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Dreamed 1997/3/27 by Chris Wayan

I'm a girl in my early teens wandering alone through the ruins of civilization. What happened, exactly? Well, it's strange: when I look at the past, I see not one path but whole sheaves of timelines, translucently superimposed like book-pages. This whole world of the ruins is sort of theoretical--a fiction. My life is fiction!

Paperback fiction. Pulp fiction. My life is an endless string of adventures--avoiding danger and seeking food, warmth, friends, love... Primal, simple needs. That's why civilized people long to see civilization fall. Barbarism is entertaining--at least in theory.

But not in practice, not for me. I have to face it--I don't share my readers' appetites. I don't like having Xena adventures. I hated civilization too, but not for the reason you all did--civilization was already barbaric and dangerous for me. You see, I have environmental illness--a long list of food allergies, chemical sensitivities. Everyday life was so risky, I was never bored! Exhausted from chronic vigilance, yes... just like life today, in the ruins. For me, danger is nothing new.

And no fun.

Watercolor of a scruffy man in foreground watching a skinny girl who rummages in a trashcan. Opening panel of a comic titled Exit/In, by William N. McPheeters, in Heavy Metal, 1979.
Due to my history, my interests are in direct conflict with you, the majority. You civilized people are bored and want thrills--but peace and safety get me hot.

You'd hate my wussy paradise--just as I hate yours.


I woke up thinking "so that's why I hate most fiction out there! It fails to address my concerns, not because the writers aren't competent, but because they're busy meeting the needs of readers basically unlike me: a safe but bored majority."

So the dream warns my writing's a minority taste. Hell, not just writing; my art and music too. Better accept that I can only reach a small audience--not exactly an elite. But different.

Older civilizations call us sensitive. In America, though, the word is wuss. Wussy wimp. Which, by the way, started out as slang euphemisms of more obvious terms which you still hear in sports when the cameras aren't on: "You pussy! You woman!"

The ultimate insults. For boys.

Watercolor of a skinny girl in thin clothes who rummages in a trashcan, in the wind. Detail from a comic titled Exit/In, by William N. McPheeters, in Heavy Metal, 1979.

The illustration is by William N. McPheeters--it's the opening panel of a moody wordless painted comic titled "Exit/In", done way back in 1979. I saw it in Heavy Metal and never forgot it. I think it inspired the dream.

The theme is clearly a reaction to the book "The Highly Sensitive Person" by Elaine Aron; she argues that sensitivity and even fragility aren't pathological; such people are useful to a group, and valued in most cultures.

Just not in America.

LISTS AND LINKS: I'm Just Not Myself Today - cross-gender dreams - time travel - parallel worlds - paradise - butch and femme - environmental illness - dream advice - career advice - that same night on Mars: Poles Now, Tropics Later - A second dream inspired by Elaine Aron: The Running

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