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MY GLASS BODY

Dreamed 1993/9/16 by Chris Wayan

THAT DAY

Choreography experiments in modern dance class. We form groups and must invent a dance to fit a taped song. Our group takes the beat to be half the speed the others do, and develops only half as much material. Embarrassing! Oh well, it's still a fun exercise. Not just for my body. For my shyness. Touching and playing with women. An even harder challenge: making mistakes in public.

At home, I read SF Eye, an intellectual science fiction zine. An article says "Good science fiction's difficult now, for there's no consensus on reality anymore--no univeral moral frame, political beliefs, or even cosmology for a writer to play off of." Like jazz, or political satire. Hard to comment on chaos.

When anything goes, nothing works.

THAT NIGHT

I'm on an endless quest in a deep wood. It's parklike, with shady grass under scattered, immense trees. Hundreds of miles of forest, whole kingdoms under the trees...

Here live a people who are famed in the outside world for being made of crystal or spun glass! Gem-people... But that's not the whole truth. Here, within their own country, they are living flesh, real people, full of strong magic. I leapt across the border creek, and instantly their glassy flesh opaqued to tan... Now that's relativity.

Later on my quest, I must hang out in City Hall, which is a spectacular crystal palace... I have to wait hours inside, near the city records office. I'm uneasy, expect to be harrassed by cops or politicians, but no one cares. Don't FEEL I have a right to be here, though I know I do. I don't go after the records I want though. Nor run away. Just hover.

But that patience pays off! When I return to my mortal world, I find I have a treasure: peace of mind! Much calmer.

Days pass, as I consolidate this change inside. Being calm after a lifetime of nervousness takes some adjustment!. Feels good but wrong. But it isn't. I'll learn. Patience.

And then a magician from the Crystal Wood shows up! Stalking me into the everyday world. And not with friendly intent. He says "Your spells covered your escape very well; it took me long to track you. A clever trick, changing your gem-body to that cheap glass body you're wearing. A perfect disguise. But I finally figured it out. You can't escape us."

I wasn't hiding from anyone. I didn't do any spells. My body's not glass, but flesh. I look like glass to him?

I'm scared of this guy, but I hide that. He's got his weak points too. Even without knowing any magic, maybe I can protect myself. Now let's see. He didn't talk with me, just to me. He's projecting cunning onto me. Maybe he's concerned about being seen as clever. Competitive? People like that are scared of making mistakes...

"You have made several mistakes." I say mildly. He tenses, waits for my attack... Ah. In his philosophy, one attacks people who make mistakes! So I'm rattling him just by standing here peacefully.

What AM I gonna do with this guy? And I need to find out about this gem-body... did I have a different body in the Wood without noticing? Who does he think I am? Do I have the powers he thinks? Maybe I use them naturally and unconsciously as a shaman should, rather than channeling them with the spells of a mage.

Or maybe I have no powers at all. But then how did I get there, into that impossible world?

There and back again.

I'm not sure what to do. He's so fearful inside--and such people lash out.

Try to stay calm... Oh. That's what I'm supposed to learn, isn't it?

NEXT MORNING



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