An Instruction Dream

This dream featured Mila Kunis and included my SIL, along with a cost of fifty more strangers.

I was sitting in a terminal. Don’t know what means of transportation, only that I was on a journey and waiting to start the next leg. Beside me, one empty seat removed, is Mila Kunis. She’s on the same trip. She is talking about where she’s been and where she’s going, answering questions for people. I’m listening but not paying deep attention to her.

We’ve been given a package. Included in that package is a small, tattered book. Small, about 1/2 inch thick, four inches by three inches. Black or dark blue or green. The cover color might be different for other people in the group. I’ve seen some with red, brown, and tan, but I’m not certain that they have the same book. I’ve opened my book. The pages are very thin. There are symbols inside. The symbols look like hieroglyphics in faded black ink. Bird, eyes, pyramids. I begin working my way through the symbols because I think they’re important to learn. I’m soon starting to read other material and interpret it by using the symbols.

My SIL comes up. We’re surprised and pleased to see one another. She’s traveling, too. We’re going to the same place. Asked me what I’m doing with the book. She’s noticed it but I’m the only one in the group with it open. I explain what I’m doing and what I’ve learned so far. She tells me that’s a great idea, that she wants to do that, too, can I help her get started? I agree, and I start reading things to her, explaining the symbols and their relationships. Mila Kunis joins us to learn, too.

We’re all then called to move to another section. When I go there, I realize that I’ve seen the new place. They’re part of the symbols. I realize, too, that for us to move forward as planned, we need as a group to be arranged differently. I mention these things to SIL and Mila. SIL calls that out to the travel leader. The leader doesn’t know about it but he believes me. He wants me to arrange everyone as they should be.

I give instructions. Everyone has a chair. They need to be in one straight line at a specific place. I tell them to do this. When we finish, another group arrives and then ‘takes off’. The group I’m in wants to know why they went first. I explain, “Because their line was straight. We’re not aligned.” I’m looking along the line of chairs. It’s a tiled floor. With the tile pattern, it’s very easy to see that we’re not aligned.

I explain that to everyone. “Look at where you’re sitting. Look at the line on the tile. We need to be in a straight line. You should all be aligned on the same line of tile.” I walk along, repeating this, pointing it out to people, encouraging them to move and fix the line. They finish doing that. We’re ready to take off.

I turn to wait. I’m the only one standing but that, it seems from my reading, is right. While I’m waiting, I resume studying the book.

Dream end.

A Witnessing Dream

I, and another man, were rushing down the street through clear, sunny weather, eager to get to work. Each of us were on the sidewalk. He was ahead of me. The road and sidewalks were wide, and well-maintained. There was no other traffic.

Another friend, an elderly and short retired doctor who often reminds me of a garden gnome (except he never smokes a pipe, and he’s more slender than your typical garden gnome) was rushing head-on toward another friend.

Garden gnome wasn’t in a car. The other friend was in a red car, but it was like a cartoon car. I could see into it.

Watching them close on one another (with garden gnome hailing them and grinning), I thought, they’re both going too fast. They’re going to crash.

They did.

I slowed to watch, worrying and expecting many of the standard things seen in a high-speed crash. The two came together but the one in the car was ejected straight into garden gnome. They both slid down the street hundreds of feet, coming to rest in an intersection.

Oh, no, I thought. There’s traffic. They’re going to be run over.

The garden gnome stood, grinning, unfazed, astonishing me. The other was also unhurt. Collecting herself, she hurried away as the garden gnome tried to speak with her.

Reassured (but astonished) that they were okay, I carried on. Getting to work, I encountered the garden gnome. We exchanged insights about what’d happened. We were laughing about it, since he was okay. I was enthralled by the slide he’d taken. It’d been monumental. I’d never seen anything like that before. He was still interested in talking to the other person, the woman, he said, but she was avoiding him. Then, seeing her, he rushed off again, calling her as he went.

I continued on to work but then was hurrying down the sidewalk along the street again, eager to get to work. The garden gnome was racing toward another friend. She was in a car. He wasn’t. They were weirdly like a video game.

