Thomm Quackenbush, author

" Lacuna Beach | 2008 | Beltaint "

04.30.08 11:03 a.m.

It is said that there are only two tragedies in life: not getting what one wants, and getting it.  

-Bhanta Henepola Gunaratana

 


Dream of Genie

Consider this an act of magick, if that gels with your belief system. Otherwise, it is a statement of intent. This was undoubtedly done before, either unconsciously or as a ritual done by Emily's coven. I won't mix with any energy but my own now, as that did not turn out so keenly before - so often my silent objection to group magickal workings. I am also aware that this is like a genie's wish, so I have to be as thorough as possible without boring you to death by being legalistic. We'll give the Fates or Eris - or whoever is playing divine caseworker - a bit of wiggle room as well, so as to not stifle them at their favorite game.

Here is how I imagine my life this time next year. We'll start with a job. I am likely teaching, whether publicly or privately. I am good at it and enjoy it most days, so I will keep at it for a long while. Said job pays enough not only to live on but to thrive. I am not deluded as to what teachers get paid, but I know that it ought to be at least $13,000 more a year than I presently receive. I have a Master's degree, several years of complicated teaching under my belt, and a fetish for grammar. I am, at least under the current educational regime, considered highly qualified. I am fine teaching kids from sixth grade to college freshman. The job is not my life, I do not wake up and go to sleep while working. I understand there was some confusion as to this last time. You ask a coven of witches to envision a decent teaching position and, of course, their minds turn to Hogwarts. But learning differences aren't the same thing as wizard powers. While we are on the topic, I would rather not work with children who have extensive learning or behavioral differences. I understand that there will always be some in an appropriately mainstreamed classroom. I am up for the challenge, but will contentedly cope with mostly teaching "normal" or gifted students. Most importantly, I would rather be hired for this teaching job as soon as possible so I can breathe a sigh of relief and continue with my life, since the rest is unfortunately contingent.

I would like to live in or in close proximity to a small city or large town near my loved ones in New York. I've spent far too long in the farmlands of New York, burning gas to get back to civilization. I want to be within walking or, at most, biking distance from a coffee shop. I want to be able to see people I care about without having to drive the better part of an hour to be at their doorstep. I would not begrudge a home near the train line. Right now, I do not see any of my friends as likely roommates, so it will have to be cheap enough that I can afford it on my own (though I would like to live with my girlfriend as soon as is practical). While I lived in Wappingers Falls with Emily, I was taking on more of the bills while she was in graduate school in the city. I think I have the financial skills not to utterly crumble. I would like to love where I live, because I intend to spend some time there. Wherever I move, I wish to be there for a few years at least. I know my plan had been to move where Emily got a job or into a doctoral program and stay there for the next five years. Emily's company understandably excised from that plan, it isn't a bad one. I am tired of moving. I've moved five times in as many years. I don't wish to have occasion to get good at it.

As for my writing, I really would like to be satisfied enough by We Shadows that I send it out. The ending needs work and some scenes stretch my belief in the consistent reality of the fantasy. Melanie believes it is too wordy and poetically phrased to be worthy of publishing as of yet. This goal does not seem as remote as it might to you. Wordy or no, what I write is better than a lot that gets published. Then again, I understand that "published" does not mean "rolling in residuals". To be read in book form is more important than quitting my day job and making snow angels in hundred dollar bills. (Though I am not averse to the idea.)

As for relationships, I would like to still be happily with Melanie. I am aware she is an iterant and impoverished college student, but she is sweet, charming, witty, brilliant, lovely, and affectionate with little pretension despite her Gallic snobbery. While I am content single, I would and have traded bachelorhood for such a woman. Just so the divine caseworker doesn't bite me in the ass about this, the iterant and impoverished qualities are optional and can be omitted should Melanie dump me for the vineyards in the South of France. The point is, while I appreciate having Melanie in my life, I am not going to so build my life around someone else until they have my last name or a legal obligation to keep loving me, but I am going to try to include her to the greatest degree possible.

I need to be able to see my friends and family more often. If I want to go to my brother's birthday on Thursday evening, I shouldn't have to request time off a month in advance and be given the third degree as to why. I want to be able to take dear Jacki up on even half the cultural events to which she invites me. I am an adult, I can manage my schedule and do not care to work in the evenings. I miss being able to see my friends when I wish, if only for a movie or dinner. This goes back to not wanting my job to be my life, which it has felt like since I moved to Anemia. The paltry pay I received here was not remotely worth sacrificing what matters the most, those I love. Granted, when Emily lived with me, I was willing to give it up five nights a week but she is gone and I need to live a life.

I would like to be more spiritually active in the next iteration of my life. Since Emily left, I have realized how much her clan's tendrils are in most any public Pagan event in the area. I am not a Gardnarian Wiccan like them, I am Erisian (you don't have to understand the terms, just the gist that they are formally structured and I am not). In fact, as an adherent of the concept of divine disorganization, the idea of a Discordian group is a bit of a contradiction (though I know they exist, just not around here). I would just like to have more time to feel that sacred connection, to be able to go to rituals in the evening without having to deal with children or my school's administration pestering me to find out why I was sitting in a field during the full moon. I know that Melanie went from agnosticism to atheism but I don't actually require my partner to follow a religion, just indulge me mine.

Once, I sketched my future world out to Emily. This was a longer range plan, something in the scope of five years. We lived in a nice, split level house with burgundy walls (my fantasy, my color scheme) within a bike ride to my job at the community college where I teach freshman composition and creative writing. I had two books out already, as well as several stories in magazines, and was continually writing. We cohabitated with a woman named Clair who was our de facto girlfriend (at this point, Emily and I had been more seriously considering the merits of polyamory). Clair was an artist who rescued furniture and painted it for sale to yuppies. Our home was positively lousy with her projects and many of them were kept in the garage. Emily had some job. I know we discussed it to best align my conception of our future life with hers, so I am certain she selected something like the CEO of Save of the Children or a career in the United Nations (though I also recall a bit of contempt on her part for how they handled most anything). We were happy and productive in our life, totally fulfilled.

Five years is too long to plan at this point in my life, and not simply because that so completely blew up in my face last time. Get me to September with a good life meeting or exceeding these specifications without making the price too high or treating this entry like a monkey's paw, please. I don't think I'm asking very much.

Soon in Xenology: Beltane.

last watched: Cloverfield
reading: The Illuminatus! Trilogy
listening: Live At Fingerprints Warts & All

" Lacuna Beach | 2008 | Beltaint "

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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Works by Thomm Quackenbush

The Night's Dream Series

We Shadows by Thomm Quackenbush

Danse Macabre by Thomm Quackenbush

Artificial Gods by Thomm Quackenbush