing.  
Under "Publish More Short Stories" I wrote an entry about my sale to Asimov.  As promised, it was there on my blog (just scroll down).  Having done that, I thought, "I need more entries."  So I checked my submission log and found a story that I'd been telling myself to submit again for some time now.  It took me a couple of days of research, but I found a good market to send it to.  Another entry, another blog posting.  I checked my submission log again and discovered one finished story hadn't been sent to one of my main listings.  Cool.  I could send it out and write another entry on 43 Things and create another blog listing.  
It sounds backwards, don't you think?  I am aspiring to be a professional writer, one that supports himself with the money earned from his published work, and what spurs me to do the necessary step of submitting my work is finding a forum to write about submitting my work.  
I guess it comes down to, "whatever works."  You can see my goal-specific entries as you scrolled down.  They are printed in the smaller white lettering.  
I've also been reading short stories.  
I've been reading the short stories and novel chapters of my colleagues in my Anticipation Workshop, the online writing group I'm a member of.  It's called "Anticipation" because it was formed at the 2009 WorldCon in Montreal by the same name.  After taking on a new position at work, my free time took a nose dive.  I kept writing, but my time for reading the work of my fellow writers seemed to evaporate.  
My time is still strapped, but I came to the decision, after seeing my folder filled with seven or eight stories I hadn't read, that I needed to do what I had promised to do, and make the time if it couldn't be found.  I'm still behind, but I'm catching up.  
And I've read all the short stories nominated for a Hugo award this year!  That's a big deal.  It's like seeing all the movies nominated in a particular category and being able to say, definitively, which one you think deserves the Oscar.  Here is my take on the Short Story field: 
Movement by Nancy Fulda
A young girl with a condition called "temporal autism" is taken by her parents to a specialist for a cure for her condition, causing her to contemplate whether she wants the cure or not.
As much of a prose-poem than a story.  Beautiful imagery.  Well written.  Very lyrical.
The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu
A story about bee hive that has been subjugated by a wasps and how revolution evolves amongst the bees.  
Written like a Chinese fable.  Terrific world creation.  And the ending is alluring.  It reaches into a dark future like a spark of light.  Very memorable.
The Homecoming by Mike Resnick
A father, taking care of his wife with Alzheimer's, confronts his estranged son who left the family to be biologically altered to live on another planet.  
Mike Resnick is one of my favorite authors, especially his short stories.  This was one of two stories that took me back to a moment in my own life, when I met my grandmother for the first time in years after her Alzheimer's had taken hold.  Very real and moving.
The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu
A Chinese-American boy rejects his immigrant mother, who can barely speak English, despite the magical power she possesses of making origami animals that come to life.  As a grown man he discovers a message written by his mother on one of the animals after she dies.  
This is the other story that reminded me of a moment in my own life, the time when I was five or six years old and my mom was speaking Spanish to me as a child and I kept responding to her in English.  
It was a very vivid story, where childhood imagination seemed to become real.  I could see the creatures the mother created, how they looked, moved and sounded.  I could also feel the boy discovering his differences from others.  
The Shadow War of the Night Dragons by John Scalzi
A tale of the city of Skalandarharia, where a fable about the "Night Dragons," used to keep the populace in line, turns out to be all too true.  
John Scalzi is another favorite writer of mine.  Old Man's War and its sequels, The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony are amongst my favorites in recent years (I haven't read the fourth book, Zoe's Tale, yet, but I have a copy).
The best words to describe this story are "Clever" and "Amusing."  It is very much a tongue-in-cheek story that is inspired as much by Douglas Adams or Monty Python as it is any sword and sorcery epic written by Howard, Lieber or more recently, Martin.  A very fun read.  
My vote for the Best Short Story of 2011 pretty much comes down to a process of elimination.  While reading Scalzi's Shadow War and Fulda's Movement I was very aware of the skill of the author, Scalzi for his cleverness and Fulda for her poetry.  The Cartographer Wasps by Yu was a very interesting concept that was well pulled off.  
The Homecoming by Resnick and The Paper Menagerie by Liu, however, struck emotional cords in me.  It certainly helps that both stories touched on subjects that I've experienced in my life, such as dealing with a grandmother stifled by Alzheimer's and feeling the gap between oneself and a parent from a different culture.  Since art is subjective, I don't think this is an unfair advantage for the stories to have.  The authors certainly didn't write them with me in mind.  
As I write this, I am leaning toward Resnick's The Homecoming.  When I started writing this blog entry though, I was thinking Liu's The Paper Menagerie was going to be my choice.  I'll probably not decide until I go on line before the weekend is done and submit my ballot.  
But that would be a different story.  

