An Interesting Dream

Several hours later when I looked on the Jon Germane website for new daily forecast, there was a chipper message in the Thought of the Day. “I’ll be taking a week off next week, though I’ll be leaving you in the able hands of Mr. Eric Francis, the eminent American astrologer.”

I looked at the page a little cross-eyed. Really, that’s what I am? I thought to myself. I laughed out loud and thought: okay then!

The idea of working as the horoscope writer for the Daily Mirror was beyond amazing. I knew that it was a rare, if not once in a lifetime, experience to have this chance, which is why I acted so decisively.

It was now about 8 pm on Thursday night. I stepped away from my desk and out into the living room of my new apartment, where I had lived for just two weeks. The space still felt new and unfamiliar, almost like it was not mine. I looked around at my furniture, which had just arrived a few days earlier.

Nearly everything around me was new: the apartment itself, and its view of the lake, and the neighborhood, and being in Seattle. For four years I had lived on an island without a bridge to the main land — Maury Island, on Puget Sound — a place with minimal population. I had last lived in a part of the island called Gold Beach, which was always swallowed by silence.

Now I was in the city, not quite accustomed to it, and that feeling fused with the adventure I had just initiated.

My fish tanks were familiar, as were the creatures placidly swimming around in them. On the walls were many framed magazine covers from various career achievements, as well as my first horoscope in the Mirror from two years earlier. Still, I had this feeling of being somewhere besides my own life. The truth of that moment was, I had just moved off of the island and made an investment in a new place, but Seattle just seemed strange.

After a week I had decided it was like living in a world where everyone but me was on Prozac. They were all in their strange, low-voltage trance, and I was buzzing around in another reality. Then for a moment I visualized London, packed with energy, people, activity and writing for the Mirror. Apparently I would be there while I was writing the horoscope the following week, something I hadn’t experienced before.

I was restless, so I put on a jacket and stepped outside: past my office, out the door to the corridor, and down the stairs. It was like I was the only person alive in the whole building. There were 14 apartments and not a sound. I walked through the lobby out to Greenwood Ave. and turned toward North 74th Street. The streets were empty; there wasn’t even car traffic. It kind of reminded me of Gold Beach, which was so quiet it was truly strange — but that, at least, made sense for a development on the odd corner of an island without a bridge.

I turned right on 74th and headed over to the park. I felt like I was dreaming, and it would have felt normal to wake up as if I had been. I reached the park and walked along the lake, finally seeing another person. The air was warm and the lake was flat, without a ripple. I looped around to 65th Street, back to Greenwood Ave. and headed toward home.

When I got in, I checked my email. Nick had written: “So we’ll be seeing you Monday!” he said.

“That’s the plan,” I replied. Then a moment later he sent my writing schedule for the week. “We have this Saturday covered but Jon also wants you to write next Saturday, so that’s six columns between now and Thursday noon, London time. The first two were due on Sunday evening shortly before my flight. I could do those Friday and then have enough time for the rest of the preparations.

I pulled my ephemeris off the shelf and started looking for interesting aspects over the next 10 days. An ephemeris is the basic tool of an astrologer. No matter how good online tools may be, there is nothing quite like it; it’s an ancient tool, dating to the 2nd century BCE, and there’s nothing quite like using one in book format. I had two types: the commercially available kind, and the ones that referred to newly-discovered planets, many of which had not been named.

I selected some aspects and began casting the charts that I would use for my columns that week. Writing a good daily horoscope takes a lot of ideas. It’s necessary to have something meaningful to say to each of the 12 signs, and for each, something different than what I said for any of the other 11. It’s dreadfully easy to become repetitive, and you see it often in lower quality horoscopes.

Finally, I gave my fish their night feeding: bloodworms tonight, their favorite — and headed to bed. I must have burned a lot of energy that day because I don’t even remember falling asleep, but I do remember waking up.

I was dreaming that I was in the newsroom of the Daily Mirror. I was being shown around by someone I did not recognize. The enormous room was full of those iMacs where the screen was on an arm that bent like a lampshade.

There was a whiteboard on the wall, and he pointed out that the Daily Mirror was the top story in the Daily Mirror that day.

I thought at first, this is a metaphor for mirror. Yet the dream felt vividly real; I felt like I had just been there. I scribbled the dream in my dream notebook, and put the notebook back in my night table drawer. It was a little past 6 am and a sunny day in Seattle. I was up quickly, showered and began a day of preparing to travel.

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