It's January. Almost February. Heck, it's 2023! It's been a busy and emotionally wearying few months and I've been re-evaluating my life and myself. I've been organising, making lists and doing some longer-term planning. One thing I have not been doing is writing. My 1000-word a day goal is shredded on the floor and I need a kick in the arse to write. So here goes nothing.

I spent a week at The Dryad's home while she was away, looking after her youngest and a whole passel of cats. I got to cook for someone every day, I got to feel responsible and it made me feel whole. I'm missing that sense of family, that outside energy that in turn powers and empowers me to be myself, and to be my best self. It was good. I felt good. Now comes the next phase, and it's a tough one. I wish I could pour out all my feelings about it here, but I'm not ready and I don't think she is either.

I decided to run another Brevity Quest. I hope it's fun. I will hopefully continue to write more fiction, even though the prospect terrifies me. There are two stories started and I have no idea what to do with them; they are loosely connected, in the same universe, but how to manage it? No idea. I also have seven million, twenty thousand one hundred and ninety-six draft poems, none of which I'm happy with. They say "space is hard" but poetry is harder.

Then again, I have been dreaming strange dreams. They say (well the Bible) says that "…your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions". I've had some corkers lately, which means I must be gettin' old. Let's face it, I am getting old; it turns out I'll be having another birthday soon. Next month, in fact. "It's funny", I thought as I looked in the mirror this morning, "I don't feel any older, other than a few more of the twinges that prophesy the oncoming storm". Yet the mirror doesn't lie to me. I look in the mirror and see my father's eyes. If I shaved my beard, my father would peer out critically at me. Meanwhile I'm creaky and cranky and I'm having strange dreams.

Two of them are memorable. In the first I woke up on a beach. Not a particular beach, but a very Hollywood rendition of one on the North Norfolk coast. The tide was out and the sand was covered in the usual beach trash, and crawly wriggly life. There were groups of people doing the things people did on my childhood seaside holidays. The children made sandcastles and buried one another in the sand, they poked in the tide pools at the tiny crabs and they collected shells; the grown-ups sat in their deckchairs with their books and newspapers, and cooked in the sun without sunscreen, while the teens griped about being bored and ice-creamless.

Someone came up to me and asked me my name and I realised that I did not know it. Not that I had forgotten it, but that I didn't have one. This person asked if they could give me one, and gave me one. Others gathered and each began giving me new names and I started writing them all down. There was quite a crowd bombarding me with names and I was overwhelmed so I walked away and up to the cliffs. Looking down on the throng on the beach I finally decided to dive into the sea. As I swam away I picked myself a name and was suddenly very happy.

I remember writing about my online name's origins recently. Perhaps I need to talk to myself about my real name and its meaning.

The second dream was odd for the detail I recall. I was sitting on a stone balcony in Norwich Castle, surrounded by people in sumptuous robes. The chair I was sitting in was made of petrified wood, and I realised that I was facing a huge crowd in a courtyard below. There was cheering and singing; I heard "Land of Hope and Glory" and "Jerusalem" and decided to join in, only to be told that it wasn't fitting. I was about to ask why when I realised that I was dressed in an ermine robe, and had on glorious boots, all filigree and macaroni. As I looked about me, I came to realise that these people were here for me. I was being honoured in some way and I didn't feel I deserved it. As I tried to get up I was told that I had to stay, that the ceremony had begun and that I was the focal point of it. Someone called me "Highness" and I felt a sudden sense of shame. I noticed that someone was holding a crown of gold with a dark blue velvet interior. It was set with swords, leaves and flowers, and here and there were tiny faces that remind me now of the Elfin Oak. As they walked to me to place the crown on my head, I got up and began running, only to realise (with impeccable dream perception) that I was on a bicycle with wings. I rode it at the edge of the balcony and flew over the crowd signing singing "Jerusalem" at the top of my voice.

I need help. Send tea and biscuits, and virtual hugs.

xclip -o | wc
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