View Full Version : In pursuit of Dreams and dreams: A Real-Life Dynasty
07-06-2005, 02:15 AM
As the title suggests, this story will be about a real person's life, namely my own.
While my original intent was to write this dynasty about the romantic endeavours involving a certain girl, when I sat down and began to think about everything that it entailed, I realized that I couldn't stick to just that track.
There are too many threads, too many interweavings that have occurred in my 26 years of life here on Earth to be able to isolate just one variable and concentrate on that and that alone.
So it is that I will be presenting to you not just the girl, named Dreams, but dreams of lowercase type, no less of capital importance for their dimunitive clothing. Indeed, it would be fair to suggest that *those* longings, steeped in the sepia and amber of my past as they are, overshadow the figure of the girl.
Referencing to the Joseph Campell quote in turn referenced by Senator in the brilliant thread of his brother's dream fulfillment, I have never been a man of a single bliss, but rather am an individual of multiple blisses. I would that I could find that single, overwhelming passion that I seek above all else, but such is not in my makeup, and so such I will not pursue.
As you can probably guess, this will not be a sweet and short song of a story. Even if things with the girl should prove to my disappointment in the end, the other angles and avenues will still require venturing forth in. In fact, it may well be that this dynasty lasts until the end of my days in this world, or until FOFC is no more, whichever comes first then.
These, then, are the objectives of my passion, in no particular ranking, in short-list form:
1. Publish a novel.
2. Create the Olympics text-based sim I've been working on in concept.
3. Transfer to the University of Wyoming
4. Pursue a relationship with Dreams.
5. Get into Princeton for graduate school.
6. Join a fencing team and get back to fencing competitively.
Six will be enough for now. There are more that lurk in the back of my mind, frail and wispy ghosts that are not yet fully materialized. These are the only concrete, steel-solid dreams, vibrant and blooming in colour, with roots so deep that they will not be pulled out of the soil of the dreaming until they have been played out, whether it be to success or failure.
Tomorrow I will begin delineating the sources of each of these six points.
Whatever travelers I might find walking beside me on my journeys, I hope you enjoy your time.
07-06-2005, 12:59 PM
I will begin with what is, if not the earliest of the dreams, then the one that is the most unshakeable, the one whose foundations are so solidly set in me that they will not be got rid of, even if it should never be fufilled.
It is Princeton University I speak of here, and, as the early afternoon is not conducive to eloquent flow of prose on my part, I shall simply copy/paste the essay that I wrote on my experiences and dreaming of Princeton for an Advanced Composition class last semester.
Have you ever loved a place so much that it becomes interwoven into the very essence of your being? So much a part of you is it, in fact, that an attempt to put it into words, to explain it to those who do not feel the same as you do… It becomes a very difficult thing. Nonetheless, I will try to do so, even if my efforts prove lacking in the end.
Princeton University. To the ears of most, it is the name of one of America’s most prestigious universities, a name synonymous with academia, ivy covered walls, and one of the most popular offenses in college basketball. Some may recall it as the school that John Nash attended. Still others may recognize it as the college of Fitzgerald’s postsecondary career.
It is in the last of these that my first encounter with old Nassau Hall may be found. An idealistic sophomore in high school, I stumbled across The Great Gatsby months before we were to read it in class. I read it in a day and fell instantly in love. The richness of language and the tightness of structure appealed to my sense of literary aesthetic, and in Gatsby’s tragic, soulful, longing quest for Daisy, I found a kindred spirit. Entranced by Fitzgerald’s writing, I read the biographical blurb on the back of the book and my interest in Princeton was piqued.
This Side of Paradise, read shortly thereafter, is what truly cemented my affection for Princeton. Intensely identifying with romantic egotist protagonist Amory Blaine, I, too, found myself longing to go to Princeton, to run riot on the green lawns, to eat with one of the legendary breakfast clubs. At long last, I had a place that I desired to go to above all others.
Although I would investigate other schools throughout the rest of my sophomore year and the entirety of my junior and senior years, my heart was irrevocably set upon wearing the orange and black of the Tigers.
It was in the summer before my junior year that I first actually visited the University, having it as part of several Eastern colleges I toured while visiting relatives out East.
I can only describe my feelings upon first setting foot on the campus as pure and complete rapture. Here was the school I had imagined for quite a while now; here was the college that lived in phantasm in my dreams. Only here, it was no longer a ghostly shape, but real, brilliant and blooming before my very eyes.