I thought, I just saw this happen. Is it going to happen again?

It did. They crashed together. She was ejected. They slid along the road together.

The crash had been greater than before, sending debris into every direction. I rued not checking on them the previous time, so this time I went back to check on them. Both were fine. Each rushed off after reassuring me of that.

Well, that baffled the hell out of me. In the dream, I thought, I witnessed the same accident twice. Do these things happen in threes? Will there be a third?

Then I was called to work, except work was over, or that phase that’d been going on. We were continuing on to another phase.

Two distinguished and accomplished people were ahead of me. Still, outside, we were all heading toward a checkpoint. We needed to get past the checkpoint to continue. Some events were planned for the other side.

Each of us was carrying a large piece of something. I’m not sure if mine was a large stained wood object or bread to look like stained-wood. It was huge, requiring me to stretch my arms out, and slowed me a little.

One of the people, tall and mustached, wore an expensive but old-fashioned trench coat. I could tell by looking at it. The other, a younger woman, treated him with diffidence. He was talking, and they were strolling.

I was catching up with them. As I neared them, I heard him make a comment to that nature. Then he saw me and stopped.

We were going up a grassy green slope toward the checkpoint. The man, while trying to be blase, said that they should hurry so that I didn’t arrive for them. He upped their pace. I upped mine. Despite my larger burden, I got there first, pleased, triumphant, and sweaty.

“Did you wash it?” I was asked by the short, plump agent, as I looked back at the others. They remained a distance away. “You’re supposed to at least rinse it off. You guys never rinse them off.”

I didn’t know what she was talking about. I tried telling her, “It looks fine to me.” Waving that off, she escorted me to one of the tables set up for inspection as this transpired. Three tables were set up. Two other agents were present. So, they should be able to handle us in parallel, I thought as the other two arrived with their loads. I tried and failed to see what they carried.

My agent diddled and fussed without seeming to do anything. I knew, oh, they’re deliberately slowing me down. I wasn’t affronted nor outraged, but accepting, okay, slow me down here, others have more urgent needs (read, egos), and I can burst ahead once I get past these gatekeepers. I tried looking ahead to see what was next so that I could plan my actions. While I did, the other two slipped by me and went on, barely scrutinized, confirming my impression of what was going on.

The dream ended.

 

The Big Board

I checked the coronavirus big board this morning. I used to check sports or the stock market. The former is on pause and the latter is a shitstorm that I’m avoiding until the age of coro is done.

The U.S. had reached number five last night, but Iran overtook them overnight. China’s flattened growth continues to give us hope.

South Korea provides more hope, though. They took swift action and held strong after a terrible start. Meanwhile, Japan has it together.

And Russia? Their numbers astonish.

Russia

Italy’s numbers are painful (and shocking and dismaying) to view, with reports of almost eight hundred more dead overnight. I feel them.

Italy

After that, I get more granular with the U.S, looking at the state and county shots. A friend put this one together.

The red continues taking over; no state is spared. West Virginia (who has a very vulnerable population) was last to report on a case. After reading about someone who sought testing (a grim comedy), I suspect that it existed there, but incompetence (or politics) (or fear) kept the numbers from showing up.

Here’s an excerpt of the grim comedy that Carolyn Vigil endured in WV to get her husband tested.

We went to the ER, and I left James in the car. He was really sick: his fever had been as high as 104°F; he had a cough, terrible headaches, body aches. He has asthma, which can lead to more serious disease. I had no symptoms at that point, but I was trying to keep my distance from people at the hospital, because I thought I could be a carrier. A staff member met me at the door. She was very kind, but she said, ‘I don’t think we’re equipped to do this.’ A nurse came out to the car with a sticky note and the number for a hotline—which I had already tried to call, only to find that the number didn’t work—and told me I had to leave and just call that number, or drive to Morgantown, two and a half hours away. I told her, ‘I’m going to remain calm, but I’m not leaving unless he is at least screened.’ The head nurse came out and saw James, and she could tell he was sick. James and I waited in the car until they took him to a room where they could do the exam without risking others in the hospital. Once he got back there, they were very compassionate. They gave him very good care.

