General Intelligence Dream Trend

Before last night, I had a dream with the same theme three nights in a row. The theme for them was one, back in the military (again), two, going to see a general about an intelligence matter.

In the first dream, I’d received information via a white paper. I was distilling the information for use in something else. Some of what I read wasn’t clear to me. I took the unusual step of calling the general for an appointment to clarify what he meant.

Real life background. I was enlisted in the military, retiring as an E-7. General officers are a big deal. I worked with several but I would never directly call one to ask for more information.

Intermission over. The general was accommodating and set up an appointment for mid-afternoon on the next day. The dream was then sort of a scramble between the call and the appointment time. Things kept going awry. Uniform items were missing. Yeah, classic anxiety dream.

Awakening, I thought, geez, another military dream. I also thought, humorous, isn’t it? Calling a general (a higher authority) for more intelligence (ha!) and then scrambling to meet the requirement levied on me.

I was comfortable with that, but the next night, I dreamed that something had gone wrong. A messy situation had evolved (details were murky and ill-defined, but I knew with the dreamsense that often takes place that I needed to take action) and I determined that I needed to call a general to get more intelligence. Those were actual words used in the dream.

Two in a row, I thought the next morning. Feeling a little inadequate, are we?

The third dream carried on most of the theme from the second dream. Call the general, get more information, but now pursuing a mad scramble to ‘get it all together’. My hair needed cut to be within regs, I couldn’t find a clean uniform, and then raced to find shoes. Yeah, clear messages from me, to me, about feeling inadequate and stuck in place (which was reflected in my writing energy later that day).

Then, walking and reflecting yesterday, along came The Traveling Wilburys with “Heading for the Light”. Well, I’m hoping that I’m heading for the light. Last night’s dreams included being on a television quiz show, but it was mostly backstage action of getting ready. I was being coached but I kept getting lost.

The dream ended with a production assistant (a young, short woman wearing a headset) finding me in a dark area back stage. I was speaking with others. She rushed up and said, “There you are. It’s time.”

I replied, “Okay, I’m ready.”

Hope I’m right.

The Goatee Dream

First, there was a sex dream. The neighbor’s cat was crying at the door and broke that spell. After I let her in (and provided a meal), I used the loo. Back to bed, I thought about the dream and hoped it would return (as it was comforting and pleasant).

It didn’t. In its stead came the beard dream. Standing in front of a mirror, I prepared to trim my goatee and ‘stache. What I saw horrified me; the goatee was massively overgrown.

I began trying to trim it while wondering how it’d come to look so bad with collateral thoughts of, had something happen to me, did it always look so horrid, and geez, why didn’t anyone say anything to me?

My wife was in the dream’s background, talking, giving me the impression that, “We needed to leave soon.” Don’t know to where. I responded that I was almost ready (not true), but that I just had to trim my goatee.

I saw my goatee had grown to double bumps hanging down, which didn’t do anything for my face. I looked like Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but more withered and grayer. Naturally, I concluded, trim them. Somehow, trimming them worsened their appearance. Recoiling with fresh horror, I decided that it all looked so bad that the only thing that I could do is shave the goatee off entirely. Trying, though, I ended up revealing a bloody wound that the beard concealed.

What happened? Had I cut myself? Meanwhile, my wife was calling for me to hurry and my beard had darkened and grown across my lower face.

That’s where the dream ended.

Yeah, classic self-image dream about my identity, isn’t it?

One More Time

I was frothing with surprise and delight for a while today.

The morning’s email brought interest from three agents. They wanted to see more material from April Showers 1921, a surprise. I thought that all interest from the first round of submissions had died (accomplished in October, 2019). I was regrouping for another round of submissions.

I also thought how odd it was that these agent things happen in clumps. But then, I submit in clumps, and the agents describe similar processes and response times. It shouldn’t be a surprise when they respond in clumps.

What WAS a surprise was an agent expressing interest in Four on Kyrios, the first novel of the Incomplete States series (five books). I submitted to her in February, 2019, ten months ago.

(A pause to consider that I’d finished writing a five novel series last year (Incomplete States, 430,000 words), and then wrote a novel earlier this year (April Showers 1921, 180,000 words), and now I’m finishing a third book (To Begin, 73,000 words so far). And yes, that does please me. Plodding along at about five pages a day does start adding up. Especially when I remember that Incomplete States and all of its support documents (side stories, character, planet, and cultural histories, etc) added up to one million words.)

Although it’s exciting to receive the emails from the agents, after reflecting, I thought, well, I’ll do my writing session today, and then try to respond to these agents tonight. I wasn’t being contrary or sabotaging myself, but in thinking through where I was and who I am, I enjoy the writing process, I’m enjoying writing the current novel, and I have momentum. (The muses are being friendly and I don’t want to alienate them.) So, although my goal is to find publication for those previously written novels, writing the current novel entices me more.

It’s a curious sensation. Yeah, I seek publication beyond the self-publishing of the four novels that I’ve already done. The agent interest is validation, in one sense; someone is interested! In another sense, I shrug; I’ve always written for myself, creating mysteries and logic problems for me to solve, building and expanding worlds in my mind, and discovering characters who emerge as people to me.

I’m also a tinge jaded, reconciling myself, yeah, you’ve been shown interest by agents and editors before, and it’s come to naught. (Really, are you so cynical, Michael?)

Yes, I am. More than cynicism, in the course of writing novels and following a quest to be a better thinker, story-teller, and writer, I’ve fallen out of concern about what others think about my writing. I can argue that some of that is self-preservation (and perhaps a tincture of imposter syndrome). See, if I don’t get excited, then I’ll be less dejected if the agents decline my project. That’s the theory.

