What follows is something I wrote a long time ago.

Illustration by a friend.

There I am, in a dark room all alone at night, gazing up through the windows to the stars, putting together new constellations and making up stories to explain their existence—never bothering to write any of it down. It’s my private mythological planetarium, and I’m afraid to invite anyone else in.

But from behind me there emanates a song, some music drifting up through a hatch in the floor. It’s muffled and I can’t quite make out the words, but the voice and tune sound familiar. I listen while my gaze remains fixed on the constellations, afraid to move lest I lose sight of what I’ve put together. I need to memorize it first, I tell myself. But the song keeps playing, poignant but brave, cutting through my complacency and animating the tales I’ve told myself, reminding me of something I’ve known all along—

“You can’t keep all this to yourself,” it tells me. “You’re like a child at an aquarium, looking deeply through the glass into murky blue waters in which not even the faintest silhouette of a fish swims. All the others turned away, disappointed. But you knew something was there and held your trust for just a little longer, and there out of the hazy nothing came a form so streamline and gorgeous, the perfect marriage of beauty and functionality. It swam by for just a moment, and perhaps its silver eye read your thoughts as it looked knowingly at you. Then it left with one great sweep of its tail, vanishing back into the amorphous blend of greens and blues. There wouldn’t have been time to shout out and tell the others to come and look, but you have to do something, don’t you? After all, that aqueous beauty is the song incarnate.

“Don’t forget about me,” the song says. “Remember, and may you recall my form and my beauty whenever you hear this tune.”

So, you see, I can’t just wait here forever. It’s nice to be alone for a while, to sit in the warm solitude of one’s room and dream about gods and galaxies, but that sighting of the great animal out of the nothingness incites action. It revealed itself just then because you knew it was there, because you were patient. Because of your trust and your honesty, it could not hide from you. But what it gave you in that instant of bliss was not a taunt nor a mere display of beauty—it meant to give you inspiration. It wants you to act and be brave.

You wondered many things for those few moments, and one of them was whether or not you could ever match this kind of perfection. You wondered if you’d ever have the sort of courage this figure did.

Of course, was its response. I’m here because you had the courage to dream me up. What you see now is all of your own making. You dreamt this. You’re dreaming this. This song will always be playing in the back of your mind, emanating from that hatch in the floor.

“But, why me?” you asked.

Because you dreamt it up.


Give him a piece of your mind

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