Friday, July 27, 2012

If you don't buy a ticket, you can't win.

Sent out another story today, to Analog Science Fiction.

It’s amazing to me how I still hesitate before sending a story out. I feel, each time, that I’m a high school kid about to ask someone out, bracing myself for the “inevitable” rejection.

If I want to publish my stuff, I just have to go through the process. That’s all there is to it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Get in the Right Way

It takes three short story sales to qualifying markets or one novel publication to become a full member of SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America). Right now I have two qualifying Short Story Sales (“Shadow Angel” to Asimov’s and “Random Access” to the now defunct, but still qualifying, Aboriginal Science Fiction).

It only takes one short story sale to join as an Associate member, but I want to get that third qualifying sale first.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Story Submitted

I spent most of my writing session this morning reformatting my story, Gamesmanship, and submitting it to Escape Pod, an online, audio-pod magazine. They had specific formating requirements (sending via email in plain text, single spaced, with blank lines between each paragraph).

I used to try to make Saturday or Sunday my “story submission” day, but I’ve not been very successful doing that. I think I’m just going to include it in my daily writing session whenever I have something ready to send out from now on. Make it part of the process and hopefully get more sent out and keep them sent out.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Looking for a Market

As part of my goal of publishing more of my short fiction, I spent part of this morning researching markets for a story that I’ve finished and submitted to a few places already.

It’s a little discouraging because 1) A number of markets on the list I’m working off of (The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Qualifying venue list) are closed to submissions and those that are open want word counts smaller than the story I’m trying to submit. In general I write a bit on the big side when it comes to short fiction.

I did find one market that I think I can send the story to. I need to reformat it for their e-submission policy. I’ll do that tomorrow.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Help me Interpret My Reality - Comic-Con 2012

