This month, work took me to the windy city. Though sleep was hard to come by while there — with the sirens sounding, cars racing around at all hours, and industrial equipment turning on and off all night long — the change of scenery was still wonderfully refreshing.
I also enjoyed the opportunity to engage with colleagues on topics related to emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and copyright concerns (as more and more of what counts as “creative” relies upon engagement with algorithms and machine learning).
And when I returned from that work trip, just three days later, my home of nearly nine years seemed like a strange, foreign, and utterly magical place.
An overwhelming sense of having stepped into an alternate reality took hold.
Stumbling into other worlds is one of my favorite literary themes. It’s often the subject of my fiction works and so I’m very familiar with the territory.
With that context, coupled with extreme fatigue, my temporary disorientation upon coming home is easily explainable.
Yet the residue of “otherness” — of having been transported to an alternate dimension — still lingers.
Every so often I turn my head and see something so striking and other worldly that I keep asking myself if leaving and returning really did somehow change everything.
This morning, I arrived at an answer!
That few days of distance has changed my perspective entirely.
I am no longer seeing our landscape as it’s creator.
I am now seeing it as a traveler exploring some exciting new destination. So, reality hasn’t changed, but my perception of it has.
Although… Woody (my pet turkey) really does look a whole lot like an alien being. So, maybe I’ve been transported to an alternate reality after all!