The True Focus Dream

I dreamed that I was hired for a new job. My wife had a new job, too. Although they were in the same general business park, we decided to drive separately.

I arrived on time in a suit with tie, and found my new business location. True Focus had hired me, sight unseen, without even interviews. I’d submitted my resume on a whim, so I was surprised.

But I’d take it and do what I could with it. I found an HR person who directed me to a work area, a half-wall cubicle in a huge room full of like cubicles. Lots of friendly people were about. As introductions progressed, I discovered that I was the only one working for True Focus. Most worked for another large corporation, the name either not given, or forgotten.

Feeling good about being there, I was settling into my space when a man came by and dropped off several folders and envelopes for me. One had a note from my boss, Trish, to come and see them when I had the chance. Meanwhile, here was some information to study.

I was excited. I opened one of the manila packets and discovered it full of packets of new American paper money with a note, “For your work.” As other workers ogled the money and made comments, I stuffed it in my pocket with the money I already had in my pockets.

Then I opened another packet, and found more money. I shoved it in my pocket. It barely fit.

I then took off my coat and sat down to go through the materials and read. I came across the note from Trish again. They were in office number forty-six. I went looking for Trish and discovered the offices were along the outside walls. Summing up the direction, I walked along, heading for forty-six, but realized that a platoon of people were in my way. I sussed that they were senior executives, and they were holding a wedding. Not wanting to interrupt, I decided I’d try again later.

Crossing back to my cubicle, I realized that I’d removed my shoes and trousers. I knew where I’d put them, but when I got there, I discovered someone else’s pants and shoes were there. They looked similar in color and style to mine, so I tried putting them on, but they were too big for me. I figured I was the butt of a joke, but I needed my pants and shoes, thanks.

People noticed the missing attire. I waved them off with a laugh and explained, “I’ve been retired. I’m not used to working clothes like this.”

My cubicle had been moved. It was full of people there for training. That miffed me. They apologized, but they were doing as they were told. I shrugged it off, deciding that I’d work around it for now and sort it later. Someone brought me my pants and shoes. At that point, I noticed that my fingernails were painted dark gray. I laughed about that, remembering that I’d been fooling around and painted them, and then had forgotten about it.

The money felt wadded in my pocket, so I took it out to organize it. I keep pulling money out of my pocket. People passing noticed it, and made jokes. I finally got all the money out, smoothed it, put it all together in fat bundles, and put them back into my pockets.

I went to find Trish in forty-six again, but remembered that I didn’t have my pants on. Returning, I put them on, and set out again. I reached forty-six. It was a small office with a woman and two men in it set across a table from one another. They were about to close the door to start a meeting. The woman said something about who I was, that she didn’t even know me. I gave her an arch reply along the lines of my name and the fact that I was her new hire. One man, who looked like an older version of Ron Weasley from the early Harry Potter movies, said, “Oh, you’re my new hire. I’m Trish.”

He asked me if I had the True Focus mission statement. I said, “No, I didn’t know that I was supposed to bring it.”

He said, “The mission statement is what it’s all about.”

I said, “I’ll go back and get it,” and walked away.

Dream ended.

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The Ledge Dream

A vivid dream struck me when I was in the kitchen making my coffee this morning. Impossibly intense, I rushed into the other room to remember and record it. Honestly, I don’t know how much was dream, imagination filling in gaps, or a partially remembered television show or movie.

Following a path, I jogged through a forest of thick, tall trees, like redwood and sequoia. Mists and low gray fog kept everything cool, dark, and quiet. Something tripped me. As I fell, I tried catching myself, and spun backwards, flailing to grab anything to keep me upright. I broke into a circle of sunlight. As I wondered why that was, I heard crashing and then realized I was falling over a cliff.

Thinking that I wanted to go face first, I twisted my torso around. One foot was still on the ground. Looking ahead, I saw crashing waves. Knowing that I couldn’t go back, I shoved hard with my foot, hoping to launch myself out over the waves and away from the cliff.

A wind caught me, slamming me back into the cliff face. I hit with my left side. Grunting, I spotted a root sticking out, and lunged for it. Missing, I crashed onto rock. Pain soaked me. I couldn’t move and thought I’d surely broken many things and was on the verge of death, but the hurts subsided. When I sat up, a hard, salt-laced wind smashed my face. Squinting against it, I looked out over a sunlit body of gray water. I thought, Pacific.