I went to Comic-Con last week, like I do every year.  The week after I got back everyone  asked me, "Was it fun?"  
I've hesitated a bit before answering that question.  "Yeah...  I had fun."  But that's not the same as whether the convention itself was fun.  
Here's what I mean:  
Wednesday, July 11th
"Ya'll better be THINKING!"  
I recover from nearly stumbling over and then jump back.  I'm on 5th Street in San Diego.  I've checked into my hotel room and now heading toward the San Diego Convention Center to pick-up my badge.  Preview Night is tonight.  The convention starts tomorrow.  
I'm face to face with a well dressed black woman.  Her blouse shines like fresh blood.  Her jacket and slacks are gray.  Her hair is this big curly coif, a burnt ginger color.  She is wagging her finger at me in time with her admonishment.  "Ya'll better be THINKING!"  
I nod at her.  She nods back.  She walks past me, heading north.  I watch her pass me.  Once she's gone, I make sure I clear the broken pavement I tripped over and continue on my way.  
By the time I get to the convention center I decide that the woman must have thought that I was a transient.  I'm dressed for travel, which for me means clothes I don't mind getting dirty or messy.  Jeans with rips across the knees and backside.  My camouflage hat with the flap in the back to protect my neck from the sun.  A faded tee-shirt with a hole at the shoulder.  When she saw me stumbled on the crack in the pavement she probably thought I was drunk or something.
She wants me to think about my life, is all.  Get off the street and clean myself.  That must be it.  
The moment has altered my mood, though.  My mind jumps back to the guy I saw on the MTA Gold Line train to Union Station.  Long, drooping mustache and beard, like Fu Manchu but the color of ash.  Wrap-around sunglasses.  A baseball cap with the San Francisco Giants logo on it.  
The shades made him look like he was spying on everyone and everything around him.  As a Dodger fan, the Giants cap told me he was up to no good.  
I noticed his bike.  His elbow was propped up on the frame.  I had dreamt about riding a bike to the convention.  I imagined him getting up and offering me the bike, saying something cryptic like, "You'll be needing this," as he offered it to me and left.  I braced myself for the offer and how he'd react when I turned him down.  
He didn't.  He got off at Union Station as I did, but I lost sight of him soon after that.  No bikes to San Diego.  It was, after all, only a dream.  
After going to the Random House booth and picking up a free copy of a friend's book, I walked back to my  hotel room to rest up for tomorrow.
Thursday, July 12th
This was the first year I went to the convention alone.  No one traveling with me.  Not sharing a room with anyone.
But it doesn't feel like I'm alone.  I'm surrounded by a crowd of invisible people.  
Text messages from work.  Who should do this?  Who should do that?  I text back.  I call back.  I give instructions.  I feel like I'm in the office.
Text messages from a friend.  He has what he believes is a job opportunity for me.  I don't want to think about jobs or work or anything.  It's a great opportunity, I'm told.  Let it wait until I get back home.  
Tweets from another friend, who is here at the convention.  It's her book I got, which came out this year.  She'll be sitting on a panel called Hungry for Dystopia.  Her name is Lissa Price and the book is called Starters.  When will it be?  Which room?  
I walking down the street and through the crowd all by myself, but there is a chorus of silent voices in my head as I read and respond, read and respond.  
I attend my friend's panel.  I hear where she got her idea for her novel.  I listen to the other panelist talk about the ideas for their books, all about how bad things will be once their apocalypse arrives.  I feel envy.  I want to sit on a panel, too.  
I chat with my friend and her husband.  They hurry off to an autograph signing.  There's another panel at another convention she has to be at in New York the next morning.  
After we part ways, I noticed it has stopped.  The incoming communication has stopped.  The only sound is the indistinguishable babble of the crowd milling through the Sails Pavilion around me.  
I am all by myself.  For once.  For real.  Like the last survivor in one of the books I just heard about.
Time for dinner.
Friday, July 13th
I'm in the Professional Lounge.  I've just sat through a couple of panels on writing by an author named Maxwell Alexander Drake.  I am getting frustrated.  I am growing worried.  
I came here to respond to some messages I've been getting this morning and to do some writing before attending some other panels in the afternoon.  I have my MacBook open.  I'm logged into the free wifi network.  I am writing an email.  
I write...  
my computer...  
After thirty minutes composing an email of five sentences, I take more time to find out there's an Apple Store in Fashion Valley.  It's a half hour trolley ride away, and there is a trolley station by the shopping center.  I pack my Macbook and head over. 
The diagnostic test they run is not encouraging.  The hard drive won't reformat.  The computer sees it, then it doesn't.  I have to leave it.  I tell them that something similar happened last year when something, a cable or connection or what-not, broke.  It should be in my account, I tell them.  They tell me they'll check.  
