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What the hell is that about?!

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Read the title of this post again, but do it the way Nathan Lane says it in The Producers during “Betrayed.”

If you haven’t seen Nathan Lane in The Producers you definitely should. He’s amazing.

Also, one time I saw him getting into his car and I yelled, “Yay, you’re awesome!” and he for real did not want to be recognized and just before he closed the door he said to his driver, “Let’s go, let’s go,” and I was like, yes. This is a moment I will treasure forever.

And I do to this very day.

Anyway, I had the absolute most fucked up dream I’ve ever had in my life. This is where I put the CW: Suicide but it’s like, more about the weirdness of the dream, I guess? Just heads up.

I know how much everyone wants to listen to other people describing their dreams for no apparent reason, so let’s dive on in.

The dream took place in a lot of different locations in what I consider the “Jenny’s Dreams Cinematic Universe.” There are common places in my dreams that I visit more than once and I’m familiar with all of them. A haunted house. A maze of country dirt roads. A blend of New York and Grand Rapids that has the Mackinac Bridge in it for some reason. My old high school. A mall. There’s even a baseball stadium and an amusement park, a lake, both sets of grandparents’ houses, my childhood house, a cemetery, it’s just this elaborate dream world and my dreams sometimes take place in it. But ever since we’ve been quarantined, I haven’t been able to leave these dream locations. And I’ve been bizarrely half-lucid in almost all of them.

It’s getting pretty fucking boring.

So boring that my dream self has become suicidally depressed.

I spent last night’s dream visiting these various dream locations and telling the people I met there that I wanted to kill myself. Or I’d make a grim little joke about killing myself. And nobody cared. And it didn’t bother me that they didn’t care until I woke up and went, “What the hell is that about?!”

First of all, there’s no need for concern. My dream is not going to come true. I know there are a lot of situations where that phrase applies in the history of my life but trust me, this time it’s not prophecy. Because I woke up like, damn. Dream me has it fucking rough. She is in bad shape.

Meanwhile, real me is killing it. I edited an entire manuscript in a day. I can watch the news without falling entirely apart. I’ve taken breaks to watch TV shows, not just playing them in the background while I try to concentrate on something else. Seriously, what is happening to dream me?

Another aspect of the dream last night concerned my annual writing retreat. I know I explain it every year but over-explaining is something of a talent of mine so just ride it out if you already know what I’m talking about. Every year, a group we refer to as the “Ladies of the Lake” converge in Gay, Michigan, to stay in a cabin with little-to-no cell signal, no wifi, no phone, and most importantly, no people. We spend the time writing and enjoying each other’s company and despite the insistence of Mr. Jen, “lesbian shit” has yet to occur but hope springs eternal. Because our governor eased regulations, we will be making the trip this year after all, with some changes like quarantining ourselves before and after travel, not going to any restaurants or stores in the U.P., bringing masks and hand sanitizer for when we have to stop for gas or potty, all that end-of-the-world, fleeing-civilization jazz. Usually, I can get some pretty serious writing done up there. The past two years? Ehhhhh not so much. But there have been times I’ve written 10k to 20k words per day up there.

Okay, the time I did 20k I got a tension headache and I had to go to the hospital.

Plus, there are only going to be three of us this time, rather than six, so even less distraction, unless it turns out that five other people are needed to supervise me. In which case, we never make this mistake again.

Anyway, I dreamed that we were on the retreat, which is now ten days away. And I’m freaking out because suddenly I realize that it is Thursday of our Saturday-to-Saturday retreat and I haven’t written a single word.

I woke up sweating. Chills racing all over my body.

We have reached the point in 2020 where I’m having suicidal stress dreams about things I look forward to and enjoy doing.

I went to the shower. I doubled over. I shouted at the top of my lungs:


What I guess this post is saying is, my birthday panic comes earlier every year. Death stands behind me. Owls are starting to seem suspicious to me. I don’t know how to use my TV. Immortality beckons.