It looked like late afternoon. I was on a flat ledge about twenty feet long and eight feet wide. Past it was a sheer drop to the riotous sea hundreds of feet below. Placing it against my knowledge of heights from working in a tall building, I guessed I was about fifteen stories high. The top from which I’d fallen was about twenty feet above my head. I wondered if I could climb back up there. I didn’t think I’d survive or be rescued if I stayed where I was. I’d been traveling alone. Nobody was expecting me. No one would miss me for days. My car was parked at least a mile away because I’d been walking and running, enjoying the cool, fresh air. I hadn’t seen anyone else.

I stood. Growing fierce, the wind knocked me back into the cliff. I worried that I was going to be blown off the ledge and looked for something to hold onto. That’s when I saw a body on the ledge’s other end. After some time to stomach the thought, I approached it enough steps to see that they’d been dead a while and was mostly decayed. From the flapping remnants of clothing and hair, and the jewelry I noticed, I took it to be a white woman with graying red hair.

Wondering if she’d fallen as I had, I crept closer. She was dressed in a sheer, flowering orange and yellow skirt, white blouse, and tannish jacket. Dark spots blotted her clothes like a Rorschach test. One shoe was missing. A pair of broken sunglasses were beside her head. I thought that she’d been bloodied when she’d fallen, but it was also possible that she’ been killed first and tossed over the side. Both ideas disturbed me.

I didn’t see any purse or wallet. I didn’t think there’d be identification in her clothes. I didn’t want to look. The wind blew her clothes around. I avoided seeing her too closely.

Moving back and flattening against the cliff, I checked myself for injuries. I had none. Checking the cliff above me again, I saw roots sticking out. I didn’t trust them. I’d tried using roots to climb hills before. They tend to snap off without warning. If that happened, I’d probably end up in the sea. I didn’t think I’d survive the fall.

I didn’t want to stay there. I had to find a way to get out of there. Hunting toe and hand holds, I started to climb, and then saw an irregularity in the cliff above the body. Reluctant to get too close to her, I slipped toward the space and saw that it looked like a mud-splattered door. I stood, looking at the door, and then the body, thinking how strange a door in that cliff was, growing almost certain, given its placement, that the body’s existence there was related to the door. A door meant a building, though. I hadn’t seen any buildings above. If there was a building, it was underground.

The setting sun had gone behind a fog bank on the horizon. It was going to get dark soon and already nippier. The wind was a constant, growling force.

I was in a quandary. I didn’t want to stay on the ledge. I didn’t think I could climb up the cliff in the dark. I might be able to reach the door, but the body’s presence made me dubious about using the door. Forced to move because of the dimming light, bolder and more desperate, I went over to the door, regarded it. Its bottom was level with my head. What looked like iron handles thrust in cement were to the door’s right side, leading up from the ledge. The iron was old and rusted. Some holds were missing or twisted and broken.

Lacking choices, I said good-bye to the woman, promising her that I’d lead others to her, and struggled up the holds. They were narrow, cut into my hands, and were too small for my feet. The wind had worsened and was screaming in my ears. My fingers were numbed with cold. I was sure that if I let go, I was done. I kept telling myself, “Don’t let go, don’t let go.”

Getting my shoulders even with the handle, I contorted myself to get a grip on it. Glancing down, I gaped into the growing dusk.

The woman was gone. I thought, the wind must have blown her off. I didn’t know if that was possible, but what else could have happened?

Up close, I could tell the door was metal. Holding onto the handle with one hand, I banged on it with the other. I barely heard the noise over the wind. I turned the handle. It went easily, but I couldn’t pull it open. Either the handle didn’t work, or the wind was keeping it closed.

That’s where memory ended, with me hanging onto the handle as darkness fell and a salty wind assaulting me. In reflection, I wondered about how much of this felt like a metaphor for my life, that I felt like I’d arrived somewhere by accident, and was now trapped, without choices.

Or, maybe, it was just a half-remembered television show or movie, infused into my imagination and dreams.

Monday’s Theme Music

I know multiple versions of today’s song, but a little background to coming to it.

I dreamed of ear wax and getting rid of this morning. That apparently opened a direct channel to the mid-sixties in my head (that’s the 1960s, boys and girls, in case, you know, you were wondering…) because I was channeling sixties music this morning. Some early Beatles, Beach Boys, Lovin’ Spoonful, Richie Valens, Little Rascals, Monkees, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Supremes, Dave Clark 5, Stevie Wonder… Whole songs didn’t playing. A snippet would begin, I’d identify it, and the stream moved onto another song.  You can see from the list that it was mostly American pop, with a little Motown thrown in.