I get a call on the ride back to the convention center.  The hard drive has failed.  It needs replacing.  I ask about the previous repair.  They tell me the computer works when hooked up to a new hard drive, but doesn't when hooked up to mine.  They give me the estimate.  I agree.  I'm then told they can't install my word processor, because I installed it from a disk and they don't have my serial number for a download.  Even after its repaired, I won't be able to work.  
I now remember today's date.  Hmm.
I notice the lightness of my backpack when I hoist it to my shoulder.  I can definitely tell I'm missing something.  
Saturday, July 14th
I skip the writing panels I wanted to attend Saturday morning, on writing fight scenes, and head straight to the Apple Store.  I get there early.  I sit and wait.
Once it opens, I head straight toward the Genius Bar and give them my name.  My laptop comes out.  They've cleaned it.  They bring out the bill.  I swipe my credit card and then flip it open to turn it on.  The clerk pushes the pad toward me for me to approve the charge.  I don't sign it.  
My Macbook isn't starting.  An changing gray screen has appeared.  I turn it around to show the clerk.  He makes a face and excuses himself.  He's going to get someone in charge.  
By the time he comes back with the manager, it still hasn't started up.  They ask if I want to credit the purchase or use it for when it's actually fixed.  I tell them of course I want a credit.  They finally get it processed.  I grab my very light bag and head back. 
After I get back to the convention center, my phone chimes.  I have voice mail.  I never heard it ring.  It's from the Apple Store.  Someone is telling me it was both the hard drive AND a bracket that failed.  The bracket has been replaced.  It works fine now.  
Didn't I tell them there was something wrong with a connection or cable or...  Bracket or something like that before?  I feel my teeth gritting together.  Did they check what I asked them to?  I decide I'm not heading back right away.  I'm here for the convention.  I'm here to have fun, damn it.  I'll get the Macbook tonight.  Or tomorrow, before I leave for home.  No.  Tonight.  Just in case.  
I attend two panels, a spotlight on J. Michael Straczynski and another on John Scalzi.  Straczynski brought zombies doing Irish line dancing.  Scalzi talked about his new book, Redshirts.  Fun was had, I tell myself.  I head back to the Apple Store.  
They're getting ready to close when I arrive.  A young female clerk brings out my Macbook.  I ask to speak to the person that repaired it.  She gives me a smile that beams with friendliness and tells me she'll be right back.  After a few minutes, she returns and tells me the technician is gone for the day.  She also tells me that there is no charge for replacing the bracket.  
"Why wouldn't they charge me for that?"  If she thinks I sound suspicious, there is no sign of it on her face.  She looks through the paperwork.  She checks the notes in the system.  She shrugs and turns her smile up to 11.  
"Just good customer service, I guess."  I glare back at her, but her smile doesn't diminish an iota.  I pay the bill, stuff my zombie of a Macbook into my bag and head back to downtown San Diego.
Sunday, July 15th
I check out of my hotel and wait for the shuttle bus.  The shuttle buses run 24 hours a day this year, so they are not nearly as crowded as they have been before.  The driver helps me put my suitcase in the storage bay and we head off to the center. 
I go to another set of writing panels hosted by Maxwell Alexander Drake.  His panels have been good.  I recommend them.  He has the notes for them, the MAD writing system, on his website, HERE.  Today's panels are about getting one's manuscript published and about how to market it once you do. 
I'm sitting, listening, taking notes.  I bought a couple of his books the day before, solely based on the panels he's given.  I start getting ideas as I'm listening.  About attending writing conferences, which he believes is the best place to pitch your novel.  About how to plot my stories.  About a fantasy race I will call "dwarves" for my own fantasy novel, which will be very unlike Tolkien's dwarves.  
I feel all the stuff I've enjoyed in between the weirdness come back to me in one big lump.  I feel like I usually feel at the end of a good convention.
I check out the dealers' floor again.  I wander through the crowd.  I stop one last time at the Professionals' Lounge and the Con-Suite.  I get my suitcase out of Bag-Check and head to the station and board my train.   
A group of people enter my car.  They are the Christians that posted themselves at the corners of the convention center holding signs that urged all the sinful nerds to repent while reading bible passages through bullhorns.  By the end of the convention, some of the convention goers were mocking them with signs of their own, that said things like, "Superman died so you could attend Comic-Con!"  They all take their seats around me.  Most of them fall asleep on the ride back to Los Angeles.  
I wonder if they had as much fun at the convention as I did.  