I was there with my parents and we were part of a scheduled tour given by a cheerfully chubby local resident and student in a dark blue wool sweater. Though I paid as much attention as I could to his talk, all throughout our journey around the campus, my eyes kept darting from sight to sight. The lushness of the green grass, so bright and perfectly manicured, the aroma of history emanating from the buildings, many done in my favourite style of Gothic architecture, the beauty of the open spaces—It was all more than mesmerizing.
After the tour, we prospective students met with counselors in small groups to discuss Princeton and our desires (or not, as the case may be) to attend there. The members of my section consisted of a California boy who was indifferent to the whole affair, a New York lad who had some interest, but was looking more towards hated Yale, a strikingly pretty girl from Virginia with blonde hair, delicious in white, and of course, myself.
I spoke haltingly and passionately of my dream to attend the hallowed campus, earning me looks of amusement from the others, all of whom came from quite wealthy families as opposed to my own middle class upbringing. Our chosen advisor, a platinum blonde devotee of Ralph Lauren Polo, smiled serenely at my enthusiasm and gave us a small talk on the admissions process, handing us each an application that was about the same thickness as a reinforced concrete wall.
“We want to know as much as we can about you. As you know, we’re extremely selective here, and so to ensure that we make the best choices, we’d like to get to know the real you. You’ll see lots of questions in there that might seem silly, like asking you what your favourite ice cream is, but they’re there so we can get a sense of who you really are”, explained our guide.
Brimming with newfound determination, I took my packet and rejoined my parents, who were waiting outside. A trip to the bookstore and purchase of plethora of Princeton paraphernalia later, we were once again roaming the campus, not really wanting to leave just yet, when my mom spoke in one of the many archways of the campus.
“You know, I could really see you as a student here, Tim. It just feels like you belong here.”
“Me too, Mom. I feel at home here like I’ve never felt before.”
“How are you going to pay for it?” My dad’s contribution.
“Raymond! We’ll worry about that later!” Mom was none too pleased with Dad’s financial worries, however justifiable. Tuition alone was $30,000 a year after all, and this was back in 1996.
And yet, upon returning to Wisconsin, though the determination and dreaming was still there and stronger than ever, I did not apply. Why, I do not know. I took the SAT, took the prerequisite three SAT II tests, and just needed to fill out the application, write the essays, and send it off. And yet, I did not.
Instead, I compromised on my dream and chose to go to the University of Minnesota. The less said of that travesty the better. After a year of misery, I was suspended with a 0.62 GPA and came home in disgrace, relegated to UW-Parkside.
A couple of years later, I was walking down the hall of Molinaro when I spotted a flyer advertising the New York Film Academy’s summer sessions. Intrigued, I looked closer, as film was always a career possibility I’d privately entertained. Imagine my surprise and shock when I saw that one of the locations offered was none other than Princeton! The school still haunting my dreams was at last at least somewhat in reach.
This time, I did fill out the paperwork and get it sent in. I was approved and in late June of that summer, I arrived at Princeton University, full of excitement and jubilation.
I stayed in a dorm for the eight weeks of the session and found living there extremely pleasant. The old residence hall and the ancient, cramped wooden desks in the academic buildings where we had our classes were quite agreeable to me.
As far as the actual Film Academy experience itself, I can say that I found that my passion for filmmaking was not as great as I thought it was, though I did make a few very bad pieces while there.
The most illuminating moment came during our final projects. Marlow, a curly-haired black woman; Chris, a twentysomething in a wheelchair, and Jake, a high-school science teacher who was Chris’s helper, and I were just inside the iron gates of the University and preparing to take our equipment outside to shoot a scene from Chris’s film.
“Let’s go in through the main entrance. It’s the closest,” said Chris.
I swallowed hard. “Well… no, we can’t. I mean, at least I can’t. School tradition says that once you enter the front gate, you don’t leave until you graduate. I still want to go here some day, and I don’t want to jinx it by breaking the rule. Can we please just go out the side gate?”
Chris sighed in exasperation and smacked the side of his wheelchair, looking quite annoyed. He was temperamental to begin with, and problems had cropped up throughout the shooting we’d done that day. “What?! That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard! No, we’re going out the front gate!”
“Let’s just go out the side gate. I mean, it’s his dream and it wouldn’t be fair of us to ruin that if he still wants to go here.” I’ll never forget Marlow’s coming to my defense.