After a bit of this, “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” settled into the stream. Although I enjoy the Sex Pistols’ version, in keeping with the stream, I chose the Monkee’s 1966 version. You should watch the video just for a taste of 1960s TV pop America.

The song’s sentiment, though, resonates, which is probably why the stream settled on it: “You’re tryin’ to make your mark in society, you’re using all the tricks that you used on me.” I like that declaration: I know what you did, and we’re done.

Saturday’s Theme Music

After staggering out of bed and then using the bathroom, I started feeding the cats. “I Am the Walrus” by the Beatles from waaayyy back in 1968 when I was twelve, began streaming in my head. “I am the eggman — woo — they are the eggman — woo — I am the walrus. Goo goo g’ joob.”

WTH? Why? It’s another mind mystery, innit, a nonsense song in a nonsense world after some nonsense dreams. Guess it’ll work for a quiet summer day that seems like a warm autumn day, as though the seasons have been turned into a jigsaw puzzle that need to be assembled.

Listen to it. Let me know what you think. Goo goo g’ joob.

 

The Healer Dream

The healer dream followed the wrestling dream last night.

The wrestling dream was about me taking another’s place in a wrestling match. Throughout the dream, I mocked myself for being part of this crazy scheme where I would wrestle a high-schooler. I was doing so to keep the team from forfeiting. My match was either going to be first or second. I told myself and everyone else that I had no chance, that what we were doing was illegal, and that we were going to be caught, humiliated, and disqualified. In the end, I handed someone my watch, some expensive and exotic time piece, went and dressed for my match, and then waited, learning at the last second that my match would be the second one.

Dream end.

The healer dream was brief. I walked into a room. The room reminded me of a classroom, with desks, windows that looked out onto a lawn and playground, but I have no idea where it was. I don’t know why I was there. A woman dressed in a dark blue sundress in there told me she was sick, and then rattled off her health complaints. Brunette, with auburn shoulder-length hair, she looked tired and pale.

“I can fix that,” I said. Then as I touched different places on her, I would say something about infusing her with healing energy. For example, I touched her shoulders and said, “Infuse your shoulders with healing energy. Infuse your joints with healing energy and strength. Infuse your collagen, ligaments, tendons, and muscles with healing energy and strength. Infuse your bones with healing energy and strength.”

Although I did this all over her, it was done in a couple minutes. She stood up and said, “I feel great. All my pain is gone.” I nodded, like, yeah, that’s what I expected. That’s what I told her she was going to do. I was quite casual about it.

A man had entered while I was doing this with her. He was wearing clay-white walking shorts with a gold, short-sleeved shirt, sweat socks and activity shoes. He seemed in his fifties, with sandy hair cut short but casual, bangs across his forehead. Clean-shaved, he looked healthy enough, tan.

“Do me, do me,” he said.

I didn’t think he needed it, but he’d asked. Shrugging, I started healing him as I had her. When I did, he squatted down and grinned, continuing to grin as I healed her as I had him. He seemed very happy and satisfied with what I was doing to him.

Dream end.

The Dogs Dream

Last night’s dream shook me. I’m not certain why.

I was with my spouse. We were at her mother’s property, with her mother. Her mother passed away in Feb., 2018, after several years of illness. Her illness and care were instrumental in a family schism with one sister. The property is over twenty acres in the countryside.

The estranged sister wasn’t present. I had an impression that it was she who’d passed away. My wife, mother-in-law, and I were talking in general. As the conversation progressed, I was inspecting the house and thinking about what needed to be fixed and how that would be done. We were mostly talking about the dead sister’s husband. He was planning to stay on the property (he and his wife had a home on it) and would continue taking care of it.

I went outside to walk around. It was a gray, quiet, chilly day. While there was a lawn around the houses and outbuildings, fog swathed the woods. Tree trunks obscured with a gauzy swirl.

Weirdly, I still heard my wife and her mother talking, even though they remained in the house. While walking around, I saw a large, gray or dirty white curly-haired dog cross the property. To me, it appeared that the dog had dragged itself out from a hole under one of the outbuildings. When I went to check that out, I saw another dog come out of a hole from under another building. That was soon happening in every direction. There were quickly seven or eight dogs of different sizes, colors, and breeds running around.