One Down, Three to Go

On my first visit to Japan in 2007 I went during the summer to attend WorldCon in Yokohama. It was the most fun and interesting vacation I’ve had. I decided that I wanted to return to Japan and that I wanted to visit the country at least once during each of the seasons. Having already been there during the summer, I have Spring, Fall and Winter to go.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Comic-Con Delay

To everyone that visited my blog this week to read my latest entry, I just wanted to let you know that a combination of being in San Diego for Comic-Con and hard drive problems with my computer forced a delay.

I will post a new entry next week.


Saturday, July 07, 2012

Help me Interpret my Dream

I am not normally someone who tries to interpret their dreams.  My thoughts on doing so can be summed by what an acquaintance of mine said years ago: 
"When you're asleep, you're unconscious, right?  Your brain is basically stupid.  It has all these really strange and stupid thoughts.  When you wake up and remember what you were thinking, you're like, 'Geez...  What the hell was that?  I'm not THAT stupid so...  It must MEAN something!'  We'd rather think that than think we were just being stupid."  
Recently though, waking up the morning of the 4th of July, I remembered a particularly strange dream that struck me in a particularly weird way.  I've been thinking about it quite a bit.  I'm going to put it out here and see if there are any closet dream interpreters who follow my blog that can give me some insight on it.  
Here it is...
In the dream I'm going to Comic-Con.  For anyone reading this who doesn't know what Comic-Con is, a brief explanation: It is the largest collection of nerds and geeks in the United States.  It started out as a comic book convention in the bygone days.  It slowly evolved into a convention about alternative and speculative fiction of all sorts and in various formats.  Today it is calls itself the convention of "popular arts," including video games, all sorts of TV shows and movies and yes, even today, comic books.  About 120,000 people descend on San Diego in July to get their nerd on.  For every year for the past eighteen or so years, I've been one of them.  This year it starts with Preview Night on Wednesday, July 11th.  
Anyway...  In my dream I'm on my way to Comic-Con.  I'm riding my bike to get to the train station in order to get to the convention center.  
This is the first bit of weirdness: I don't own a bike.  I've been thinking of buying one to pedal around Pasadena for short trips where it would be a waste of gas to drive my car, but I haven't done so yet.  Even if I had a bike, I wouldn't be riding it all the way to San Diego.  The two or three hour trip would turn into two or three days.  
Also, the geography is wrong.  The road I'm pedaling on is like some country road you'd find where my parents live in Arkansas.  Single lane going in each direction.  No sidewalk.  A gravel covered shoulder that curves into a ditch.  Trees instead of houses line either side.  There isn't a street like this that exists between the Los Angeles metroplex and San Diego, I don't think.  
But I'm using it to get to the train station.  But not all the way to the train station.  In my dream, I "have to" park my bike at this big shopping mall.  It's like a Walmart on steroids.  A huge, boxy building carved from what look likes sandstone.  I lock my bike up at the shopping mall, put on my backpack and grab my luggage and walk to its corner.  There I turn right and take a narrow footbridge over a concrete lined gully or wash.  On the other side I find the San Diego train station (which looks identical to the Fillmore Gold Line Metro station in Pasadena in this dream).  There I stand under the neon lights, so early in the morning that it's still dark, waiting for the train to the convention center.
It's here my dream skips ahead...
I'm heading back to the train station.  The convention is over.  I'm wearing my backpack.  I'm dragging my luggage along.  I feel this need to hurry.  I've got to get home, got to get home, I really gotta get home...!  I can't make myself move fast enough.
But people are getting in my way.  I'm walking along these narrow streets, through these strange neighborhoods.  They're like neighbors you might find in Koreatown or East L.A. near my home, where one particular ethnic group dominates and the billboards are written in languages other than English.  I don't recognize the language they're written in.  And people are stopping me.  They're pointing at the shirt I'm wearing, which I wasn't wearing in the first part of the dream.  It's a bright, golden yellow color.  It has a logo on it of some fanciful character.  In my dream I recognize it immediately, but after I woke up I couldn't remember what it looked like.  Some anthropomorphic animal, I think.  
"Hey, hey...  You work for them?"  These are the types of questions they ask me.  "Did you get the secret numbers?"  "Did you make that?"  I push my way through them, smiling and nodding.  You get tee-shirts at conventions all the time, I'm thinking.  Wearing one doesn't mean anything.  But I don't want to admit that I'm not part of this show/comic/book that is so big and special that even "normal" people know about it.  I smile and nod and keep pushing my way along.  
Because I've got to get home.  I really, really got to get home.  I've got to get home now!
The streets are getting narrower.  More like alleys now.  And they are getting more crowded.  People are outside, laughing and telling stories.  I can smell the bitter, sweet smoke from a barbeque.  Music is playing.  Kids are screaming and yelling and chasing each other around trash cans and fire hydrants and the other people standing around.  It sounds like there's a festival going on all over the neighborhood.  
