"Cool dream!" my husband said. "Was it in any of the catalogs?"
Which is a reference to the first line of a book I love very much: Unquenchable Fire by Rachel Pollack. This was one of those novels that I went nuts about and lent to friends in a fervor, because I wanted the world to have read it. To my dismay, not everybody liked it. But I think you guys might. And because I love you, here are the first three paragraphs:
On the afternoon of the Day of Truth, eighty-seven years after the Revolution, Jennifer Mazdan, a server for the Mid-Hudson Energy Board, fell asleep and underwent a strange dream, one not found anywhere in the catalogues. Jennifer hadn't meant to sleep that afternoon. A respectable single woman who lived in a suburban hive development south of Poughkeepsie, some seventy miles north of New York City, she had planned to go to the recital and take her place among her neighbors. There she would listen to Allan Lightstorm, the great Picture Teller, recite one of the prime Pictures.
Like everyone else, Jennifer had passed the entire week in a state of high anticipation. It wasn't every year that an Allan Lightstorm came to a town like Poughkeepsie. Usually the Living Masters stayed in the huge Picture Halls of the big cities, or travelled to the national parks for the major recitals. Lightstorm himself had been expected to speak that year in the massive stone and stained glass hall on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Usually Poughkeepsie had to make do on the Day of Truth with its own three or four more prominent Tellers. There was Dennis Lily, who could speak with great passion, yet often gave so much stress to the Inner Meaning that he raced right through the story itself. And then there was Alice Windfall, 'poor Alice' as people called her. Alice had shown great promise in her early years, 'flying on wings of story' as the saying goes, so that all who heard her on the day she came back from college found themselves drifting into the air, like so many bright-coloured balloons, to look down upon their bodies sitting on the hillsides with the stooped shoulders and pained expression of their daily lives. But Alice never repeated that glorious moment. Maybe it was because of the scandal when Martin Magundo, the Town Comptroller, got his soul tangled up in the blades of a helicopter hired by German tourists to look down on the recital. Though an official inquiry cleared Alice completely, and Martin Magundo's family lost their lawsuit against Alice and the New York College of Tellers, poor Alice never did fulfil the early promise of her career. Now, years later, she had hardly kept her voice up. She still spoke on the important days; people went to hear here in the hop that the Living World might take pity on her and restore her powers. In fact, her voice often came out slurred and the rumour had spread that Alice got drunk before she had to appear in public.