That’s it. There’s not really any wrap up here but a couple people told me I should post whatever I want and I did and now you’re all suffering for it. But I’m seriously considering consulting a therapist in my dreams.

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Here for the first time because you’re in quarantine and someone on Reddit recommended my Fifty Shades of Grey recaps? Welcome! Consider checking out my own take on the Billionaire BDSM genre, The Boss. Find it on AmazonB&NSmashwords, iBooks, and Radish!


  1. Angela AW
    Angela AW

    I’m wondering if your dreams and dream self are a total mess right now because your waking self is in a good place. You’ve been dealing with a lot of shit for a long time now and maybe you’re trying to bring a balance to your total self. I haven’t studied any psychology or dreams but my Hungarian grandma was a card reader and interpreted dreams and I’ve been told I take after her.

    June 10, 2020
  2. Maybe it’s a version of Dorian Gray? Instead of your age being displaced onto a picture in your attic and leaving you eternally young, your not-copingness is being displaced onto your dream self and leaving you coping with stuff really well.

    Yay on the manuscript editing! And happy birthday for when it comes! I’ve just had my 50th and, if it’s any help, my 40s were a positive decade overall; I mean, a bunch of shit stuff happened, it was just that it was a decade when I got a lot better at facing it with equanimity, dignity, and calm assertiveness. (That didn’t help with the shit stuff, but it did mean I was significantly better at coping with it.)

    June 10, 2020
  3. Melodie

    Sally: And I’m gonna be FORTY?
    Harry: When?
    Sally: Someday!
    Harry: IN EIGHT YEARS.

    June 10, 2020
  4. Maile

    I’ve been there on the 40th birthday. It gets better, eventually.

    June 10, 2020
  5. Anonymous

    See? This is what I needed today. I hope you got some value out of sharing, if only to clear it out of your brain. Thank you, Jenny.

    PS: From the other side of forty, it’s sometimes not as terrible as you’ve heard.

    June 10, 2020
  6. Eclairmaiden

    Doesn’t the amount of aging panic often depend on how many of the general milestones you’ve reached, like having a career, a spouse and kids? In that regard you’re doing better than many, I should think. Long as you don’t start to wear leopard patterns and use makeup excessively – because those are same as screaming to everyone that you are feeling old and trying to cover it up – you’ll be fine.

    Also, nice to hear you’re going for the cabin, even if it’s with precautions. Have fun!

    June 11, 2020
  7. Elena Pierce
    Elena Pierce

    Forty? You mean like the boss in that hypocritical trash you wrote, called The Boss?

    The couple first meet when she’s 18 and he’s 42. We’re in “barely legal teens!” territory here, and while this could be handled sensitively, it’s really really not. They’re at an airport, and in the course of the evening, she has her first ever encounter with kinky sex, he steals her plane ticket (forcing her to change her university choice!) and leaves four thousand dollars on the nightstand.

    Compounding this horrendous power inequality, he then becomes her boss six years later and pretends to “forget” about their previous sexual encounter.

    You complain about Jamie McGuire and other hacks using shit like slut-shaming and glorifying abuse in their books, but you literally wrote THIS?

    Maybe you should take the beam out of your own eye before you criticize other authors? It’s because of women like you that the rest of us look bad. Stop giving incel/alt-right/etc idiots ammo and start writing meaningful stuff about women, real women, not something that looks like a man’s cliche sexual power fantasy.

    June 12, 2020
    • Jenny Trout
      Jenny Trout

      Ma’am, this is an Arby’s.

      June 12, 2020
    • Holly Blacks Bitch
      Holly Blacks Bitch

      What man has the power fantasy of leaving 4K on the nightstand so that the MC can still buy another plane ticket?

      June 12, 2020
    • @Elena: Gonna rant here.

      ‘The couple first meet when she’s 18 and he’s 42. We’re in “barely legal teens!” territory here, and while this could be handled sensitively, it’s really really not.’

