It seems to be the season for dreams. I had another of those ones last night.
I dreamed I met a Susan Casper impersonator. I was at a large house party with an enormous number of my friends and a lot of strangers too. I was talking to a woman I thought was Susan when she said, "I must have been the worst student you ever had, Michael."
Which took me aback because, as far as I could tell, I'd never taught Susan anything about writing. She had Gardner for that. So I just said, "Well, Susan, you always had your own vision and went your own way."
But in that instant, I realized that this woman couldn't be Susan, even though she sounded exactly like her. For one thing, she was too young. For another, Susan died a year before. Still, she was astonishing. Except for the youth and being alive and the strange comment, there would have been no telling.
When she left, I turned to Gardner (in my dream he was still alive) and said, "Who was that?"
Gardner, of course, said, "I have no idea."
So I went outside to reflect on how good it was to hear my name on Susan's lips again. Susan had a way of saying your name so that you could hear the fondness she had for you. Sometimes it was mixed with amusement or exasperation. But that fondness was always there.
I lay down on the grass and, staring straight up at the sky, thought, "I am the unmoving pivot." I could feel all of life whirling about me and, one by one, my friends falling away.
Eventually, I decided the time had come to leave. So I got up and went looking for the party's hostess so I could say goodbye.
But Janet Kagan was nowhere to be found.
And, again, as always . . .
I'm on the road. This time to Denver for MileHiCon.
Tomorrow at 4, I think, I have a panel discussion with Shaenon Garrity, best known for the (highly recommended) Narbonic and Skin Horse comics. It's a pairing so obvious that I don't have to tell you what the topic will be.
I'm sure we'll have figured it out by then.
Be there or be square!
Above: Susan Casper. All her friends miss her terribly.
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