Except around me.  It's quiet around me.  I'm not being stopped with questions any more.  Now the people quiet down when they see me coming.  They watch me as I walk past.  I nod my head and smile at them.  I hurry past as fast as I can.  The sounds of their celebration picks up as I walk past.  
One image sticks hard in my memory.  As I'm walking, there is a young woman in a pink ballerina's outfit to my right.  She on the ground.  She's doing a full splits.  She is bent so far forward that her head is resting on her knee.  As I walk past, I hear her say to those sitting around her...
"My sister keeps telling me I don't have enough discipline..."  
I'm getting frantic now.  It's getting dark.  And I know now that I'm lost.  I have to get to my bike so I can get to the station to make my train. 
Weirdness note: That's what I remember thinking, even though in the first part of the dream I left my bike at the shopping mall and walked to the station.  
I'm trying to run, but my backpack is weighing me down.  I don't have my luggage any more.  I must have tossed it aside.  My backpack is heavy, though.  It's pushing me to the ground.  
And all the streets I'm on lead to dead-ends.  Blind alleys with huge dumpsters in them.  Tall brick walls, miles high, blocking my way.  Once, my way is blocked by a chain-link fence.  Through it I can see the concrete wash and the looming shopping mall made from sandstone on the other side.  I think about climbing the fence and wading across the concrete gully, but my backpack is too heavy.  I go back to find another way.  
I'm running hard now.  In my dream, using a bit of dream logic, I try to take off my backpack as I run.  That way, when I get to my bike, I can just jump on and start riding.  (This is dream logic, remember).  I get it off of one arm, but then I stumble.  I fall forward.  My hands scrape across the asphalt.  My backpack goes flying forward.  It hits the ground and explodes open.  My laptop and pens, my notebooks and power cables, a sheaf of a papers and a fountain of confetti go flying in all directions.  
I'm on my knees trying to pack everything back in.  There is a mountain of stuff.  It's taller than I am standing up.  But it all has to get back into the backpack. 
Especially this sheaf of papers.  They are on the bottom, sticking out from underneath the pile of confetti.  They are face down, so I can't see what's written on them.  They are important, though.  These papers are the reason I have to get home now, why I have to get to the train now.  
In the distance, I can hear the howl of the approaching train's horn.  
I'm scooping the confetti back into my backpack.  I have to get it back in my backpack.  If I don't, the neighborhood people with think I'm "disrespecting" their neighborhood.  But there is so much and the train is getting closer and I've not even found my bike yet, and those papers, I have to get those papers home, have to, have to, HAVE TO...
Someone from the neighborhood approaches.  A tall, slender young man with slicked back hair that shines in the street lamps, the same way his black shoes shine and his black pants shine and his black coat shines over his super-duper shiny white shirt with no collar.  He comes to stand over me.  I keep grabbing handfuls of confetti and shoving it into my bag.  I see the shiny toes of his shiny shoes a fingers width from the edge of the important papers.  
He lifts his foot.  I flinch, thinking he's going to kick me.  He swings it, but kicks at the pile of confetti.  He kicks it under a pile of leaves and its gone in an instant.  Only the important papers are left.  
I lift my head to thank him, but he's walking away.  In my mind, I can hear him tell people that it was all an accident, even though it wasn't.  I grab the important papers and try to shove them into my backpack, which is filled with the confetti I put in it before.  
And then this thought hits me that makes everything stop.  Where did all this confetti come from?  With this question, I realize I don't remember anything that's happened to me for the past five days.  The convention.  Where the confetti came from.  How I got the golden yellow tee-shirt.  The reason the papers are so important.  None of it.  The shift in my dream, from waiting on the train station to trying get back home, is literal.  I know nothing in between.  
I feel a sort of terror growing inside me.  It's starting to scream in my gut the way the train's whistle is screaming in the distance, getting closer and closer.  What have I been doing?  Who did I meet?  What have I done these last five days?  How...?
My notebook!  Yeah!  The small notebook I keep.  My current one is blue.  I write down all my writing ideas.  I write down descriptions of the panels I go to, and the people I meet.  The names of books I want to read, or publishers I want to submit stories to.  
I'm now shoveling the confetti out of my backpack as fast as I shoved it in.  The train is getting louder and closer.  I have to find my notebook to remember what I did.  Have to, have to, have to find my notebook.  Then...
I wake up.  
That was it.  There were bits and pieces that I left out, but that's all the important stuff.  It was so vivid to me that my first thoughts when I sat up in bed was where my notebook was and whether I'd been fired from missing work all that time.  
Does it mean anything?  Hmm...  This might be one of those times it would be better to think, "My brain was just being stupid."