Monday’s Theme Music

You’d think that today’s song, with a cat in the title, was inspired by an interaction with a cat. Nope; didn’t happen that way.

“Honky Cat” by Elton John (1972) came to me because of the line, “Change is gonna do me good.” I was asked to help another. Helping them would force a change to my comfortable, protected routines. But I wanted to help, hence, I told myself, “Change is gonna do me good.”

Turned out, my help wasn’t needed, etc. By then, though, “Honky Cat” was roaring in the stream. Not that I mind that. Its jaunty sound fit my mood.

Now I’m gonna go look for gold in a silver mine, then drink a little whiskey from a bottle of wine. Always enjoyed those lines.

Coffee House Rules

My home office is a comfortable place. Got a big desk, chair, books, all that stuff, with easy access to the kitchen and coffee.

You’d think it’d be ideal for writing. Cats, spouse, neighbors, and generalities seem to conspire against it working. If I had to name one as the greatest offense, the cats would take the spot. They’re like, “Hey, I hear him typing. I better go put a stop to that by getting on his lap or the keyboard.” (This is called an interflooftion.) Just doesn’t work for me.

So I like coffee houses for my writing endeavors. I abandoned my previous favorite (management changes, and they treated former employees (who are family) like garbage, so I’m gone). The search was on, causing me to remind myself what I was looking for. Also, people ask me, “What are you looking for in a coffee shop for your writing?” or “Why do you go there?”

So — no order, really, but numbered for convenience.

  1. Tables with chairs and access to outlets.
  2. Good coffee.
  3. Some space.
  4. Decent prices.
  5. Location – must be in Ashland, OR.
  6. General ambiance.

A nice staff also helps but I must say, in fourteen years of frequenting Ashland’s coffee houses, I’ve not encountered a nice (code for friendly and engaging) staff.

These are subjective things. (Right? Most things are.)  I settled on Noble’s after trying a few places. Noble’s has all of the above (plus excellent scones and muffins (although I try not to indulge, right?) except their coffee costs one dollar more. After deciding on the place, though, I then had to pay attention to its ebb and flow, cause, you know, those tables, chairs, outlets, and space aren’t unlimited.

As with most places, you either must arrive early (typically before 8:30) to beat the morning rush. The next break generally arrives at ten. With Noble’s, I found the best time to arrive for my writing is 11:30 AM. The place empties. Most tables (with outlets) are available, so I have a choice of places. There’s then a forty-minute lull before they experience a lunch rush. I can settle in and write for a few hours. It’s great.

The start time pushes back my time, so I need to adjust either ends. Of course, this is winter; things will be different in other times of the year.

It probably won’t surprise you, but I ran into friends everywhere I went in to have coffee and write. (“Oh, you’re writing here now?”)

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

The Waves Dream

Dreams last night were like energetic kittens wrestling and playing: lot of action and motion, and not too linear. 

But one sequence’s sharp focus overpowered memories of the rest. I’d gone upstairs in a house to shave. We lived by the ocean on a bluff. Wanting to look out at the day (and the sea), I raised a white blind. When I did, I saw a huge blue wave breaking. The wave was the windows height, and splashed against the glass. Startled by its height, I lowered the blind and left the room.

Rushing downstairs, I told my wife about the huge wave. It impressed because our house was set back from the bluff’s edge by over twenty feet. For the wave to travel across that distance and still break on the second story window was amazing.

I ran back up the stairs to the bathroom. Raising the blind again gave me time to see another enormous bright blue wave racing toward me. Taller than the last, I realized it was going to break over the house.

Before I could close the sash, the wave broke. The house shuddered with the impact. I expected the window to break, but it didn’t. Halfway through shaving, I went to check on the property. Everything seemed fine, except my car, a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, was gone. The wave took it, I thought. Other than those enormous waves, it wasn’t storming, but calm.

That dream sequence ended.

‘Nother Military Dream

Yes, it was another military dream. This one was all about flight-following, on the surface, but I found it was about change.

Flight-following is a low-level task in Air Force command posts that often consumes a lot of time. Flight information — mission number, type of aircraft and configuration, tail number, kind of mission, scheduled times and durations, aircraft commander’s name, etc. — are posted in logs and folders, along with getting written on big boards. The info necessary to coordinate and track safe and successful missions are called in via radios and telephones from multiple ground agencies and the aircraft. It was done on paper on in grease pencils on plastic boards when I was in the military, but as small computers were coming out, I saw them as ideal for coordinating all of this via electronics. Naturally, as I progressed in rank and responsibilities, I did less and less flight-following.

Anyway, we weren’t flight-following anything in this command post when the officer in charge announced that it was decided that we should. As the dream progressed, I was trying to explain to her that it’s not as simple as just making an announcement. She insisted that we were only going to do certain missions.

I spent the dream talking with others about it. Old, unused flight-following boards were revealed on the walls, so once upon a time, flight-following was done there. Meanwhile, several young lieutenants came in to agree with me, telling others that they thought that this was a mistake, surprising me with their insights.

Not a weird dream at all, a very affirming dream, it was all about change, of expecting something to come around again. The dream didn’t much surprise me; I feel like there’s been an energy shift, and then decided that I’m opening myself up to change, and I’m expecting change. It reminded me that change is part of cycles. That sums up my personal philosophy: change is part of cycles, and it resides on a circular spectrum, and it’s always moving. Sometimes it goes retrograde, but it’s always moving.