It’s also short-sighted; being in a bubble of my own thinking, reading, writing, and criticism means that I don’t receive feedback that could help me grow.

Yes, true.

So, being cynical, jaded, short-sighted, and dubious, writing, with all of its challenges and frustrations, is more immediately rewarding and satisfying. Solving these self-made issues generates a sweet dopamine infusion. Perhaps that’s the lesson — and warning — that I should really find in my response today: I’m a writing addict, looking for a quick fix.

Today’s news does want me to treat myself to a scone or muffin. Comfort food, I believe, to help cope; the potential for advancing also carries the angst and burden of failure. Have something to eat, right? It’s a humorous pattern.

Yet, again…there was that time when I came across a woman reading my novel at a Starbucks here in my town, a cool experience. I’ve received feedback from readers about how my they’ve enjoyed something I’ve written, which was a powerful jolt to the ego. Multiple those intangible rewards by the potential that being published on a larger scale could bring.

Also in passing, though, I do enjoy reading my own work. It’s fun to read what I’ve written, and it often surprises me. I understand what that says about my process and being in the tube. What was originally conceived and written (in my methodology) frequently evolves under editing, revising, refinement, and polishing. I write to know what I think, and I rewrite to clarify it and deal with loopholes in my thinking (and plotting and problem solving).

As a final piece, of course; this is me, today. Me, tomorrow, or yesterday — or even later today — might respond differently. Moods (and the hopes and expectations related to them) are dynamic. Hence, I needed to write all of this out just to think about it, a prelude, perhaps, to discovering how I feel.

Well, it’s all thinking fodder. Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Got to feed that addiction, you know?

 

 

The Spaceship Dream

I dreamed I was in a spaceship or a space capsule. Small, it was tight with equipment. No one else seemed present.

I was excited. I was in space! That I wasn’t weightless or floating surprised me, but I dismissed that with little thought. Wanting to view the earth, space, and moon from this unique vantage, I hunted for a window. I couldn’t find a damn window anywhere. What kind of craziness is this? I wondered. Spaceships need windows.

As I turned in my search, I’d discovered that I could walk further into the spaceship. It seemed bigger than I thought. But when I didn’t find a window and turned to retrace my steps, I found that I couldn’t go back. All I could do is turn and go forward. That bothered and mystified me.

Awakening at that point, I leaped up. I’d fallen asleep in the recliner in the snug. The television was on but nothing was onscreen.

I didn’t recognize that, though. Panicking, I was trying to understand what I was supposed to be doing. Wasn’t I supposed to be doing something? I was sure that was the case. Seeing the television, though, I began understanding that I was home.

Home? That ignited new surprised panic. How did I get home? Where was the spaceship?

At last my mind grasped, that was a dream…

The Shoe Dream

So, as many of my dreams have taken me in the past, there I am, back  in the military after being out for several decades. It’s not a surprising dream sanctuary, and makes sense in many practical ways.

Once again, I’m there, in a command center or command post such as the ones that I spent much of my time. This one has windows, though. That rarely happened. We were often in  secure buildings or underground. As with other dreams, I’m trying to put together a uniform, and it’s all messed up, because I’ve been retired from the military for so long. With much joking and laughing, I get it together and get a semblance of an Air Force uniform on. There are others in this situation, so I’m not overly concerned with the bit. We’ve been called up…enough said on that, right? Yeah, my mind’s workings can be pretty transparent.

I’m worried about my shoes, though. They’re on, but they’re not in great shape. Meanwhile, the situation is developing. I’m senior enlisted there, and the experienced command post guy. The commander, a colonel, has arrived. He’s concerned about the sit. I share his concerns. Beyond the windows is a swollen gray ocean active with slow, heavy waves. We’re walking along the command post, looking out the windows, searching for an impending attack from across the water. Lights draw our attention. We watch, and watch, hoping that they’ll resolve into something more than blurry lights in the distance, ready to act if they do.

We begin walking toward the other end of the command post. I’ve been thinking as the commander and I scanned the sea, and I’d developed a sense that something wasn’t right. Maybe we were looking at the problem the wrong way.

Just as I formulate this to myself, I turned to look through another window and see a huge wave. Rising like a movie scene, it’s rushing toward us. As I see it, a young airman shouts a warning about the wave.

I spring into action, giving orders and directions about what to do as people begin running in panic. As they’re panicking and only a few are doing as I say, I take it upon myself to act.

It’s too late. As I realize that the wave is about to hit, I tell everyone to find cover and find cover myself. The wave slams into the building. Coming through windows, the powerful water wrecks the interior.

It’s over in a flash. I survive in good condition because I’d protected myself. My biggest concern is my…shoe.

Yes, I’m upset because my right shoe is coming apart. It’s not shiny and black, as I kept it throughout my mil career, as trained to do, as we all did; it is dull and white. Man, am I exasperated.

But we need to take care of things. It’s clear that we can’t continue operations in the current location. I and two others, a male and female, take off walking for the alternate command post location. We’re walking alongside a parade ground. I’m lamenting about my shoe as I go.

While walking to the alternate location, we start moving faster. The two I’m with cross to the other side of the parade grounds. We engage in an unspoken pseudo-race at fast walking speed. They become distracted with conversation. Seeing that, grinning, I surreptitiously speed ahead. They notice, and start walking faster, almost catching up. The guy starts running, so I do, too. Laughing, we reach the alt at the same time, and wrestle to get through the door first. I win.

Inside the small, old places, we find things that were left behind, like candy, gum, toys, and clothes. I’m amused as I go through some of the stuff and think about how to make it operational as a new operating location.

Holding up a piece of old candy in a weathered wrapper, I say, “I remember leaving this here.”

The dream ends.

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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