They first tried to rule out all other respiratory illnesses. Those tests came back negative, so they decided to go ahead and do the COVID-19 test. But we had to wait until Tuesday to get the result back. Then Tuesday came and nobody contacted us. We called the ER. The ER told us to call the state health lab. The state health lab told James to call the county health department. The county health department said, ‘We have no record of you ever being tested.’ It was bizarre.

h/t to Time.com Check the whole story. Interesting read.

Beyond it all, we’re still waiting for large pieces of information regarding duration, or an unpleasant second wind from COVID-19, waiting to see if social distancing will successfully flatten the curve and buy us time for a vaccine and more resources. Meanwhile, practice safe living out there.

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

Catching Wind

I encountered a friend last night. “How’s your writing going?” he asked. I’m paraphrasing the conversation.

As I’d been socializing more, I’d created an elevator answer for that question. “Great. Finished writing a series of five books last year, and then I edited and revised them, completing that at the end of the year, wrote a synopsis of the first novel, and compiled a list of agents for submission. Meanwhile, I’ve started writing a new novel.”

“You’re already writing another book? Don’t you need to take a break?”

“No. Writing is a pleasure. I didn’t need a break. Starting a new novel is always energizing.”

“How do you come up with ideas?”

“There are always ideas. Ideas come on from watching animals, the weather, people’s voices, expressions, and stories, newspaper articles, new inventions, dreams, reading, watching television, movies, music. Deciding which one to pursue is the challenge.”

“How do you decide?”

“It’s really about which one catches the wind and takes off. I don’t make a conscious decision about what to work on so much as I start writing. Then it comes out.”

Thinking about that today as I finish my day of writing like crazy, I reflect on all the story, novel, play, and musical ideas locked up in my mind, wondering which will ever be realized. I think if I physically could, I’d be writing twenty-four hours a day to satisfy my imagination and muses, and that still might not be enough.

Ironically, I dislike socializing. Socializing is an energy thief. It requires that I carve time out, set it aside, and focus on being polite, friendly, and speaking with others. All that is exhausting. Yet, inconveniently, socializing stimulates my writing ideas. Listening to people, watching them, and breaking out of my routines fire new ideas. There’s always a catch, isn’t there?

Now, sadly, time to stop once again. Bummer.

Conundrum

There it is, the bolt informing you that, holy shit, it’s almost December. December begins this Saturday. 

If you’re like me — and I hope you’re not — you’re agog with amazement that November is almost empty. Hell, 2018 has almost spent its calendar, and here I am, still dragging myself forward.

But, you know, take the positive, I am moving forward. It doesn’t go as fast or smoothly as desired, dreamed, or hoped for, but I keep creeping forward.

What will the end of November mean? Well, in some ways, it means a re-assessment. It means, for me, an agnostic in America, enduring the holidays, which sometimes means enjoying myself, respecting others’ beliefs and traditions, and otherwise, doing what I do, except there’s more food and music.

Likewise, the end of the year means some searching, but I search almost every day, looking for truth, hope, justice, luck, love, something to eat, answers for puzzling questions, etc. So, really, nothing, but because of where I live and who I am, everything.

Yes, it’s a conundrum. It’s a good word, conundrum.

Another Writing Update

Editing and revising continues on Book Three of Incomplete States, a novel titled, Six (with Seven). 

While remaining ambivalent about the title, I’m feeling more attached to it as I edit. I’m ambivalent about it because I conjure negative reactions from others about the title. I imagine that it will sour some because it’s different (gasp). But reading, editing, and revising the book has brought me closer to the title. I understand why that title came to me, and why it works. I also swung back toward ignoring and dismissing the naysayers, which basically goes along the lines, “Fuck you.” I like to think that they’ll be so in love with the series by the third book that they won’t care about the title.

See? I can be an dewy-eyed optimist.

