At the beginning of this year when I decided to try to figure out why I wasn’t making progress on my novel-writing dream, by acknowledging it as an elephant-in-the-room and naming said elephant Erma so that I could talk to her, little did I know how my bizarre approach would work.
I knew it would work, but I didn’t know exactly how it would play out.
My dream is to
write finish my novel (& try to get published). The story, only a couple hundred pages in, never really possessed a set direction, because I don’t write like that. That is, I need room to let the story and characters do what they will, and always felt that an outline was too rigid and who was I to tell these characters what to do and…well, that approach was getting me nowhere.
But now, in May? The story not only has a complete beginning, middle, and end played out in my head but specific scenes keep coming to me, character arcs are obvious, and a whole host of other details pop into my mind on a regular basis.
This is serious progress, for me. The progress I’m making is exactly in tune with how I write; I feel like I’ve pushed through a big wall. And I’m excited to get the entire story out, on paper, and eventually let someone read it.
Is is going to be finished within a set period of time? Who knows. That isn’t the point.
The point is that by facing this dream that I’d stuffed away into the back of mind, by naming it, by talking to it without judgment and with love, I opened the pathways of communication and the dream is speaking to me.
When I finish the story, it’s so being dedicated to Erma.
Bonus gifts if you act now!
But lately something else has been happening that I didn’t expect, and I feel like I’ve gotten some “bonus value” gifts that weren’t the reason I signed up, but that make the whole package that much more valuable.
More dream elephants have come to the party!
But these elephants weren’t invited, per se. I didn’t consciously set out to make progress on the dreams that these elephants represent.
Heck, I’d forgotten that these dreams were even in my head.
I suppose that they just saw how much fun Erma was having with the monthly Klatch, and decided they wanted in on the party, too.
“Fins to the left, fins to the right”
(Apologies to Jimmy Buffet for borrowing lyrics and changing their meaning. He was singing of sharks, and I’m talking about mermaids, but “fins” are fins.)
I’ll share an example.
A couple of weeks ago, I kept coming across references to mermaids. And I was suddenly reminded of a local park, Weeki Wachee, that has a mermaid show, a show I loved as a child. Out of nostalgia, I looked up the park’s website, hoping the park was still in operation (lots of small theme parks around here have closed).
While on the site, I found information about “mermaid camp“…and then saw the note, “Ages 20 and up.”
As in, adults allowed.
And poof, just like that, an old, very old dream resurfaced: I wanted, very badly, to be a Weeki Wachee mermaid when I was a kid.
I grew up in the water, learning to swim before I could walk, and I used to put on those plastic fins you can get at the local drugstore, clamp my legs together, and pretend to be a mermaid (ok, sure, I’m sure lots of kids did that). I used to swim in the deep end of pools or out deep in the lake I lived on, pretending to be doing all kinds of mermaid-like moves that I’d seen the Weeki Wachee mermaids do (my dance training was never more valuable than when I was using it underwater). Oh yeah, I was into it.
But then I got older, forgot about being a mermaid, and went on with life.
When I found the information about mermaid camp it was like an old light being turned back on in a dusty corner of my mind. I suddenly remembered the lure of the beauty of the mermaid show and the pull of wanting to be one.
And so realizing that I can actually attend mermaid camp (such things are usually for kids) and be a Weeki Wachee mermaid, however briefly and however abbreviated, had me positively giddy.
And suddenly I knew that I will do that camp, if not this year (depends on funds), then definitely next year, as part of my 40th birthday year.
Excited? Ooooh yeah! I will get to be a Weeki Wachee mermaid for two days…well, ok, not with the air hoses and only in 15 ft of water, but it’s closer than I ever, ever thought I’d get.
This is one of the coolest things ever.
But wait, there’s more!
Later that night, after bouncing around on the high of knowing I can be a mermaid for a couple of days, my roommate casually mentioned that “I’d probably like” a Facebook page someone had shown her, about two local women who are mermaids for events & parties: Merbellas.
Once I saw the pictures, my mouth dropped to the floor.
There are ways to be a mermaid without being employed by Weeki Wachee?!
You see, I’d thought that the retro kitsch of the Weeki Wachee mermaids was, you know, a Weeki Wachee thing. That the women chosen to be mermaids were soooo lucky to have that as a “job” (and was considering asking at camp how one goes about applying for the job, although I suspect I’m too “old” for it; however, she’s not too old to be a cheerleader, so I figured I’d at least ask).
But to see that people are mermaids on their own? With incredibly gorgeous costumes and underwater photography? People do this?!
Oh me oh my!
Considering my experience with scifi costuming & conventions and historical re-enactment, I should not have been surprised to find mermaid costuming & fandom. But I was. It never crossed my mind.
I started devouring links online, and found even more amazing stuff: other women make a living being mermaids (and supporting great causes!), like Hannah Mermaid. And a first-ever mermaid convention, MerCon, happening later this year (wanna go!).
A blue-green elephant (sans tail)
The mermaid-dream elephant who sidled into the Klatch and quietly helped me rediscover her existence has grown a bit, and now she and Erma are fast becoming pals.
Her name? Madison, naturally.
She’s a pretty blue-green color, slightly irridescent. No mermaid tail, though, because, c’mon, that just wouldn’t work on an elephant.
Now that this fun little dream is alive & kicking again, my plan is to attend mermaid camp, acquire a beautiful mermaid tail (or two), get some underwater pictures taken in the tail(s), and go to the mermaid convention.
Timeline? However long it takes. I’m along to enjoy the ride…er, swim.
Here’s to elephants of every size & color,
Image credit: Gorgeous underwater elephant art found on DeviantArt.