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10.24.01 10:37 p.m.

Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.


 -Napoleon Hill  




This Entry Features: Music by The Cranberries, a passage from Anne Rice, video game imagery, phantasmagorical romantic advice, sporty specters

Never Quite As it Seems
While some say that dreams mean absolutely nothing, it is not unprecedented for me to confess them in the journal because I think they are revealing. Don't worry though, I'll be brief.
Last night (or if one wishes to be very anal, this morning), I had a dream wherein it was very like the video game in which Emily and I currently have interest. Consider it an easy way for my brain to absorb the message and not think that I am an enormous and irredeemably misanthrope for dreaming in a video game milieu. I promise I will stand directly in the rays of the Burning Yellow Face in Sky for no less than three minutes to prove I am safe.
Back to the point, the dream consisted of the dream character checking the player info screen (seeing if one is healthy, not suffering from a poisoning, good on magic point, etc... you know, maybe I am a dork) and seeing six spaces to the right, with four filled up. Since dreams provide the dreamer with retroactive information to justify the reality of the dream in order to not startle them awake with the realization that they can suddenly fly, I knew this to mean that the dream self had met four of his potential soul mates already and had not yet gone on the quests where he will meet the other two. Shhh! Accept the multiple soul mates. It's a dream. You are lucky I did not go with my original interpretation that he has yet to sleep with two of the potential soul mates. So, the character gets out of that screen and descends a staircase. The door he came in locked shut. A voice from about stated something like, "Golden cups do not matter. Treasures do not matter. Love. Is. All. That. Matters. Pick the ONE you want to be with." In the room were probably a hundred people. When the voice ended its pronouncement, all put six turned gray and ceased to move. The character was to pick from these six. I tried to look at an unfamiliar one and woke up.
Any Freudians among you?

Interview with the Xen-pyre
Today I enjoyed my first interview of this job-hunting phase. I met with the director of the Howland Public Library.
I arrived a few minutes early, as was my wont. I feel it makes me look more impressive and punctual (which I tend to be when offered money for my prospective services. In a non-whoring way) and it grants me some pre-interview cooling downtime. I know one is supposed to cool down after the actual event, but you must consider that I had run through this interview at least fifty time in my mind on the drive from New Paltz. The actual interview is thus a mere formality to me after the rigorous screening of my own critical psyche.
The woman came out moments after I arrived. She was tiny and adorable, with an irreverent librarian air to her. I liked her immensely, and her oriental style shirt added to it. This was not the interviewer my psyche had set me up with. No starched business suit or severe bun. I could deal with this woman.
Still, I was a bit nervous. I informed her that I liked her shirt. This was not kissing up, in my opinion. I really did like her shirt and tend to be inclined to inform people when they are wearing or doing something that I enjoy. Call it random acts of positive reinforcement. She informed me that she was already favorably inclined toward me. For a moment I faltered, thinking my compliment was the reason. Something in her tone, however, belied a bit more than enjoyment of flattery. I inquired as to why she thought well of me so quickly, in a way that did not seem like I was fishing for compliments. She informed me that her daughter knew me through one of my friends. I asked which. She stated, smiling, "Alison." Oi, I thought, here ends the interview. Alison, as has been stated here, evidently thinks very little of me on the advice of Miss Zanna. But, no, evidently her daughter rightly thought well of me and thus relayed positive information to her mother. Huzzah for that.
The interviewing portion went well, in my humble opinion. She stated that she thought that she and I would work well together, a sentiment I much agree with honestly. She stated that I would only be getting $8 an hour, even on Sundays when others would be getting time and a half. She wondered if this would breed resentment in me. I stated that it would not, as I understood this was not anything personal but merely a policy that was unfortunately put into place over the summer. Still $8 could make my life quite a bit easier (he says in much the same manner that he once said a job working at the Faire would. Yet where are the savings?)
She showed me around the library, as I had a few questions about the computer system. It seemed like a very nice little library, much like I remembered from coming here in my youth. Whenever I had finals in high school, I would walk here to study between them. Good times. She informed me that they might be moving to a new location. As I had helped the DCC library move into a new building, this perked my ears up. Like a good little librarian, I asked where the new location would be and she and I bantered on about the necessity for a central location with good parking. It was all in librarian code. Not even the Cherokee Code Talkers would have been able to decipher what we were saying.
Finally, she took me outside and asked me my view on patrons looking at pornography. I stated that I did not have anything against pornography, in and of itself, so long as it did not exploit children, animals, or innocent people, but that it was not appropriate in the library. She asked if I would try to get into the computers records to see if someone was looking at those sites. I was taken aback and explained I would only talk to them if I saw them going to the site. We spoke a bit about how easy it is to accidentally get to a porn site (I used my recent example of confusing the URLs www.thedailyprobe.com with www.dailyprobe.com). She said that the interview went well and we shook hands.
After the interview, I got myself a Reese's Pieces Cyclone from Friendly's to celebrate a job well done. I will likely be going in for another interview there before they decide if they are going to hire me, but I think it looks good.

