August Aspirations: Monthly Missives from The Dream Pedlar

This one is for the days when magic feels elusive, even when we know we can only look inward for it.

August Aspirations: Monthly Missives from The Dream Pedlar
Sunrise at Paletta

Hello again, Dreamer!

After the burst of excitement that July brought – long days of blue skies and summer sunshine, a vacation, and a new book release – August has been a rather quiet month. A sort of lull between the feral freedom of July and the back-to-school frenzy of September.

And with little D not being so little anymore, now that he's grown more eager to discover the world of summer camps, I've had much time to indulge in my two favourite pastimes in a hiatus: gazing out of the window, and reading.

But let's begin at the beginning, because this month it all began with The Sandman! The screen adaptation of Neil Gaiman's beloved comic book series was, like its main protagonist himself, an utterly gorgeous dream!

I haven't read The Sandman comics, but I've read almost everything else Gaiman has written. In fact, stumbling across Gaiman's novels and short stories more than a decade ago was what brought me to writing fantasy in the first place.

I remember the delight of reading Neverwhere, and just when I thought this must have been the best novel I'd ever read, I picked up Anansi Boys and was completely blown away.

When I finished reading it, I went for a walk in the neighbourhood – this was in Singapore where we were living at the time – wondering what would happen if I were to go and knock on the door of this house at the end of the street that had been lying empty for months.

It wasn't abandoned. It wasn't boarded up or anything. But it was empty. Lights did not come on, its windows were never opened, and no voices spilled out on to the street. And I often wondered if all I needed to do was knock or ring the doorbell and someone would come to the door and let me in to a secret party that was going on in full swing even though you couldn't tell looking in from the outside.

Around the same time, I came across Erin Morgenstern's flax-golden tales and The Night Circus, and I was convinced that magic was to be found in the suburbs of North America. In the blood-red and golden leaves of its fall, in the unhurried flakes of snow of its winter, in the psychedelic-green leaves of its spring, in the beach waves, criss-crossing contrails, and popsicle tongues of its summer.

How right I was! And how wrong, too!