On people and peninsulas.

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Lately, I’ve been thinking about the people in my life. I mean that I’ve been thinking about my friends and acquaintances and colleagues, the relationships that have the most mobility to them. People move in and out of our lives, for better or for worse, and I think it’s comforting for us to rationalize why someone who was near and dear to us one month could be a stranger the next.

It’s not that I’m afraid of change, but endings make me sad. And I try to tell myself that just because something ends, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth its beginning. I have a real problem dealing with my “all or nothing at all” mentality. It’s incredibly difficult for me to believe that just because a person is no longer my friend doesn’t mean he or she never was.

What is it exactly that makes people incompatible? Nora Ephron, in her book I Feel Bad About My Neck, presents her readers with “The Peninsula Story,” and it goes a little something like this: There is a married couple who live on a deserted peninsula. One day, the man’s mother comes to stay with the couple but the man leaves on a business trip. With her husband gone, the woman is eager to see her lover but cannot have him at her home because of her husband’s mother. So the woman takes a ferry to the mainland, has amazing sex with her lover, and lets time get away from her. She realizes she has to get home, but it’s late, and she misses the last boat. Desperate, she begs with the ferryboat captain to make an exception and take her to the deserted peninsula. He says he will but only if she pays him six times the normal fare. She doesn’t have the money so she starts walking home and along the way, she is raped and killed by a stranger.

So the question is: who is responsible for the woman’s death, and in what order? Is it the woman, the husband, the husband’s mother, the lover, the ferryboat captain, or the rapist?

And the trick is that if you ask your friends, they will likely all answer differently and reveal a lot about themselves. I wonder if it’s worth the risk of asking.

Comment with your answers to “The Peninsula Question” and maybe I’ll share mine.

On interpretations and story lines.

The other night, I had a dream that I was in the shower and all my nail polish washed off in the water. I was pissed because in real life, I had just had a manicure and a pedicure and it totally stressed me out. When I woke up, I had forgotten the dream until I saw the red polish still on my fingernails as I reached for my phone (a terrible habit I need to break – summer objective #1!). I Googled “dream symbols nail polish” and as you can imagine, an overwhelming amount of information popped up. Some of the interpretations claimed to see nail polish in a dream meant the dreamer was focused on beauty and attention to detail. Other interpretations took it a step further and said that if the polish was a unique color (like blue or green or purple) then it showed the dreamer’s free spirit. But the interpretation I found that made sense to me was about how seeing nail polish in a dream meant the dreamer was dealing with rumors and “dirty words.” In my personal life, I’ve lost a close friend recently because this person told others that I hated them and said horrible things. I’ve been bitter and angry as a result, so the dream makes sense in that context.

But does that make the interpretation accurate? Does it have any merit, or am I just choosing what applies to me because I can only really look for what I am already seeing?

More recently, I had a dream where mice were running all over my feet and I was beside myself. I took to Google once again and was met with many different interpretations … again. But the website I settled on readily admitted that there are many unique interpretations for seeing mice in a dream, but that seeing mice in a dream was more often than not a bad sign. It mentioned mice representing feelings of inadequacy and of not being good enough, and the fear of being used, all of which are currently extremely relevant to me and what’s been going on in my personal life.

Are these really signs, or do people really only see what they look for?

I don’t know. Personally, I’m always looking for signs and I do believe there are miracles. But as I grow older, I find I have more and more trouble trusting myself. It is an incredibly frustrating sensation. And when it happens, I like to imagine I’m someone else to rectify the situation. I’ll ask myself, “What would Carrie Bradshaw do?” or “What would Harry Potter do?” or “What advice would Jane Eyre have?” I think of characters I admire and go from there. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing because maybe, just maybe, ink and pen and paper are stronger materials than blood and bone.

I bring up characters to ask about story lines. My prompt for this week is to: “Ask for fans’ favorite story lines and see if they have ideas or suggestions regarding what should happen next.” So for the next post, I’ll share more of my current project and ask for thoughts on what should happen next. But for this week, just tell me some of your favorite story lines. One of mine is from the SyFy network’s show “Haven” (based on The Colorado Kid by Stephen King … no surprise there, right?). The show was filled with “troubled” people, whose anxieties and fears and desires manifested into supernatural abilities. I thought it was a clever spin on the whole “sheriff in a small town” trope. And I fell in love with the character of Duke Crocker, played by Eric Balfour. (I should mention that I’ve always been attracted to men, both real and imagined, that have dark hair and dark eyes, and who are mostly assholes (from Michael Scott in “The Office” to Duke Crocker on “Haven,” and despite both shows being on Netflix, they couldn’t be any more different in plot and theme and genre. I hope that illustrates the depth of my issue)).

So let’s get talking! Please comment about your favorite story line from books and/or movies and/or television, and maybe it’ll be inspiring for all those aspiring writers out there (myself included!).