You have a dream that you're running and the harder you run, the slower you move. Or you are ever colder, each moment you feel is the limit but then you are colder still. Or hot: The bead of water rolls down the rock face, a wet trail on sun-burned stria that never quite reaches your parched lips. Whenever you are about to get ahead your car throws a rod or your furnace coughs black. Two steps forward, one step back. Three more to take. You watch a pot. It is a week before she comes home and several weeks pass and it is still a week before she comes home. There are so many ways I could tell her I love her without actually saying it.
Somewhere in the last couple of months this weblog had its 10 year anniversary. It was emo and ill-written 10 years ago, and I’m sure at least one friend would still claim that it is. For me, browsing through the archives offers a good recapitulation of where and who I was, and how I’ve become who I am now; both in the things said, and the things left unsaid. It started out as a diary and emotional release during rough college times, and once in Cleveland, I became defined by, and accepted to some extent, my status as a “blogger”. I have what web design skills I have today directly because of this weblog. I spun off a few other weblog projects and became slightly “Tremont-famous”. It was the first peer group I became associated with in town, and I’m still friends with the best of them.
Along the way, different priorities asserted themselves and I became more interested in practical action than cyber-noodling. The frequency of posts dropped off as my focus became centered on my meat-space life. A few years ago this post would have been filled with detailed links to the archives, and much more omphaloskepsis. I have a confidence now that I didn’t have then, and part of the reason I have it is due to this site.
Here’s to another 10 years.
I You were born with a nest full of eggs in your chest laid by some alien queen mother at the dawn of time for that right resonant frequency and when her daughter speaks it an egg will wobble, microwave words heat it to hatching and a phoenix! and my chest is full of hot feathers pinions tickle my throat a rush. This gasping feeling, a tumult as claws grip the diaphragm I want it wants to burst forth and we will pell-mell toward her on golden wings and the ash from your passage will choke her throat. So stop! Swallow, larynx burning. But, after this crush, to hear her voice! We choose my words like unripe plums, red, round, supple skin but still hard. This one a breast, that the bole from which Adam was fashioned. She returns words in kind, a code of delicate disproportion. II It is too much to touch; each other, the twin bird we suspect nests in her chest, the easy word like a crocus in the crack of a sidewalk. III Yet not enough. To touch is to ripen; flesh bruised under my fingers, bite the hip, taste the waist. You shall all learn that I am my own kind of animal. IV Alien queen mother, strands of molecules spun, entangled in centuries to make us marionettes, your eggs take little sitting in your lust for children. V The right tone must not be thrown lightly. We're not all strong enough to wait.
One of the most interesting things about dreams is how we can hold them fully understood in our minds but, when we try to write them down, the structure collapses. This not only illuminates the imperfection of written or spoken communication, but also, more subtly, indicates the natural illogic and unreasonableness of our minds. A dream with that kind of clarity would be indistinguishable from reality.
I’m calling my newest recurring dream the Groundhog Dream, because it’s a bit like Groundhog Day, in that the general mechanics stay the same while the specifics alter with each repetition. First the dream, then the interpretation.
The dream always starts out in a place like Whiskey Island but much larger in scale, with many other people. We all travel to the shore to hear a rousing speech about fighting some kind of Evil. The Evil causes a shift, or glitch, in reality and everything is chaos. In the first instances of the dream, I was always in a wasteland without food and with companions who were just as confused as I was. The rest of the dreams would consist of wandering around looking for sustenance. Kinda OT Biblical.
In this latest version, my lucid dreaming kicked in a bit and I made sure to pack some food before going to the speech. This time the glitch still affected me, but Neil Gaiman was also aware that it was going to happen and had me and a few others fall into an alternate reality only tangentially like the Harry Potter universe. It was more like Harry Potter by P.G. Wodehouse. We ended up in this orrery where Neil Gaiman explained what the Evil had done, if not why (no one really knows why). The solving of the glitch involves helping as many people as possible find their way back to their proper place and doing it yourself in a certain amount of time. This is a bit like a video game.
We go to a train station where the only way to summon a train is to lie down on the tracks (kind of like how the easiest way to get sick is to mention how you’ve not been sick) Tootle the train shows up and hauls us to another station, where, in previous recurrences, I know that we’ll learn that one of my companions will die. So does Neil Gaiman, so we all take a bathroom break before walking past the mural that depicts this death.
Meanwhile, I find a pile of colorful construction paper cards and deflated latex balloons, and excitedly call everyone over to eat. These are sort of like the cards we’d have to make to send to nursing homes when I was in grade school, but were sent to us as support instead. We have to eat them because the longer we’re away from our rightful world, the more pale and lifeless we get, and the more we hunger for color and joy. We’d become unwitting joy vampires. When we eat these brightly colored stuff we become more human for awhile.
Paper and latex aren’t easy to eat though, and I find the balloons too hard to chew and get nauseated. At this time a new group shows up and joins in our feast. A girl I had a crush on in college appears, obviously with another man, who turns out to be an alternate universe version of me (though we look nothing alike), which is confirmed by the fact that he had the same website URL. This makes me feel lonely and I realize that my son Abraham has been affected by the glitch too, that he’s out there alone and needs me, and I realize just as there are multiple versions of me, there are multiple versions of Abraham and even if I can’t find my particular son, maybe I can find an alternate universe version to care for.
That’s it. I woke up and it was time to get ready for work.
There’s all kinds of stuff going on here, and I feel that I can identify both the foundational feeling and real world references to explain most of it. The foundational feeling is one of searching for a place I belong and be, in confidence and stillness. The train stuff is because Abraham talks about trains constantly, but it’s got a little bit of Stephen King Dark Tower going on as well. I can’t identify the reason for Neil Gaiman’s presence, but the balloons and construction paper is related to Abraham again. Alternate reality stuff is due to The Man From Primrose Lane. The game-like nature of avoiding impending traps and the recurrence are probably related to the fact I’ve been replaying Dragon Age 2. The crush is due to a crush.
I think this dream could be turned into a fairly good tale, but I’m certainly not the one to write it.