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Hailing from the remote wilds of Washington, D.C., Tom Viehe is no stranger to dreaming. Like many writers, he writes of writing, of creating an escape from the vapid, lazy river of everyday life, of the mesmerizing imprints of raindrops on thunderous windows, of the euphoria in defending your favorite childhood fort from some fabricated enemy.

I picture you nodding your head in assent to one or more of the above, dear reader.

For me, there’s a powerful nostalgia from building those childhood forts: youth spent forging new stories among the evergreen pines in my grandparents’ sloping backyard with the infamous—to us kids—big rock at its base. The memories are tinted with the smell of freshly cut grass and Country Candle’s Blueberry Muffin votives.

After all, what are dreams if not creative leaps from our current circumstances?

So, what’s behind the door to your own literary-fueled fantasyland, dear reader?

While it’s ultimately up to you to twist the knob and pull the door open, how about a nudge in the right direction? I’ve compiled my own fave five list of Tom’s Prompt pieces. Where else could you get a 7-step process for finding your own hidden fantasyland, confront the terrors of the outdoors, and learn how to get back in touch with friends, family, and colleagues with which you’ve lost contact?

But before you leave me, dear reader, let me first take you on a brief journey in verse, a poem composed from the titles of all of Tom’s Prompt pieces—a modern-day ode, if you will.

The Hidden Portal

Spring into the great outdoors—your fantasyland—
before Alexa, the robots, the white noise
pull you back in
and the sweet dream of days off
becomes past tense
and loses its effect.

Is the effort worth it?

If you’re wrestling with an incomplete and growing list of

a) calls to complete
b) people you’ve lost touch with
c) terrors of the evening.

Don’t know where to start?

Listen to the lazy river

And dream.

This is where I leave you; so, what prompts you to dream like Tom?

Shalen’s Fave Five from Tom Viehe:

Shalen Lowell

Shalen Lowell is an author and poet from southern Maine. They were also voted least likely to be an ENTJ Slytherin, but here we are.

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