Customary Bitch-About-the-Pagans-Cake
It seems that I told you that I would discuss PSU with you. Well, so shall I then. This will be all over the place, I fear, which may actually make the group make a bit more sense to my dear readers. We shall see. If I am not making sense to you, do tell me.
Shall I go into the history? Oh, I suppose since I have a few moments. To my knowledge, as in I witnessed it, PSU has existed since my freshman year at DCC. This I know because I was a friend to New Paltzian Pagans and I would visit. It began, like all good things do, with Namahs wishing to rule over others. Still, twas a large, semi-diverse group that I did not mind spending an hour or so a week with. Moreover, they had Student Association funding, the earmark of collegial respect and legitimacy. Things that these sort of clubs should have in order to not be seen as willfully bizarre miscreants.
Of course, like most things NeoPagan, the group now claims they have existed immensely longer, tracing their roots back to a spirituality club called The Awareness Club that existed in the early '70's. Mmmm hmmm... right. Suddenly the group has attained a multi-decade pedigree. I think you loyal readers know that this rubs me the wrong way. There is nothing wrong, at all, with being young, being new. All clubs went through this at one point and the education of youth is what made them last. However, clinging to frayed threads of a club that most likely clung to a club that existed in the '30's does little good for one's legitimacy. I am a Pagan, possibly one of the persons that should be more willing to agree that the club has some sort of bloodline before Namahs and his anal, domineering, anti-Christian regurgitation. But, no, that is the origin and the group should grow from that. The Volkswagen was designed by Nazis and yet it has grown to become one of the most popular car companies. Erg.
So, back to current events, namely this semester. The group meets in a much smaller room. At best, ten people show up. It is not always pleasant. At the general interest meeting, select members prattled on book reports about several religions (excluding, of course, Christianity and Judaism. Roots do not change quite so fast). One girl merely read for ten minutes from a Cunningham book of dubious quality, mispronouncing a good 2/3 of the Pagan jargon, while the pizza got cold (general interest meetings have to have pizza. It's a rule!). Another gave a half an hour presentation about Hinduism that she wrote for her Indian Culture class. Finally I shut her down by asking, "Are you saying that all the Jews Hitler killed deserved to be cruelly tortured and systematically murdered?" That was pretty much the gist she was going with. Her retort was something to the extent that each of those Jews was Hitler and he was working off the karma for killing them retroactively. Am I the only one here who sees the clear fallacy in this thinking? No? Good.
Another meeting was to show the members the "Wiccan Grove". Please note the ironic placement of quotation marks, for further reference. I know that I am coming off sounding cynical and sarcastic, but this is from disappointment. That this group could be a positive force on campus and instead... well, judge yourself from my biased words. I do understand the purpose of showing new people sights one may perceive as spiritually important, but this was not.
We left from the SUB, a group of seven or eight. They were all skipping about and making lewd references to one another. I was walking and playing with my moki balls in an effort to ignore the girl trying to hit on me from twenty feet away.
We got to the part where the building mostly end and the pond and forest begin. I began crossing but, oh no, there was some guy. Yep, some guy was maybe supposed to get out of class early or something and he might, you know, want to come. They thought, maybe, he was in the dorm next to us. No one lived in that dorm, so they banged on the doors trying to get in. I rolled my eyes, lay in the grass, and tried to stay calm. If the mokis were not made of so strong a rock, I am certain I would have cracked them. Stars! Pretty. Idiotic banter. Not pretty.
After about ten minutes, they decided that the guy prolly didn't get out of class er sumtin and we continued on our merry way. I got about thirty feet, group next to me, when one of the self-appointed leaders yelled at me for going so fast. I looked at her, tersely pointed out that she was standing right next to me and kept walking. Oi. Pardon me for sounding a little fluffy for a moment, but I was shielding like heck and keeping my energies to myself. Can you really blame me?
One of the members announced that the trees told her that it was okay to enter, but that there were some beings that did not want us there. I looked to make sure my hand wasn't raised. They led us through a soccer field and into a forest where there was a very small, burnt out campfire and a few logs around it. You know, I pictured a little something more. I kept by the sidelines, as people were having their moment and I didn't wish to interfere. Of course, since I was being quiet and respectful, this signaled that someone had to shine a flashlight in my face and demand to know who I was. That was very necessary. Right. Because no one saw me walking next to the bloody lot of you the whole way here.
