Just from the line, “Don’t look back in anger, I heard you say, at least no today,” I began streaming Oasis and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” (1996). I like the song but some of the rhymes don’t make sense. It’s like several different stories and perspectives are being shared, and none are finished.
But to not look back in anger is my takeaway for today.
Remembering the past doesn’t do much good.
That’s what they tell me. The past is dead. Water under the bridge.
But we still spend a lot of time there, arguing about what happened in that particular moment (ah yes, I remember it well), trying to pick out the jigsaw pieces of memory that shows how we got here. (You’d think that weird shape would be easy to find, but the pieces are harder to place than you would have believed.)
Remembering the past can be entertaining. Like, remember how your football team used to win? Remember how skinny and good-looking you used to be? Thank god for photos, or no one would ever believe it, right?
Then sometimes, you pause, glancing up to see yourself coming in through a door in the future, then hold your breath as you look back to see who you were and squint at your self-image to know who you now are.
Then the present — which was the future and has now become the past — crowds in with needs about what you were going or where you were doing — oh, look how mixed up I am! — and then rights your direction until memory calls you away again.
It was messed up from go, a frenzied and frantic circus. It took me a while to work into any semblance of coherent structured memory, and I could be wrong. Then, again, this is what I took from it, so…
The dream included Mom, wife, peeing, being in the military (yeah, again), cleaning, and, well, chaos.
Chaos was the overall theme. In the beginning, I needed to use the restroom. After I did, Mom came in to clean after me while I changed into my Air Force uniform and hurried off to work as my wife kissed me good-bye.
I was in command and control once again. Once again, I faced a disorganized situation. Aircraft were inbound. Some carried VIPs, but an inspection team was also due, and we were not ready. I scrambled to get us ready, working up checklists and procedures, trying to train other people, and setting up flight-following boards. This was being done against radios blaring with communications with commanders and aircraft, and ringing telephones.
Then I had to use the restroom again. Rushing over there, I found the facilities inadequate, but my bowels didn’t care. Lowering myself to the tiny seat on the tiny bowl, I did my business. When I finished, I discovered I’d pissed on the floor.
As I discovered that, old women who were present chided me, “Oh, your mother isn’t going to be happy about that.” Well, no, d’uh? Who would be? I rushed to clean it up using white towels, but there seemed too much of it for the towel, and it was taking up too much time.
Mom arrived, as the women predicted (and noted). While chastising me for the mess, Mom shooed me away (“Go to work, I’ll clean it up.”) She dropped to her knees to clean the floor as I donned my uniform again and raced away.
My wife intercepted me to tell me that there was a problem. As she did that, my co-workers called out to inform me that the aircraft were arriving. Then the commander called me and said, “There’s a change of plans.” Oy, vey,
The dream ended.
Yeah, I see how it all speaks to my current frenzy of thought and direction.
September arrives with a little surprise,
it seems like it came along so fast.
No time to think of August, June, and July,
those months are part of the past.
Autumn is coming, summer will be gone,
and so will so many things.
No time to waste, hello, good-bye,
October is on the way.
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.
This is not how I thought writing would go.
I had a romanticized, glamorized vision about the writing process and a novelist’s life. I thought I would be dictating the story, making it up and writing it down. Instead, here we go again. Philea finishes her wide-ranging tale and brings it back to the moment where it split away, and joins two other paths. One path was forged by Pram when he told his part of this story, and the other path was forged by the six primary characters on the Wrinkle.
I’ve been waiting for this re-connecting. I’d seen and heard, experienced, if you will, what they were going to say and do once they came back together. Honestly, Philea’s side-trip astonished me. She went into a life that I didn’t know existed. It’s also surprising that it startled her as much as it startled me.
But, at last her side-trip is done. It’s time for those long-awaited next scenes. But before I go into writing those scenes, I need to soak in what Philea and the other characters experienced. She and Pram shared more examples of parallel life-experience-reality-existences — a LERE, their shorthand for other Now events that that lived (or are living) and share with the rest trapped in this cycle.
They’re trying to understand what will happen to them. They’re attempting to take a piece of information and fit it in with other pieces of information to create a substantive, believable cause and effect tale for what they’re enduring. That’s human nature, to fill in the gaps, color them with some form of logic or explanation, and make it all whole.
I feel for them, pitying them, because I know that’s not their nature. That’s not what they’re living. Even as they draw closer to the truth, sometimes even stating it in incredulous terms as a possibility, the six don’t always agree on the verbiage or logic. The logic argues against their standard expectations about reality, existence, and the arrows of time. Besides, not all of their experiences will support the truth, in their minds, because they don’t remember everything that they experience. Remembering more answers less by introducing more complexity and gaps. At this point, I think all readers will understand that.
