Introduction to Excerpt from Green Music
The novel Green Music is about the intertstices between dreaming and reality, and interrogates the readers notion's about which is which. Are we most awake when we struggle to meet the terms of a cruel world or is it when we dive so deeply into ourselves that we unlatch forgotten doors to other realities? In Green Music, painter Susan and her desperate friend, the dreamer Marina, are pulled further into these explorations than they'd ever thought possible.
In this chapter, Susan travels to a seaside village in the other world she has so far only seen in her paintings and in dreams. Except this is a dream too, just so vivid it feels more real than her humdrum everyday existence meeting freelance deadlines in an underheated Toronto studio.
At what point does a dream subsume reality? Can it be even more real? And will Susan be able to get home to Earth? And does she even want to, now that she's met Stiv, a handsome boat builder who foresaw her coming?
Part 1 of “Painting Dream,” Chapter Nine of Green Music
Susan saw him coming from a long way off. He wore a red checkered shirt, blue jeans and boots; his long dark hair was tied in a ponytail. About to go in what looked like a hotel, he stopped, tilting his head to one side. A man stopping on his way through her dream, staring just a little as if there was something odd about her, as if he’d grown up playing a different game than she, but thought he might still like to teach her his rules. The man stared and stared, as if through layers of dream, or of glass. Like stop-motion photography, she thought inexplicably.
Wind turbines mounted high on tall poles lined this, what appeared to be the main street, powering, Susan guessed, gear-work mechanicals inside the compact wood-frame buildings. She peered through the heavy, uneven glass windows of storefronts and read signs; there was a smith, a tailor, a bakery, a pottery, a shoemaker, a sail-maker, and a furniture store, but of all these establishments the hotel was by far the biggest, and the man still stood there, his hand on the door as if he might go in, but not yet. Still looking at her look.
A stream tumbled down from hills that climbed behind the town, turned a huge wheel beside the hotel, ran under a bridge across the main, unpaved road, and down water carved steps to the sea, hidden behind a breakwater. She could hear the stream join the surf there, crashing against the water wall. The young man let the hotel door swing shut, was approaching her as she’d somehow known he would.
“Are you Susan?”
“Yes,” she said, pleased but somehow not surprised he knew her name, not here, not now.
“Care for a cold beer?” he asked. “I’m Stiv, by the way.”
“Hi Stiv,” she said, and “Cold beer sounds good.” Didn’t tell him she didn’t go for beer with strange men. But if a dreamboat invited you for a beer you had to go, didn’t you? Besides, he was beautiful. And he might be someone important. In the dream. In her painting. For Marina. In all three together; in her life. If she turned him down, explored the town alone, or tried to wake up, she’d never know if any of it was true. Of course he might yet turn out to be an evil astral murderer, and not a cute guy in handmade boots, smelling of sea spray and linseed oil.