      She lies to him and tells him she’s 25 in order to get him to sleep with her. Stupid behaviour from her, but from his point of view he’s sleeping with a 25-year-old adult who approached him and has been open about what she wants (and, in fact, he’s right about all of that except for her age). He suggests sex after they’ve been openly flirting; when her initial reaction is shocked, he’s immediately apologetic, backs off, and puts no pressure on her.

      ‘ They’re at an airport, and in the course of the evening, she has her first ever encounter with kinky sex,’

      ….all of which is done with discussion about what she is or isn’t OK with, safewords, and consent, and it’s made clear (with this and with the sex throughout the subsequent books) that this isn’t some sort of boring mood-killer but a necessary, important, and even sometimes quite hot part of what goes on.

      ‘he steals her plane ticket (forcing her to change her university choice!) and leaves four thousand dollars on the nightstand.’

      The plane ticket thing was a dick move (well-motivated, but a dick move; he could have talked to her directly about his concerns about her). It’s made clear that he does regret this and apologises. The money didn’t enter the picture until after they’d slept together, so it didn’t affect the power balance; it wasn’t as if he’d offered her the money to try to persuade her to have sex.

      ‘Compounding this horrendous power inequality, he then becomes her boss six years later and pretends to “forget” about their previous sexual encounter.’

      No, he doesn’t. He doesn’t recognise her six years later when seeing her in a completely different context, but he remembers the encounter and immediately realises who she is when she throws a few words at him to remind him.

      She’s the one who suggests restarting the sexual relationship, and she does so only after they’ve arranged for her to move into a different job. They don’t wait until she *has* moved to a different job, and I agree that that’s not a good thing… but, again, none of this involves him using his position to leverage sex in any way, shape or form. Also, the whole thing with her still working for the company while sleeping with him does go pretty much tits-up by the end of ‘The Boss’; I’ve forgotten the details as it’s a while since I read that one, but, as I recall, the whole thing with them having a sexual relationship while she works for the company doesn’t work out well and is shown to be a mistake.

      ‘You complain about Jamie McGuire and other hacks using shit like slut-shaming and glorifying abuse in their books, but you literally wrote THIS?’

      Jamie McGuire and other hacks do indeed use slut-shaming and glorifying abuse. I’ve been doing a chapter-by-chapter review of ‘Walking Disaster’, and it repeatedly slut-shames women for wanting casual sex even while the hero’s doing exactly the same. He pushes boundaries with the heroine all the time even though she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want sex. He can’t just talk sensibly with her about what he wants. He flips out when he hears her saying something negative about him, even though it’s true and he knows it; he loses his shit completely, storms round his room in a rage, and goes off to drown his sorrows in alcohol. In the chapter I most recently reviewed, he threatens to do something that’ll land him in prison ‘for a very long time’ if he finds out the woman he wants is having sex with her new boyfriend. Then he has an alcoholic blackout and the next bit gets really glossed over, but I read it in the woman’s-POV novel and it’s rapey as hell. All this is presented as romantic. YES, shit like this needs to be called out.

      Jenny, meanwhile… Her characters focus a great deal on consent and on open discussion. They screw up sometimes but this gets called out and ends up being used as an opportunity to learn and grow. I love her books as fantastic examples of people having healthy relationships and using their words to sort stuff. It’s OK if they’re not to your taste… there are points in them I don’t like either. But, no, the fact that she writes about couples with a big age difference or couples that screw some stuff up and acknowledge it and work things out does not make her somehow worse than writers who actually do glorify abuse and slut-shaming.

      June 29, 2020
  8. Tessany

    Off topic but Nathan Lane has been killing it in the new Penny Dreadful season (City of Angels. He plays a jewish cop in L.A. partnered with the force’s first ever chicano Cop.) And the police as a whole? Not protrayed as good guys.

    June 13, 2020
  9. Masha

    My last dream was about Rachel Maddow chasing Anakin Skywalker from Warsaw to Hong Kong. Hope that made you smile 😉

    June 14, 2020
  10. Enjoy your writing retreat! And keep in mind: The alternative to “more birthdays” is “no more birthdays”, so as long as you keep getting older, you’re fine. <3

    June 15, 2020

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