So listening to — hah, typing — my characters’ struggle to resolve these new fragments of information, I really feel for them. The passages of their thoughts and dialogue that I’ve typed leave me oddly reflective.
That’s a first, raw, impression. On greater thought, it’s not leaving me oddly reflective. Instead, I’m taking what I learned through my characters’ learning, and applying it to my existence, here in the real world.
We’re all pieces. We see ourselves as pieces that comprise a whole. Yet, few of us ever fit fully, completely, and comfortably. And when one of us goes, we struggle to see the new whole, because we remember the whole that we knew, and lament its changes. We search for answers and rarely find closure and resolution. We remain wondering.
With these notes softly echoing in my mind, I sip the final dregs of cold coffee and end my day of writing like crazy.
Three strange dreams afflicted me last night, one after enough in a line of dreams.
- I dreamed I’d removed my penis from my body and was making pencil sketches of it that I shared with others. There was no blood loss or discomfort. I was showing the drawings to friends and families, and was holding my penis in my hand. They never noticed that I was holding my penis, but were surprised and appalled by my sketches (which were very realistic, in that style of drawing that I used to do).
- The second dream placed me in an uncomfortable backwoods setting. I was with people that reminded me of the folks I knew in West Virginia. These folks are hard, shallow, and bitter people, with little empathy. Their circumstances might make them that way (although I also think, if it’s so fucking terrible, why don’t you leave and find something better?). I was looking for change to make a call. They weren’t concerned with that, but instead obsessed with how ignorant I was. This was because I’d found change in a stream (a quarter and a penny), but a dead body was in the stream. They thought I was going to get sick by getting in water with a dead body. I insisted on doing it because I needed the change. I thought there was more there, so after looking elsewhere, I returned to the stream and searched. As I did, I looked at the dead body, which turned out to be a large, black dog. I wondered how he died and arrived in the water, and hoped that he hadn’t suffered.
- In the third dream, I was in an all-white place, like a ship, wearing an all-white flight suit. Others were there, dressed in the same way. There was no one familiar to me but I knew them in the dream. We were concerned mostly with the toilets, and which toilet to use, and why the toilets was dirty, and whether the toilets worked. I was less concerned about this, and kept trying to direct the conversation and activity to something other than fucking toilets, but it was a challenge; these people were obsessed with the damn toilets. We finally got around to other things, like, hey, we’re supposed to be flying. An involved conversation about who was supposed to be doing what, like flying, developed. I was dismayed and perplexed by how the others all wanted to assign people narrow tasks. Moving off by myself, I went ahead and flew. That impressed others, who weren’t aware that I could fly, and peppered me with questions about how I’d learned and what else I could do. Their questions amazed me. I told them, it wasn’t hard, I’d always known how, people only made it hard for themselves by thinking they had to be special to do things.
Yeah, weird dreams. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.
I wasn’t enthralled with Duran Duran and their music. Some of their music hit the charts in a big way, and friends like them, so I was exposed to them. Despite that, every once a song strikes a sweet spot in the day and hangs with you.
So it happened this morning as I looked out the window. It looked deceptively warm and beautiful, deceptively because my weather station warned me that it was thirty-one F outside. But it was beautiful, yet ordinary with its vistas of far, snowy tree covered mountains juxtaposed against the local greenery and blooming plum trees and daffodils. This is our every day view, so ordinary and special. Yet, changes, from seasonal movement to economic shifts and the ways of life and death, were visible from where I was.
So I streamed, “But I won’t cry for yesterday, there’s an ordinary world, somehow I have to find. And, as I try to find my way in an ordinary world, I will learn to survive.”
The time currents are battling, splintering our hearts, minds, and senses. Would that we could do the time warp and find that place of comfort we think must exist.
Back in nineteen seventy-five, less than a blink of the galactic eye, pop culture was thrown into a spin by “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” They say it happened on August fourteenth of that year. If I could do the time warp, maybe I could ride a wave, return to there, verify that date, and breathe in the mood. On the other hand, a sliver of cerebellum thinks I’m still living and existing back then, feeding streams of knowledge across the void to me here and now. Alas, contributing to the confluence of confusion, multiple mes are feeding multiple mes, including this me, from multiple moments in my existence to create this big shiny moment that I think of now.
Oh, the hell with it. “Let’s Do The Time Warp Again.” It’s just a jump to the left, and a step to the right.