Combine a mild cold with 3-a.m. viewings of Toy Story 3 and a late night or three up scrapbooking,throw in some cold medications, and it leads to some weird dreams. I was listening to Chinese Man’s I Got That Tune just before I fell asleep last night, and it put me in the 1920s mood I so desperately seek when I sit down to work on my novel.
I ended up dreaming my recurring sad Detroit dream; the one where I go through the broken landscape of burnt-out homes and businesses, and for a moment see What Used To Be. Not that Detroit ever had such a glorious moment in history; even the 1920s were ripped apart by bootlegger crimes and young children carting booze in their schoolbags.
I have a very vivid, very real memory of going to a downtown intersection with my best friend Chris, and looking at the ruin of an old bike shop that still had her family’s name over the crumbled doorway. Tin ceilings showed through the rubble. Once, I thought, this was a real place, a livelihood, it’s the reason she and her father still pronounce “battery” as “bat-tree” and talk about “going begging” on Halloween.
I know all these bits and pieces about my hometown, but I feel I need to be honest about them when I write, even if what I am working on is part fantasy/part historic fiction. I need to get back to Detroit…what’s left of it. I always get the best vibes from the past when I’m immersed in the city.