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Excerpt from Some of It Was Real by Nan Fischer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Some of It Was Real

by Nan Fischer

Some of It Was Real by Nan Fischer X
Some of It Was Real by Nan Fischer
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    Jul 2022, 352 pages


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"He even has his own contract."

I kiss the crown of Moose's head and his tail thumps. My first therapist was the one who suggested I get a dog. The young woman who took me around the shelter walked right past Moose, like he was invisible. He ran forward, put a massive paw on the chain links. I pressed my hand to his pads, can still recall their warmth. We chose each other that day. I kept Moose but let that therapist go. Lucas said I could hire a new therapist if needed. Even in the early days, he was aimed at the stars. Celebrities can be ruined by all kinds of past relationships and unethical practitioners. Lucas was determined to keep skeletons out of my closet. He also quickly understood that I didn't want to dissect a past that left me feeling like a disappointment.

Now Lucas is right again—a TV show is the next step. It doesn't matter how I fell into this profession. Before, I always felt like my shoes were on the wrong feet. This fits, despite my fears. And the bottom line is that what I do helps people.

There's a knock. "It's time," a muffled voice says.

I grab a black marker and slip it into my pocket. "Gotta go."

Moose mouths the enormous, stuffed fuzzy bone he loves and carries it out of the room. On the walk from the dressing room to the wings of any stage, I go through the guided imagery the last therapist I quit designed. It helps me overcome the anxiety that began when I first started going onstage and became crippling as my success grew. Today an image slips through the carefully constructed peace ...

Pale sand beneath my feet, a blue-green ocean, foam nibbling at my bare toes. Behind me, a castle-ornate turrets dotted with pale pink shells, a drawbridge made from delicately curved driftwood, beneath it, a moat where tiny paper boats rock in the breeze. A wave gathers on the horizon. It grows taller and white horses gallop across its face. When the wall of salt water strikes, the castle will be destroyed and with it a treasure, something precious ...

The vision disintegrates. Ghostly lips brush my cheek. I know what's coming next. A whisper I've heard intermittently my entire life. When I tip my head, the unintelligible slides away. I crunch an antacid to quell my burning gut then wait for the cue to step onstage and begin my show ...


Music flows through the theater's surround sound—a symphony of instruments that slowly builds. An intricate dance of multicolored laser lights traverses the empty stage then dry-ice vapor rolls across wooden boards and spotlights turn curls of smoke violet, azure, and emerald. The smoke dissipates, frenetic lights slow their search; the symphony strikes its crescendo. I walk to the center of the stage just as the last notes fade away, wait for the applause to thin and people to take their seats.

One hand on my dog's sleek, black head, I start. "Thank you for coming. I'm Sylvie Young and this handsome guy beside me is Moose. I get a bit nervous before each show and he helps with that, so I hope you don't mind him being here?" There are murmurs of encouragement. "Every psychic has an origin story that reveals when and how we first recognized our abilities. That might be when we predicted a grandparent's passing, delivered a message to the living only the dead could possibly know, or found a lost object, pet, or child. We must then choose whether or not to use our gift." My eyes scan the theater. Almost every seat is taken. "I never planned to be a psychic or stand on a stage. Sometimes where I've landed is overwhelming. Truly. But what's most important is that when someone asks me to connect with those they loved and lost, I will do anything to make that happen."

I let this promise settle then continue. "My gift appeared when I was eighteen, living in San Francisco, and had just worked a double waitressing shift, food stains on my T-shirt, the smell of fried food in my hair. On the long walk back to a basement apartment, I stopped in the funky Haight-Ashbury neighborhood to rest on a bench. A few feet away, outside a magic shop named Abracadabra, a young guy read tarot at a rickety metal table. He was flying by the seat of his pants, but he had a gift for weaving stories. After a funny reading, I giggled. The tarot reader laughed, too, we chatted for a bit, then he scribbled a sign that read psychic $5 on a folded piece of cardboard and dared me to sit in the chair beside him. I took the seat, assumed no one would waste money on me.

Excerpted from Some of It Was Real by Nan Fischer. Copyright © 2022 by Nan Fischer. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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