“Come on, Chris. I gotta agree with Marlow and Tim here. Besides, we can still come back in through the front gate, right Tim?” I nodded my affirmative to Jake’s question. Yes, it was perfectly fine to enter through the main gate; it just wasn’t allowed to leave out it.
During the day when I had free time and in the evenings, I often found myself walking up and down Nassau Street, visiting the shops and restaurants on Princeton’s main thoroughfare. There are many good places to eat there, my favourite being a small Greek fast food eatery that’s a bit further back and a little hard to spot from the sidewalk, but a rewarding find. There are the best hamburgers I’ve ever eaten, with a taste so unique and delicious I’ve never come across anything even close to its like.
Further down, there is a Wild Oats Market, a grocery store catering to the health conscious, with organic foods and other nutritious items. Expensive to be sure, but with tasty products and a very aesthetically pleasing layout.
At the end of the session, I packed my things, loaded them in the van, and wandered the campus with my parents, much as I had done a few years before. That undeniable feeling that I belonged here was still very strong and it was something my mother felt too, I think. We took several pictures and then went home.
Since that time, my grandmother and her boyfriend have gone out there and toured the campus themselves, and they, too, have remarked on its beauty and how they could see me there.
And yet, in a cruel irony, the school is not taking transfer applications until the fall of 2006 at the very earliest. Due to the larger incoming classes and the current graduation rates, the only access is being given to true freshmen until the autumn of 2006 and perhaps not even then. Thus, it seems as though my best chances for at last attending Princeton lie in graduate school.
07-13-2005, 10:19 PM
I know what everyone *really* wants is a Dreams update and to hear the backstory.
The backstory will come later.
The update is now.
Earlier in the week, I suggested going out to a park with her this weekend. She said that'd be an awesome idea and told me to call her later this week. Unbeknownst to her, however, I'm springing the surprise of a picnic on her.
So my boss lets me off work early today and I call her. No answer.
I go home, take a nap, get up around 6:30, call again.
Me: Is Dreams there?
Erme (Dreams' mom, my boss): No she's not. May I ask who's calling?
Me: It's Tim.
Erme: Oh, hi Tim. She went over to Tricia's.
Me: Oh okay, no problem. Could you have her call me back when she gets home please?
Erme: Sure no problem.
I admit for a moment I considered calling her at Tricia's, but then my inner voice spoke up and said, "No. She's having girl time. You leave girl time alone, you big hairy brute of a man." Hence why I had her call me back.
Next I head to Shopko, looking for a picnic basket. No luck. All they have are these flannel cooler things, plastic cooler things, and wicker baskets that are just open-faced. So I go to Walgreen's. No luck there, either.
While in Walgreen's, my phone rings. I miss it before the voicemail kicks in. The number turns out to be Dreams's, so I call back.
Female Voice: Hello?
Me: *thinking it's Erme again* Yeah uh, it's Tim. Somebody just called me from this number but I didn't catch the phone in time so I called back.
Female Voice: Could it have been Dreams?
Me: Yeah, I reckon it probably was.
Female Voice: *laughs* This *is* Dreams.
Her: So what are you doing?
Me: Oh, nothing much. Just walking around town... hey, I was just wondering.. you still up for the Sanders Park thing?
Her: Sure! I'm cool with whenever.
Me: All right, well I was thinking tomorrow, Friday, or Saturday since I have off.
Her: How about tomorrow?
Me: Sure! Say around 4 or 5?
Me: Okay, cool.
Her: How are you going to get there by the way?
Me: Oh, I just figured I'd walk over there.
Her: Nooo don't do that! That's silly for you to hike all the way out there. Just call me tomorrow when you're ready to leave and I'll come pick you up.
Me: Okay, tell you what... I'll call you about 4 or 4:30 tomorrow then.
Her: Sounds good.
Me: Okay, see you then!
So we hang up and I call my mom for advice on the picnic basket. She recommends looking for my grandfather's old mini-cooler in the basement. I like that idea so I'm going to go look for it once I get done typing this. When I ask her what to get for foodage for sandwich, she says I should go to the Pig and get meats, cheeses, bread, drinks, and chips. In addition, she recommends I get a little flower to use as ambiance.
These are all great suggestions to me who hasn't been to a picnic since his 14th birthday. (A horrible family affair that I won't delve into here). So off to the Pig I go. I pick up a rose plant with bamboo near the front en route to the deli.