When they exited, they proceeded to... I'm not sure. I was ignoring them and sitting in the grass quietly, looking at the stars, ready to follow them when they decided to move on. So, of course, quiet, peaceful, contemplative... someone shined a flashlight in my face and states that I look just like a corpse. Aw, keen. I lay there, frankly hoping they would all walk away and forget about me. Then I could walk back to campus in peace. There could be stargazing and quiet contemplation of the universe. I had plans. Then a girl (we'll call her Swiss Miss) bent over me, genuinely concerned with my well being, and asked why I was laying in the grass. Swiss Miss wasn't being annoying or pretentious. So I told her I was looking at the stars. She smiled and I decided I would continue on with them.
They walked by another soccer field and an incongruous port-o-potty in the middle of the woods. I motioned toward it and suggested to a random member that is existed in case one felt the call of nature. Now, come on, that is just a little bit funny. She looked at me like I was a pervert, despite having had to deal with sociopathic people damn near asking her cup size. Another member ran around the soccer field. Ordinarily, I would have found a certain charm to this. Not so that night, as everyone stood and watched. I did not. What did I do? Well, see, there are stars!
When I bid my nocturnal reverie adieu, the group had moseyed on. I walked after them, figuring correctly that they would stop before very long. They stopped in front of... the tennis courts. Wait, you didn't get the full effect. THE TENNIS COURTS!!!!!! (DUN DUN DAAAAAAAAAA!!!!) Ah, bloody hell. Evidently the tennis courts are supposed to be haunted. I did not feel it, but then, I was sort of busy looking at the stars. Swiss Miss filled me in on all of this, though I am not sure such was her intention. Still, I appreciated the info. According to her, the undisclosed purpose of this little nature walk (for such was how it was billed) was to show people where the ghosts were on campus. You know, I would not put it past them. Which isn't to say I believe there is a ghost on the tennis courts. I have witnessed nothing, though Swiss Miss described it in much the same manner as I describe the Mansion spirit and Emily and I described the spirit we encountered in the cemetery. I will investigate, of course.
Swiss Miss looked at the stars with me for a little bit, an action that I greatly and entirely appreciated. She saw a shooting star, which I think it a positively lovely thing. Finally, though, I left them, seeing home and a finished paper as more compelling.
Last week, they held a meeting, the point of which was to walk to the local New Age/Spirituality/Occult shop, conveniently placed just off campus. Lovely. I, of course, have known about The Awareness Shop since I was a wee witchling, but I can certainly understand the necessity of introducing Pagans fairly new to campus to this pleasant shop.
Emily, fresh out of not having a job (another entry, I hope), joined me. She and I frolicked happily and nonsexually, discussing literature and Tae Kwon Do. This would not do and one of the self appointed leaders asked who this blonde creature I was consorting with was. M explained concisely and we continued on our merry way. We knew the way to the shop. We likely would blindfolded.
Emily stated in the short trip that she wished that we had better telepathy (or any useful telepathy) so we had no need to speak in the presence of people who would not understand anyway.
When we arrived, Emily and I, sans communication, distanced ourselves from the group. We didn't think the proprietors were taking a friendly view of PSU. We knew one of the owners from the Ren Faire and were granted reprieve from their judgment for the moment. Emily and I checked out the boji stone to find the most effective pair. Emily lamented that the stones would not work for her, that she is "broken." A pompous self-appointed leader of the group haughtily suggested that this was because Emily was never open in the first place. The fact a lightning bolt did not vaporize this insolent wretch where she stood shocked me as much as it did M. The lightning bolts were definitely coming from Emily's eyes. Just because Emily does not feel rocks buzz in her hands (incidentally, she said the rocks made her hands ache, which shows that she felt something), does not mean that she was never open in the bloody least. I have seen this girl pick up whole parts of people's lives that she can't possibly know. She feels spirits just as strongly as I do. She is intuitive. She is Reiki attuned. She has worked with the sick and the dying. Anyone who does that, who finds value in doing that, should never be called "not open." I think this girl rightfully earned Emily's extreme dislike in that moment.
I have to say, few in PSU have registered positively on M's scale, and I don't blame her. There is a lot of pretension. A lot of games. A lot of hiding and clinging to immaturity. Yes, there is goodness. There is potential and hope. If there weren't, I promise you I would cease going.
What to do? Continue with hope. Remind people why they are there. Nudge the group. Wait.

Soon in Xenology: More on PSU. Sarah and I finally touch one another. I get a job.



last watched: Emmet and Selan save their baby Jeros.
reading: A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
listening: Violent Femmes
wanting: to work at the Howland Public Library.
interesting thought: The crosses were made by falling wreckage and not by survivors.
moment of zen: Rediscovering the joy of showering.
someday I must: think fondly of every teacher whose class I am taking.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.



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