I think the dream was just telling me, yep, changes are coming. We’re sliding along the spectrum one more time, going back to something to go forward.

Grappling with Dreams

My recent series of dreams have involved structures and family. Two that stand out were about my father and my in-laws.

The dream about my father had bronze red overtones to everything. We were underground, in a cave. Alive (as he is), he was selecting his coffin and burial site. His burial site was a strange building. It had been some sort of business. I was asking him, “This is where you want to be buried?” It seemed so bizarre to me.

Dad barely took notice of my question. He was busy organizing his burial process and closing the deal for the building. Passing out leaflets (which were red), he told me, “You’re one of the pallbearers but you won’t be carrying me.”

I said, “Where is this place?” Someone pointed out a map on wall. I went over to the map and studied it, determining that it was on the California-Nevada border. Knowing where it was, I stepped outside to see it. I discovered I was standing on top of a hill. Below was a huge quarry operation. Shaped in a circle or oval, it was miles wide.

“This is a mine,” I said, looking for Dad. “Why would you want to be buried in a mine?”

The dream ended.

The next night, I dreamed that I was visiting with my sister-in-law and her husband. Other relatives from my wife’s side were present, as was my wife. My mother- and father-in-law have both passed away, and we were at their old home. Only this home was nothing like their home.

Everyone was turning to me and saying, “What should we do with this?” The house was like an faintly familiar maze of rooms and additions. I told everyone, “We need to determine what we have.” Everyone agreed to that, but asked, “How?”

I said, “Well, first, we’ll need to explore.”

Officials came up to us to talk about the house and our plans. I told them of my plan, and they approved. They then said that I should contact a specific person. While he was a teammate, we’d never been close and he was a year behind me. “He’ll certify the findings for you,” the officials said.

I agreed to do that. Then I began leading the family around the dwelling. I said, “I’m going to turn on light switches. Everyone watch to see what lights up. We need to open every door and find every switch.” All agreed.

I did as planned. Whenever I opened a door, I’d find the switch and turn on the lights. Surprising reveals followed. Old rooms and additions that we didn’t know about were revealed. Some were old offices, with filing cabinets and seats. Although old, they showed signs of recent use. Scenes like this, of different rooms that we didn’t know about, happened again and again.

Finished, we went outside. My sister-in-law’s husband came up to me. He said, “Now you know what we faced. Not so easy, is it?” He was laughing, and agreeing, I laughed, too.

Studying the house, I said, “I never knew that it looked like this.” It was a sprawling, eclectic design of multiple levels. Many were new and some were old. As I looked at it, I said, “I know what to do.”

The dream ended.

I’ve dreamed about these in-laws a few times in the past two weeks. In other dreams, I was driving them. I’ve dreamed about my wife’s parents’ home numerous times in the past few years, but the dream and home were always different. The commonality is always that the house surprises me, I’m exploring it, and everyone is looking at me to decide what to do.

 

Tuesday’s Theme Music

News stories stayed with me late yesterday as I finished walking and headed home. Too many tales about murders and suicides, impeachment and politics, wars and disease. It all felt a little heavy.

Some lyrics stole into my stream:

Been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die
‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky

I couldn’t remember more of the song, and worked on that as I reached home and made lunch. Other pieces came in but not enough for attribution. It seemed like an old song. I was finally forced to Google to find it.

There it was, Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come”, from 1964. It’s dismaying to think of that song being written in the early sixties because of what he endured in Shrevesport, LA, one night. How humans treat others because of their differences remains a sad situation. We’ve made some progress on this, but we’ve also slid backwards. At times like these, I fall back on Parker’s quote, “The arc of the moral universe is long but bends toward justice.” Parker was a clergyman in the 1800s. I always thought the quote belonged to Martin Luther King, Jr., but I found in reading that he was quoting another.

No matter who first said it, it endures. As Sam Cooke wrote and sang,

It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will

I’m indebted to Metrolyrics.com, Songfacts.com, and Wikipedia.org for refreshing my memory.

Monday’s Theme Music

I was standing in my grass in my bare feet, breathing the morning air, looking around and remembering my dream. A shaft of sunshine found me, or I found it. I called the cat, Meep, aka the Ginger Prince, ‘real name’ Papi, and he came up and over the fence, flying at me with heroic music. I was thinking about change still, so some of the lyrics to “Change” by Blind Melon (1992) chugged into the stream.

And when you feel life ain’t worth living
You’ve got to stand up, and take a look around
And you look up, way to the sky
And when your deepest thoughts are broken
Keep on dreamin’, boy
‘Cause when you stop dreamin’, it’s time to die

h/t to Genius.com

I remembered the words well enough but like copying and pasting lyrics sites like Genius.com to get them correct. I continue dreaming in the nocturnal sense and the hopeful sense of pursuing goals. I’m always looking at the sky.

I don’t have any broken dreams, just dreams refined and postponed. I feel that I should note that Shannon Hoon, who wrote and sang “Change” passed away from a drug overdose when he was 28, just as they found greater success. The song was released well before his death, but I listen to it differently after he died.

Cheers

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