I stand around waiting for a while until this guy comes out.
Him: Hey, what can I get you?
Me: Yeah, uh, I have a picnic tomorrow. It's just going to be two of us and it's a surprise thing, so I'm not sure what to get or how much.
Him: Okay, tell you what. I got some great cheese here. It's called brick cheese. You can have a sample to see if you like it, but I'm sure you will. You'll want that and you'll want to try the meats too to decide what you like.
The brick cheese was excellent and so I got the quarter pound he recommended of that, plus a quarter pound each of ham, turkey, and chicken breast, all very good.
Him: Oh, and you'll definitely want some fruit salad too. *goes and gets a small bowl for me* This here will be all you need.
Me: Are you sure? I don't need two, one for each of us?
Him: *grins* Trust me, this will be all you need.
So after that, he gave me some plastic silverware free of charge and wished me good luck with another grin.
After that, I go through the bread until I pick up some Italian sandwich buns. Honestly they just look like hardbread hamburger buns to me, but eh, they'll be good enough for what I'm looking to do.
Then I'm wandering through the drinks. I'd planned to get lemonade but all they had was the crappy 3% juice that's real sugary and tastes like ass. So I'm thinking I'll get iced tea instead. I grab a pack of cans and start towards the checkout.
On the way, I spot my favourite brand of vitamin water, Glaceau. They have the lemonade flavour there, just four bottles left. I instantly chuck the iced tea and snatch the remaining four bottles of Glaceau lemonade vitamin water before anyone else can.
Then I check out and walk the two miles home under the cover of dusk and in intense humidity, the rose plant under my left arm, my Discman in my left hand, and the two bags of groceries in my right.
So now the groceries are packed away and I'm finally getting down to eating supper and looking for Grandpa's cooler after I finish this post.
In short, gentlemen (and ladies), we have a confirmation. It all begins... tomorrow afternoon. :D
07-14-2005, 07:05 AM
You smooth operator...
07-29-2005, 01:57 AM
You smooth operator...
:D Not really, I'm afraid.
I called earlier in the week, asking about the date again, and specifically mentioned going to the County Fair.
Her reception was cool and remote, gilded voice shuffling me off with an excuse that I knew to be hollow and meaningless.
We talked for a few minutes more about idle things that didn't matter and then hung up.
The fascinating thing was, as I stood there in my grandmother's driveway and looked at my just closed cellphone, I realized that I simply didn't care.
There was no gnashing of teeth, no stab of pain, and no wild gestures that might seem the forerunner of insanity as I have done in prior defeats.
I only smiled, chuckled, and shrugged, muttering to myself, "Well I made a good show of it and since this fell through, my last possible reason for wanting to stay in my hometown is gone. If Wyoming admits me, it's to the West I'll go then."
And so this small chapter in my life closes. But I knew then as I stood there and I know now as I type this, there will be others written, ones that brim with successes both great and small.
A far cry from the old days, when, even when I was with someone, I gloomily predicted to myself that failure would result in the end.
And that, I think, makes all the difference.
07-29-2005, 02:01 AM
One of the novel ideas I've been rolling around in my head finally started coming to fruitition tonight. I had one of my friends question me about the main character for one of the ideas and as a result, I now have a firmer grasp on both the main character and the line as a whole.
In fact, I even got the first passage for it written down. This particular blurb takes place somewhere in the middle of the novel, as I'm envisioning it right now. Though I don't intend on putting all of the book up here obviously, since this is the first passage I've come up with, I'll throw it in for the hell of it. ;)
Obviously it's a rough draft and by no means a final version, so feel free to rip it apart if you like.
"The spark that had seemed so real, so electric when they exchanged words across the infinite world of the Internet dimmed a little the first moment he saw her. What he had thought to be lushly pale skin, beautiful and gothic in the picture, revealed on close-up inspection to be callow and dotted with a fair-sized batallion of acne, the white helmets of the red blotches leering in sadistic triumph at him.
The lips he believed to be soft and kissable were hard and small, as unappealing as a month-old peach stone. Her body was broad and bovinelike, rather than pleasantly curved as he'd imagined in his fantasies. The hair that had been silky and blonde in the picture's light was now betrayed as coarse and a bland shade of sand.
In short, Winston's dreams of the past five months crumbled in the space of three seconds."
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