The Writing River

I’ve often compared fiction writing to boating on a river. Sections can be treacherous, tumultuous, and troubling, while other stretches are smooth but fast moving pieces. Then there are those that are slower and languid.

I’m on a fast, smooth stretch this week (knock on wood). A character in concert with a muse knows where we’re going and has assumed command. All I need to do is keep up with her and type, and then revise and edit for continuity, pacing, and grammar.

It’s not always like this – I’ve had lots of other experiences – so I’m accepting this, and carrying on. I don’t see or hear any rapids ahead on this writing river, but I never know what I find after the next bend.

Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.


Afflooftion (catfinition) – a person, cat, or other animal who demonstrates affection toward other animals

In use: “Although a misanthrope, she demonstrated great afflooftion for her three cats and two pit bulls, along with any cat or dog she encountered, bestowing kisses, strokes and soothing words on all. Woe to any human who expected the same for them. All she gave them was a hard scowl.”

The Shoeless Dream

I call it the Shoeless Dream, but it was an involved and multi-layered excursion featuring music, family, red ants, and strangers, besides the shoes.

I know exactly the shoes involved, too. They’re still in my closet, and I wear them once in a while. They’re a pair of coffee brown suede Oxfords.

Thinking about how long I’ve had them, I realize that it’s now twenty years. That amazes me. I can put them where I had them because I remember wearing them at work when I lived in Mountain View, California, and worked in Palo Alto, California. That employment ended in 2000, and I moved from Mountain View to Half Moon Bay in 1998.

I lose the shoes during the dream. The dream is taking place at a sort of muddy, outdoor fair and picnic that reeks of a dystopian movie set. The shoes are important to me because I don’t have much. Despite that, I take them off as I walk around. Then, I set them down to to something, forget about them, and walk off. A little later, after going through the fair – about ten ramshackle booths made of plywood, painted with white primer (sometimes) and sometimes decorated with a few Christmas lights, I realize that I’ve forgotten the shoes. I make my way back to them without problem. Finding and picking them up, I go on.

During this dream sequence, there’s a lot happening in my dream. I’m walking around a property that I own, doing a survey. I’m passing by many others who greet me. I’m busy and don’t have time to talk. I recognize aunts in the crowd. As I walk around, I have one shoe on, and carry the other one.

Once again, I put the shoe down and walk off without it. This time, a long period passes. I visit with my sisters, and talk with them about music, ending up singing Collective Soul’s song, “The World I Know” with my youngest sister, and then with my oldest sister.

Further walking around, I head for where I’d earlier noticed vomit. Passing it by before, I’ve decided that I need to go back and clean it up. I remember it was by the patio and go there, but when I get there, the vomit is gone. Instead, there’s a huge line of fire ants. Others are leaving the picnic/fair, so I warn them around the ants. Then I discover ant hills, and other lines of ants. The ground beneath is hard, dry and cracked. I remember that it had been muddy, so I’m puzzled.

Thinking about the mud of before reminds me that I’d lost my other shoe. Retreating my steps, I return to a muddy place, where the picnic/fair still goes on, but now under strings of bare yellow lights. I walk around. People talk to me. I know some of them but some are strangers. I don’t remember anything that’s discussed, except that I tell people that I’m missing my shoe, show them the one on my foot, and ask if they’ve seen the other one. Eventually, I find my shoe.

One thing that struck me as I remembered and posted this (very annotated) version of the dream. I was carrying the shoe and worrying about them because that’s all I had, yet, I was on my property, and inspected it. I thought the shoes were important, but I missed things going on while obsessing about them, and the world changed around me as I went back and forth with the shoes.

In a way, I think the shoes represent my connection to the past. I’m carrying them into the future, but it’s changing around me, and I think I’m warning myself, don’t get stuck in the mud of the past because the¬†world I know has changed.

* All typing errors in this post belong to my cat, Quinn, who insisted that he help me type by getting on my lap and head-butting my hands, arms, and chin while purring, and sometimes trying to nibble on my ear. It can be very distracting.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Laughing to myself, as I almost put Tuesday’s Dream Music as my post title.

Last September, I had a dream and awoke with “The World I Know” by Collective Soul in my head. This time, the song was in my dream, twice.

The first time, I was discussing it with my youngest sister and a cousin. We were talking about the words, and then we sang it. Afterward, I continued through the dream, and came upon my oldest sister.

My oldest sister can claim to be the shortest of our family, but she was taller than me in this dream. I mentioned the song to her, and she said, “Well, it becomes kind of maudlin, which isn’t what you want in a song.” I said, “That’s true, it does, but it ends in an uplifting manner.” Then we sang it together, and then I continued on through the dream.

So, here it is again. You can imagine my sisters and I singing it. It came out the year I retired from the military. Wonder if there’s a connection for me and my dream in that?


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