Philippa Said


The Leather Jacket Dream

Last night’s dreams were a crowded, cluttered mess of happenings and objects. They began with a leather jacket.

Someone gave me a black leather jacket as a gift. I was taken back. The gift wasn’t expected. Its style was not the style that I prefer (yeah, aren’t I the fashion plate (snort, right!)). It wasn’t the highest quality (indeed). But it was a gift. I was drilled by parents and wife to be gracious about accepting gifts. Don’t mock or deride them, but accept with gratitude.

Smiling, I accepted the jacket and began wearing it. The fit was better than expected, and I looked good. Within a few minutes, I find myself surprised that I genuinely liked the jacket. Going back to the one who’d given it to me, I thanked them with more enthusiasm.

You know what? I never saw anything of the person giving me the jacket. If I did, it’s wiped from memory.

Shifting in the way that my dreams frequently do — without a true transition — I found me and my wife in a new place. Guess what? Yeah, I was back in the military. I amused me in my dream that I was dreaming about the military again because it’s such a recurring pattern in my dreams. I also told myself in my dream, go with it. See where it goes.

My wife and I were sharing a large apartment with two other families. None of them were in the military. We each had a bedroom with a bathroom. The place was bedlam. My uniform was wrinkled, so I needed to press it but had to find the iron and board. A hundred things were going on, with people unpacking, sorting stuff, strewing it around, and also dressing and leaving for appointments.

With my uniform pressed, I went to shower. The largest bathroom had towels, toiletries and clothing strewn everywhere. It appalled me. I thought, even if they have so little regard for others ability to use the facilities, have they no sense of order and tidiness?

I considered tidying the bathroom but returned to my bedroom and discovered a clean but small bathroom. The problem with it was that windows allowed anyone to look in and watch me from multiple places. I discussed this with my wife. She thought only one vantage allowed others to look in, so I could shift and stay hidden. I pointed out an entire set of other windows where people could see me. But, I decided, screw them. Let them look if they wanted.

I showered and shaved without issue. Then I heard noises outside. Green towel wrapped around my waist, I went out to investigate. Somehow, I became disoriented and began wandering. Then I lost my towel.

Again, amusement struck me in my dream. We’re employing that cliché? Mais qui, bien sûr. Okay.

Now, I’m naked but still wet, and outside. Fortunately, this was the young version of me, when I was slender and fit.

Buses were arriving. Uniformed airmen were piling out. I kept walking around, trying to figure out where the hell my place was.

I wasn’t embarrassed. I knew what stripes I had, and the authority and respect they command. I’d learned how to wear them, and I was metaphorically wearing them while walking naked back to my place. Go ahead, I mentally encouraged the crowds and lines of airmen that I passed. Say something. I dare you. None did.

Without fanfare, I found my way and returned to my place, entered, and began dressing, which is where the dream ended.



Monday’s Theme Music

Out of nothing except I enjoy this song and it was streaming in my head this morning, today’s music is “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt (1996). Maybe this song is in my head because of the period. 1996 wasn’t a great year at first but by the end of the year, it started a satisfying five year run in my personal life. I made my first serious attempts at writing short stories then, and sold a few. Perhaps if I’d not done that, though, I’d not now be addicted to writing novels.

Writing novels is fun if challenging, rewarding, frustrating, and exasperating. Wait; don’t speak. I know just what you’re saying.

Be Brave

Another writing slash self-examination of myself post. It’s all about me, you know…

Writing often is about the author, whether it’s the process or subject, the writer is deep into it. I’m too damn introspective for my own good, and I’m a fragile beast.

I’m struggling with April Showers 1921. Much of the struggle is my fault; some is due to life events.

Life events kept me from writing several times. Vacation. Vacation is a good thing, right? Not for this writer, as it meant not writing. Felt like someone was scraping the enamel off my teeth.

Other life events, a birthday party, memorial service, surgery and health issues, interfered with my writing habits. Those, though, could be overcome. I felt confident of that.

Harder to overcome was my doubts about what I was writing and the story that I was relating. “Overthinking” is the world. Overthinking let in the doubt monster. The doubt monster fed my writer angst. Next up was a full blown case of imposter syndrome worries.

I walked and fretted, ate and fretted, awakened and fretted…fretting accompanied everything. I was engaging in one of the worst and most common problems afflicting writers, trying to write for others instead of myself. It took me until this morning to realize it. A young woman’s tatoo finally awakened.

She’s a barista at my fave coffee shop. On her left wrist was a tattoo, “Be brave.” 

I’ve known her for four years. She graduated from high school a year early. She was sixteen. She then took a year off to travel Thailand and southeast Asia. She said tattoo was a reminder.

After speaking with her, I went on a walking break. I admired her and her tattoo. I’d never tattooed anything on myself, but I employed a mantra: “No fear, no doubt, no worries.” I’d developed it when I was young to help me overcome those things. Others were always saying that they saw things in me and nominating me for stuff or asking me if I wanted to try something.

What kind of cad would say no to such sugary words? Not me. Between genes, birth order, and socialization, I’m just a boy who can’t say no. I want others to like me too much. I don’t want to disappoint them. I fear disappointing them.

That’s where and when the mantra was born. People would tell me, “You got this. You can do it.” Nodding, I’d agree without speaking, and then tell myself, “No fear, no doubt, no worries.” I frequently added, “Focus.” Results were often excellent, usually surprising all of us.

Remembering that, I turned back to the times when I employed that mantra and achieved good results, and decided, time to drag that mantra out again.

No fear, no doubt, no worries.

Time to continue writing and editing like crazy, at least one more time.


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