Saturday, February 07, 2015

Day Dream Log - Dreams Come True Overkill

This is an entry from my day dream log...
It's the near future.  2016.  I'm sitting in a darkened auditorium in Kansas City.  I'm nervous.  I'm fidgeting.  I keep pulling at my collar to loosen my tie.  How long has it been since I've worn a tie?  They don't even make me wear a tie at work.  My "real job."  The same place I've been working at for...  Crap!  Twenty-two years.  That's a long time.  
But not as long as I've waited for something like this to happen.
I'm at the Hugo Award ceremonies at the World Science Fiction Convention.  This is my ninth straight WorldCon.  I've gone to every one since the one in Yokohama in 2007.  And I've gone to every Hugo Award ceremony during that time as well.  Most of the time I'm not even sure what is nominated, finding out when they give me the program.  Often I've not even read the stories that were nominated.  That has gotten better since they started sending out links to members to download the nominated stories in order to read them before voting.  
This is a special WorldCon, though.  And this is a very special Hugo Awards ceremony.  This year, I'm nominated.  And Nominated.  And Nominated, Nominated, NOMINATED!!
I am nominated in all four fiction categories AND for the writing part for the nominated team for best Graphic Novel.  
I can't stop fidgeting.  Winning a Hugo Award is a dream of mine.  Hell, just being nominated is a dream, and this is that five times over!  
I figure I've got to win at least one, right?  Just one win.  That's all I want.  I say a prayer to the literary gods.  To the Secret Masters of Science Fiction.  I cross my fingers.  I try to sit still.  One out of six.  That's all I want.  
What makes this moment even more special is that my parents are with me.  Kansas City is close enough to their home in Arkansas that I was able to convince them to join me for the ceremony.  Not since my High School graduation have they been at a ceremony as important to me as this.  
The lights go down.  The ceremony starts.  It is running late, as usual.  It's moving slowly, as usual.  But it's still way better than most because...  Well, I've already told you why, right?  
"Next...  The aware for Best Graphic Story."  
This is it.  My first shot.  The presenters start talking about the history of the graphic novel.  It's place in literary history.  Yeah, yeah...  We know all this.  Come on, come on...
"The nominees are...  Modern Shamans.  Story and script by Erick Melton.  Art by..."  
There is applause.  A lot of applause.  Oh, God...  I'd be so happy if...  If only...  Just one  out of six...  That's all I'm asking...
"Modern Shamans!"  
Eh?  What?  Are you Kidding--?
The artist I worked with has grabbed my arm.  She's trying to pull me from the chair.  Someone is clapping me on the back.  I get up.  I look toward the stage.  I waiting for the announcer to add, "--Is NOT this year's winner, instead..."  
I find myself on the stage.  A heavy piece of wood and metal is in my hands.  I recognize the rocket at the center.  It has to be part of every Hugo.  That's the rule.  
The artist gives her thank you speech.  I'm stunned by how heavy it is.  But I'll leave all my clothing and possessions behind to get it under the luggage weight limit and get it home.  
I step up to the podium.  I clear my throat.  I start to giggle.  People in the audience laugh.  I remember what I want to say.  I thank the quirk of fate that brought me and the artist together.  I think the publisher and editor we worked with.  Then...
"Most of all, I want to thank the two people who are most responsible for me being up here tonight, who happen to be in the audience.  My Mom, who, when I was a child, had a hard and fast rule that I had to be in bed by 9 PM on school nights...  Unless, there was a pirate movie on.  That's all you need to know about how she raised me.  And my Dad, who chuckled when I told him I wanted to be a writer saying, 'I never woulda thought someone in our family would do something like that.'  But he followed it up the next day, coming to my room while I was reading a comic book in bed..."
"'So, son,' he asked me, 'Did you do any writing yesterday?'"
"'No,' I said to him.'"
"'You gonna do any writing today?'"
"A frown crossed his face.  'You gonna do any writing tomorrow?' he asked, using a softer version of the tone he used when asking if I finished my chores."  
"'I dunno.  We'll see,' I replied."  
"His frown deepened.  'Boy, I don't know much 'bout this writing stuff.  But I always figured that them writers, they...  Well...  Wrote!'"  
I tell the audience, "That was the best advice you ever gave me, Dad.  Thank you.  Thank you, Mom.  I love you both.  This trophy is for you!"  
I find myself back at my chair.  I can't recall how I got there.  I'm watching as Mom and Dad examine the trophy.  
This would be a pretty good day dream if it ended right here.  But why limit yourself in what you dream, right?  
"The winner for Best Short Story is...  Robot Boss, by Erick Melton."  
"Best Novelette is...  Divine Implementation, by Erick Melton."  
"Best Novella is...  Particular Gods, by Erick Melton."  
It's feeling like I've slugged back half a bottle of wine in one gulp.  Coherent thoughts are rapidly becoming impossible.  I can hear stunned expression of "Oh, My God" between the applause.  
I'm also becoming afraid.  Nothing this good has ever happened to me before.  Just being nominated in all the fiction categories is a first (If anyone wants to fact-check this portion of my dream, feel free, but I think it's true).  Each trophy seems to weigh heavier that the last.  I imagine, when placed all together, the gravitational force of their combined weight will create a micro black hole that will suck me inside it.  How can I write another word after this?  My internal critic will be screaming at me every time I approach my computer.  
"Are you Fucking Kidding Me?!  It's SUCK in comparison."  
I was fidgeting before.  Now, I'm trembling.  They are reading off the list of nominees for Best Novel.  
"And...  Spell of 13 Years: Inception, by Erick Melton.  And the winner is..."  
The presenter opens the envelope.  He reads what is there.  He shakes his head. 
"What do you know, he did it," he says to himself.  He leans over the microphone.  "Spell of 13 Years: Inception..."  
I go deaf.  That's what I'm thinking to myself.  I've gone deaf.  I can only hear the buzzing in my brain.  It is the end of my writing career.  A death by drowning in the orgasmic flood of all one's dreams coming true all at once.  
People, friends, other writers, are pushing me to the stage.  I mount the steps.  I stand in the wings, hidden by the curtains.  I start to step out, then stop.  I wave the presenter over to me.  
"They said you called my name...?"  I whisper to him, but he has the mic in hand.  They can all hear my voice.  
"Yes.  I did."  His whispered voice carries over the mic too.
"No shit?"  I hear people laugh.
"No shit."  I hear more people laugh.  
There are epilogues to this dream.  Me, sitting at convention panels, behind the table this time instead of in the audience.  Me, trying to figure out how to get five heavy boxes home (I end up giving two to my folks, to save on shipping and make good my "this trophy is for you" promise.  Can you guess which two they get?).  But like most epilogues, I won't make you read them.  The important part is out there.  It is the acknowledgement that I AM good at something I want to be good at.  That's it.  
This is a day dream.  A fantasy.  I don't replay it very much.  Just when I do something like sit down to write a story.  Seven days a week.  Holidays included.
Dream big.


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