Editing and revising Six (with Seven) hasn’t been all coffee and cookies. One chapter obviously needed major reconstruction. I struggled to fix it for several days. Then, one morning, I opened it and realized, the chapter didn’t work because everything had evolved away from it. It’d been an early, exploratory chapter. Now, it didn’t fit.

It still took some time to cut it. I liked the characters and the writing. It was damn prettified. I also worried that I was cutting it out of expediency. The muses didn’t agree, so I cut it. I saved it…just in case.

Once that chapter was removed, everything else fit together like fine tongue-and-groove construction. I loped through several chapters a day. It’s a fine thing to enjoy what you’ve written.

Enough patting myself on the back. Coffee has been downed, but this is free refills Friday. Time to write edit like crazy, at least one more time.

Fitbit Progress

With year’s end, Fitbit reported that for the year (which started on January 20th, because that’s when I bought the thing) I averaged six miles per day. That increased to seven miles per day in the third quarter, and up to eight miles a day average in December and so far in 2018. Of note to me is how the charts revealed significant weather changes, and the coming of the wildfire smoke. My mileage dipped with the smoke.

I did suffer injuries and illnesses throughout the year. That affected my mileage. I’ve also become a fan of the pumice stone, removing callouses from my soles.

After tracking my progress, I’m in awe and admiration of those who hike the Pacific Crest, Appalachian Trail, Camino de Santiago and others. To do those miles days after day after day takes a level of endurance and persistence that I think is beyond me.

The Novel Progresses

It’s like writing a history of the second world war. Politics, economics and personalities whirl around galactic and planetary fronts as technology causes surprises shifts and skews expectations. It can be overwhelming on some mornings, sorting out the players. Each time that the action shifts via a new twist or expands on an established twist, research and thought is demanded to understand the people, cultures and civilizations involved.

It’s hard work, and it’s fun. It’s fiction writing. It progresses, pleasing and exciting me. Yes, some boulders of frustrations are encountered, and a block ensues. I hunt around it until I find a way to carry on.

Which, if you read my posts with regularity, takes me to the doorstep of last night’s dreams.

Of course dreams are involved. I seem to be able to do little without my dreams becoming approaching the stage to provide their impressions. I accept their participation with little hesitation because the dreams tend toward the positive.

In last night’s feature, the first of a double-header, I was living under water. Not literally; this is a dream. It was an impression of living underwater. Sounds were murky and distorted, colors were diluted and glazed with an faint olive green hue. I lived as I would on land, walking about, but with the impression I was underwater. The sensation of being under intense pressure all around drove that sense.

And I was tired of it. I didn’t want to live underwater and under pressure. So I took up flying. It was that simple in the dream world, which, when I awoke and thought about it, made me long to live in a dream world.

The flying was pretty terrific. I was up and out of the water without thought (and without any splashing). Everything was sharp and clear. Visibility seemed like infinity. As I perceived the changes in the dream, I gasped and said, “I’m flying.” And a voice answered, “Of course you are.”

“But I don’t have wings,” I replied.

The unseen other laughed. While they sounded like they were located by my shoulder, I saw nothing of them. Their voice, while pleasant, intimate, soft and friendly, didn’t betray a sex. “Why would you need wings? You’re not a bird.”

I laughed on hearing that. No, I’m not a bird, but a human, flying above the world, going to wherever I selected. As dream impressions go, it was empowering cubed. In an aside, I noticed I looked like a younger version of myself and was dressed in jeans with a belt, polo shirt and shoes. Although it was all fully colorized, I barely remember those details except to know I noticed what I was wearing when I looked for my wings. I had no wings, no engines or contraptions attached to me, and was without strings. I was flying on my own.

After that, the other dream, about my home and decisions to make changes, and being overrun by animals from the neighbors amidst efforts of organizing and directing others (some took some of my FedEx delivery envelopes for their use from my big binders of organization, but I had them to spare), seemed as bland as reality, except the good mood from the main feature carried over.

As it’s carrying over now. Ready to write and excited with expectations, just the way I like it.

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