- The Parliament House
Deeper Into Dreams: August Prather Is Not Dead Yet
Hi, Parliament Monsters!
Today we'll delve back into the realm of dreams—but this time, alongside our authors. Since the dreamworld has always been a source of fantasy, superstition, and emancipation from daily humdrum, it is no wonder a handful of our writers include it in their work.
Not all types of dreams occur while we sleep; daydreams help us discover the transformative realization of what we should let go of, in order to move forward.
What and whom we wish to become.
While two characters share a profound epiphany, author Danielle K. Roux describes what it means to dream beyond one's limits in her excerpt of August Prather Is Not Dead Yet (2018).
In a graveyard outside Savannah, August and Garnet lay on top of the worn slabs of the dead looking up at the sky. Garnet was wearing a lavender sweater dress with a gold belt at the waist
that she had borrowed from August. August was wearing a white cotton dress, the skirt fluttered around her like a cloud when she stood.
“What do you think happens when you die?” August whispered.
“I don’t know.”
“Do you think it’s better than any of this?” She frowned. “Or worse?”
“Do I think what’s better?”
“I suppose it’s just different.”
“Could it be the same?”
“No . . . no, I don’t think it’s the same.”
“That woman really made me mad. That woman at your uncle’s funeral. Asking about what we did. As though it is that simple. As though we just do something. And that’s it. It’s like asking children what they want to be when they grow up. They mean what do you want to do. Not what you want to be. It’s different.” August shielded her eyes from the sun.
“What did you want to be?” Garnet glanced at her, lying there like she was waiting for something to happen.
“Don’t laugh but . . . I wanted to be a bird.” August got up, the wind trailing her dress around her body. She lifted herself up into the low-hanging branches of an oak with the grace of something capable of flight.
“A bird?” Garnet followed her, climbing up, almost losing her balance, then carefully sitting down beside her.
“Yeah. I wanted to be able to fly. Go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.” August plucked a leaf, twirling it between her fingers. “I mean, people fly now, but it isn’t the same . . . with airplanes and rocket ships and hang gliders. But it’s not the same way that birds fly. If I was a bird I could just spread my wings and jump. I could see the whole world if I wanted, go as high into the clouds as I dared. The only thing limiting me would be how far I could carry myself.”
“You would be above the world.” Garnet looked up through the canopy to a spot of gold over them. “You would be free from it all.”
“Yes. And on top of that, on top of all that, I could sing. It doesn’t matter the kind of bird or who the bird is as an individual, I’ve never met a bird who couldn’t sing. I would fly cross the lands, singing my song for people to hear. And maybe they would listen. But even if they didn’t I would still have it for myself.”
“People can sing,” Garnet noted.
“I can’t.” She dropped the leaf. It wafted to the ground.
“Sure, you can,” Garnet encouraged.
“Nope. I totally can’t,” she insisted. “Well, I mean, it is possible. But that doesn’t mean I should do it.”
“If it’s possible and you want to, why not do it?”
“Because your ears will bleed,” she smirked.
“They won’t, come on. I bet your voice isn’t all that bad.”
“Fine . . . but you have to do it too,” August gave in.
“This is stupid . . . fuck. What should I sing?” She laughed nervously.
“Anything. Just sing.”
“Fine, fine . . . um . . . Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream . . . merrily, merrily, merrily . . . merrily . . . life is but a dream.” She closed her eyes and let it pass.
“You don’t sound bad.” Garnet had been closing her eyes too.
“Shut up. You do it too.”
“Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream,” Garnet started.
August’s eyes seemed to get larger, she seemed to be waking up from some long, deep, sleep. “Merrily, merrily, merrily,
merrily, life is but a dream.”
“Garnet?” she whispered.
“Can you also fly?”
August Prather Is Not Dead Yet, by Danielle K. Roux
"Katherine Garnet is a writer who has never cared much about much, making it awfully difficult to create new content. Despite the fact she has the “edge” of being trans (according to her cis male editor) she is not looking to capitalize on her own personal story. Garnet tries to sneak a peek at her rival, August Prather’s, latest fantasy manuscript about a quest for the elixir of life. While reading, Garnet gets accidentally dragged into a bizarre cross-country road trip that may or may not have a purpose and begins to see parallels in the story of the manuscript and the reality of their journey. Along the way, they encounter a parade of equally troubled individuals, including ghost-hunting priests, a robot magician, a discarded piece of furniture, a runaway teenager, and a Japanese rock star. As Garnet confronts her past, she begins to understand why someone might want to live forever."
Blurb from Goodreads. Add it to your TBR list today!