I spotted a small ginger tabby cat. Seeing all of these, I ran back to tell my wife and her mother about the animals. They either didn’t understand or didn’t believe me. I kept repeating what I was telling them, and then insisted that they come out to look. They finally agreed, and when they looked, the number of dogs seemed to double, and then two ginger cats were there standing up and looking back at something. As if a signal was given, the cats dropped to their feet and darted away. Seconds later, the dogs did the same. For several moments, it was a helter-skelter scene of dogs racing to their holes.

And then they were gone.

End.

Shipwrecks

Edgy dreams undermine my rest even while I sleep.

Sometimes they seem malicious,

but they help restore balance and serenity.

More frequently, they’re insane, causing me concern about my mental health,

although sometimes, they’re not remembered, listing in the gray of my thinking’s edge

like shipwrecks from other times.

The Hot Mess

Dreams wrecked my sleep like booming thunderstorms. While the dreams went all over the place, often with multiple storylines and settings, and frequently anxiety fraught, one theme stayed true: the leads were missing or broken. I kept hunting them or trying to repair them. In one example, others brought in a large and heavy broken motor. “Know what we found in this?” one man that helped deliver the heavy electric motor said. He was affable and burly, curly-haired and sunburned, a little dirty and greasy in his blue uniform with its red and white name tag with “Mike” in script, and a gap in his teeth.

I grinned. “Broken leads, right?”

Mike grinned back. “Yep. You got it. The leads weren’t working.”

Stepping back, I’d finished the first draft of April Showers 1921 a few days ago. I found it a hot mess. Good writing, yes, but shitty storytelling. The concept had over-excited me, and I’d peed all over the place. It’s my big friggin’ writin’ weakness. The first draft had become six hundred Word pages and one hundred fifty thousand words. The last quarter and ending were weak. The beginning and middle were confusing.

When something goes wrong, I try to figure out what to do. That’s been try for me for as long as I can remember. Sometimes, the process requires me to walk away from the project. Grant my mind some space and let it work. This isn’t one of those projects, though. I felt an urgency to keep working on it.

The writing hadn’t been a waste of time, of course. One, it entertained me. Second, I learned more about the concept, and then the story. As I’ve quoted Terry Pratchett before, “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”

Now I knew the whole story, and it needed to be re-worked. Many hours of thinking and walking were conducted in search of what to do. Well, I roughly knew what to do: revise and edit. Sure, but I thought, more structure was needed than to proclaim revise and edit and go forth. I needed a better, more solid plan. I just wasn’t satisfied enough with this draft to begin considering revise and edit. I was thinking, write again.

I didn’t wanna write it again, I whined. I know, I answered. That’s writing.

Decisions were made. Each decision took me down a tangible plan. I began seeing how and why I’d concluded the ending and last quarter were weak. Glimpses of what to do began emerging.

Wasn’t easy to get there. The journey from proclaiming hot mess to saying, okay, this is what I’m going to do, took hours of thinking and plotting. It was intense. I was not a good person to be around. Fortunately, I was mostly on my own.

Then came the dreams.

The dreams were beneficial. They didn’t dictate, “DO THIS,” in a deep voice that might’ve been Jehovah or James Earl Jones. No, the dreams were more like a thundering rain storm with strong winds, blowing out the mess.

Now, it’s been accepted. The first hot mess was done; work is required. The path has been defined. Jaw is set. Coffee is at hand. I’m in position.

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

Monday’s Theme Music

I began as a ZZ Top fan in high school art class in 1973. I introduced them to my friend, who became my girlfriend and then my wife when Tres Hombres came out that year. “La Grange” become a song that had her reaching for the volume knob and twisting it hard right whenever it came on.

I’ve seen them in concert three times. Today’s song came about from a dream last night. Multi-tasking in the dream, one sequence had me trying to feed the cats. They were going nuts for the food that I was offering them. I was trying to keep them out of it while putting the food in bowls for them. Meanwhile, a dozen interruptions were transpiring.

Anyway, from that feeding sequence, I started singing to them, “Gimme all your kibble, all your hugs and kisses, too,” because that’s how it seemed in the dream. My music stream picked it up and started cranking out “Gimme All Your Lovin'” from Eliminator (1983).

Never seen the video before, though. I was overseas during those years in places that usually didn’t have television available. Kind of a cheesy video. But it was the 1980s.

 

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