“Perchance to dream…
Childhood dreams come true in this intriguing time travel story with a difference.
Eileen has always had a crush on an actor from her childhood, Cal, who by now is in his eighties, while she is in her twenties.
By coincidence, they meet at one of her concerts as she’s a professional musician and later, a medical experiment gives Eileen the opportunity to go back in time and live in an alternative reality with a younger Cal in a dream world, but only for the duration of the experiment. Both will have to resume their real lives when they leave the dream life.
Vohn sets the scene well for this unusual and unconventional story, firstly telling us about Eileen’s infatuation with Cal and his films, but also bringing us into the here and now of a woman pursuing her musical career, and introducing her current life and her friends. We learn about her relationships with men, and through the point of view of her friends, we realise the extent of her obsession with Cal.
It’s a complex story, and, Vohn progresses it in different ways, not just by bringing Cal deeper into the story, but by using part of the scripts for one of his films as a medium for developing the narrative and deepening our understanding of the characters and the two conflicting eras that Eileen comes to inhabit.
Despite the quite different and drastic changes in scenes, time, and characters, the story keeps moving smoothly, and throughout, we follow Eileen’s troubled journey. Although the story is told in the first person, other characters, primarily Eileen’s friends and professional colleagues, are used to build up a bigger picture of her character and feelings, both through their dialogue and their actions. Vohn skilfully uses her secondary characters to add richness and detail.
Cal’s character is portrayed as always flawed, and Eileen always had an ideal in her mind. The big question posed by this novel was, what would happen in dreamland when she met the real Cal, not just the actor on the screen, the movie star of her childhood and teenage fantasies. And then, both Eileen and Cal have to face the even bigger question—how to resume their pre-dream life. For me, one of the strengths of the story was how Eileen tried to immerse herself back in her former life while struggling with wanting to still live with her dream life. Again, Vohn conveyed the raw feelings here with sensitivity and a certain sense of bleakness, as Eileen accepts the inevitable.
It’s a powerful and emotional story with no easily predictable ending, but there was perhaps only one realistic ending for a story like this. 4 stars.“
What That Means: “Our editors award the Awesome Indies Badge of Approval to indie books that meet mainstream standards of quality. Readers buy our books safe in the knowledge that every one is a professional product. We are the unique voices of quality independent fiction.” Tahlia Newland, founder.
I’m thrilled! And currently working on re-vamping my two previously-published novels so that they are of the same level of quality as TIALT. A big, heartfelt thanks to Tahlia and the reviewers at AI for providing such a wonderful opportunity to indie writers.
” I wanted to smell that burnt midnight again, I wanted to feel that wind. It was a secret wanting, like a song I couldn’t stop humming, or loving someone I could never have. ” -Janet Fitch
It’s easy to want what’s not real.
When all you ever know of someone
that beautiful sad longing
they let you see
How it makes their hearts hurt
to look at you.
They are not wise to your bad days
and You can lie
and say that
that pedestal you can never fall from
Because no one so consumed
with the contours of someone’s face
could ever get distracted by the mortgage bill
or grow bored of your bed.
You imagine sunsets in the canyon
love-making on fallen leaves
that being someone’s
would mean never losing that look.
Like all they see is the best in you
like they wouldn’t forget how your skin saved them
like “time and a place” would never roll across their tongue
like their good morning’s and good night’s would be
their cries like music
And those sentiments wouldn’t stiffen with age
or wither with disuse.
That someone you can never have
doesn’t need to be reminded that
being loved is not a chore.
Yet when our souls grow sick of our bodies
and our bodies grow sick of ourselves
it’s no surprise that passion wanes
that wanting begs to be treasured in its transience
that to hear that
twin soul melody
is as haunting
as loving someone
you can never have.
Mom always said
give your father a hug.
As if I were oblivious to
the cringe in your skin
eyes glued to the television.
I won’t speak of the years
spent wondering what must have been
so wrong with me
to make a father
from the arms of his daughter.
For all I know now of your demons
I’d say I’d got off easy
–It took you twenty-one years
to ever say to my face
that you loved me–
And although I know
you did the best that you
knew how to do
I need to acknowledge
that no amount
of strange men’s
or willing skin
could ever fit
that empty space between my arms
that your brokenness
could not fill.
That Someone Else
knows no fear
She wouldn’t have hyperventilated on
step 350 of steel, see-through grates
leading down to the hollowed core of a glacier
would never get to see
but would regret
collapsed in a lawn chair
breathing lavender air
instead of living
Fear’s bitch not its master.
She’d sleep through a night
without having to exorcise
riotous whispers with psalms
harbingers of doom that speak in
tunnel vision darkness
She is someone who kills on contact
before the path caves in.
Someone who would rather regret
what is said
what remains unspoken
whose words spit affection
Someone who can love without the burden of want
build bridges not walls
make hummus not wars
busy living instead of dying
putting old demons to rest.
I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you died
You were one of my favorite people
the one who would let me sit in your lap for hours
reading me the same old stories
you’d let me lay on the horn of your old pickup the whole way down the road, which I thought was the best thing ever.
judgment or cruelty
were foreign concepts
and love was an easy smile
a quiet contentment
unspoken between two bashful souls
afraid of words
who could never speak it
but when it came to you and me
the important stuff was just understood.
and for a little girl whose father used “bitch”, “stupid”, “ignorant”
as pet names
your love was a thing
you were the closest thing to father-love that I ever got.
And how did I repay you for that?
by telling myself that heart attack victims surely died right away or not at all
by flaking on more than one hospital visit, thinking I’d see you when you got home
By letting you die, wondering why
the person who understood you best
never showed when you needed them most
How a 5:30 am phone call
couldn’t shatter my denial. How a funeral on my 15th birthday didn’t
til I saw your casket.
And afterwards, when J— and I were put on suicide watch with Nana; an entire year spent taking turns alone with her night after night
a fifteen-year-old girl and a twelve-year-old boy
trying to fill adult shoes
fill the emptiness you’d left
stuffing our own grief out of reach because at least we weren’t trying to fucking kill ourselves
and who consoles grieving children when the entire support system is grieving themselves? or screaming about how they wished they were dead
looking to kids for comfort we didn’t have words for
and with you gone
no one left who understood my silence
that same silence that would rage in me
years of sleepless nights
numb nerve endings
dread that permeated my skin like the damp mold of your grave
it took three long years to come out of it
not realizing how easy I got off until I started counting the scars down J—‘s arms and legs
both of us trying to confound our demons
with temporary sacrifices
I spent many nights praying he wouldn’t die
afraid my silence would cause it
or my voice hasten it
I knew the memories he wanted to escape
But…my guilt over letting you down, it’s kept me rooted
helped me stand by him through it
it showed me the selfishness I had to kill
along with my predilection for silence
to be calm in the face of death
because yours was so
I know what it is to face the worst, not just to lose someone you loved but someone you needed
and I think you’d be proud of me
because I sang to Grandma when she could no longer speak
and on Christmas day I sat by your brother’s deathbed
I whispered hymns and told him how jealous I was that he’d get to see you soon; even Dad showed, we made sure he didn’t die alone.
It’s my life’s burden that every time I think of you
now that I’m no longer
afraid of words
that to tell you I love you,
that your love was everything,
that I’m sorry I let you down
will just have to remain
those things between us