I’m at a work station. One those stands with a big tan CRT monitor on top, tower PC, keyboard on sliding tray. Something from the 1990s. Whole thing is just wide enough for the monitor. I’m one of many at such computer work stations. Large room. Wide and tall. I’m in the last row, on the end. Fourth one in line. This gives me space to my right. It’s open there and behind me.
Everyone is doing through thing. It’s a hubbub of clicking, clacking, talking, laughing. I’m doing my thing, reviewing files for a dead friend. The computer files on the screen on red. They fill the screen. When I print things out, the paper and folders are red. I suppose, when I’m wondering about the red while I’m dreaming, that the red is supposed to be symbolic of something. I don’t get it. Urgency? Warning? Don’t know. I’m also wondering why I’m going through folders about a dead guy. He’d been a friend but he died a while ago. My rational side intrudes: it’s your birthday. You’re sixty-five. Dead guy was a year older than you. Never lived to be sixty-five. Collect the dots.
Aha, dots probably collected. My wife is pestering me for specific information. This annoys me. She flits in to demand I look at something, sure that it’s important. I already looked and moved on while she wasn’t there. But she keeps coming back, asking to see specific files that I already read and closed.
Many others are behind me. Two women and a man are among them. The women are attractive. I gather that they’re foreigners. Maybe British and Scottish. They’re friends. I think one is with the guy. He seems American. He comes and goes. I keep catching snatches of the women’s conversation. They’re speaking of going someplace, doing something. I’m familiar with the areas and offer some unrequested advice, which they shun.
“Keep yourself to yourself,” I tell myself, sorting files on the computer. I’m testy with my wife as she comes and asks for information on a specific date and event. Without responding to her verbally, I search for the appropriate document, drilling down through information. She doesn’t realize what I’m doing and hectors me. I snap back with an explanation. She then goes away.
Meanwhile, the British and Scottish women have become friendlier. As if they sensed they rebuffed me and now want my friendship — or something — they step closer. I’m aware that they’re surreptitiously attempting to see what I’m doing. They make a subtle show of patting me on my shoulder, touching my arm.
It all confused and wearied me. I move off the dead man’s files. Why should I be involved with them? I find myself instead working on the files for another who worked for me. Investigating this person makes no more sense than checking the dead man’s files.
I understand it all when I awaken. The sense of dissatisfaction, frustration. The searching in myself for answers about directions and desires.
No whips of any kind were in this dream, except the brutal emotional ones most of us employ on ourselves. This was a classic mélange of frustration and anxiety.
It began as a military dream. Whether this is true, I remembering being partially awake and telling myself, “Not another military dream.”
Then I wasn’t in a military dream. I was instead outside, with others. We were all all students and were scheduled to give an all-important final presentation. We’d already done one. Using feedback, we were supposed to go back and improve it.
But here I was, not at all fucking ready. It was time to go and I wasn’t dressed. I hadn’t changed my presentation, either.
I told myself, I can do this! Others began leaving for class. One reminded me that I needed to be there on time. The doors would close and lock at eight. If I wasn’t there, I would be failed.
Sure, I wasn’t worried.
Knowing that I needed to change clothes and my presentation, I went in the opposite direction of everyone else. What was I going to wear? How was I going to change the presentation.
I didn’t have answers. Time was running out. I decided, I’d wear what I had on – a red sweater with black pants – even though I’d worn those yesterday. And, by not changing clothes, I could make changes to the presentation.
Time was running out, and I’d wasted so much of it. I rushed toward class.
A bell was ringing.
I wasn’t going to make it.
I partially awoke. Thinking of the dream, I decided, I can change the outcome. Go back, dream again, and change the outcome.
I’m usually not bad at doing this. Today was a failure.
I went back. Time was running out. I would take a short-cut to get to the room. Rushing down a long flight of stairs, I came to another hallway.
It was the wrong hallway. I couldn’t reach my class room from there.
A student and a security guard were sitting there, talking about another, but the details reflected my own situation. The student asked, “What if they’re late?”
The guard replied, “It doesn’t matter. I close the doors and lock them.”
“But what if they’re really trying?”
“Doesn’t matter. The doors are locked, and they fail.”
I started back up the hall to head for my class room. I found myself there.
The door wasn’t locked. I opened it and entered.
Everyone looked at me. The teachers (two) looked at me. A classmate said, “You’re in the same clothes. You didn’t change.”
The dream ended.
I’ll hunker down against the news
and hide inside from the weather;
living life in my cocoon
just makes the time feel better.
The inertia of being comfortable kept me holding still
the fear of failing stopped me from courting risks
the weariness of trying sheltered me in place
the leeriness of being exposed trapped me in my space
You ever have a morning where it feels like you’ve been herding cats, and the cats just don’t want to be herded?
Yeah. More coffee, please.
Ever do distance running?
The race begins and after a brief interlude of finding your pace, you enter your zone where your legs and arms are moving with orchestrated pace and you are where you want to be and where you expected to be. Interior dialogue begins to help focus. Time and distance pass and you feel good, even great as your body feels its power and responds.
And then, without warning, here is the wall.
The wall is many impressions at once. It feels like you’re running in sludge. Where your feet were lifting and dropping with relative ease and precision, you suddenly feel wobbly and your feet are heavy. Your legs feel heavy. An undertow has sucked all your energy out to sea. You just want to completely stop, sag and breath.
But you know that this will pass if you can keep your arms and legs moving. That’s why you’ve trained, to learn how to keep your arms and legs moving, how to properly breath, how to find the oxygen in your lungs and get it to your heart, into your blood and to your muscles. You’ve trained to know what to do when it happens and take the pieces of broken focus and put them back together so you can keep going.
Well, I’ve hit the writing wall this morning. My body is sagging despite my stretching and yawning, and my mind is screaming, “I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna.” It’s cold, gray and wet outside. My eyes are tired. My morning coffee is cold and it doesn’t taste good. It’s Sunday, come on, aren’t you supposed to take Sunday off to sit and chill? You deserve a day off from dealing with the Penta Majur.
And I know some of this wall comes from unique places within. Emotional demands have eaten into the writing reserves. I’ve learned that a friend and family member by marriage had open-heart surgery a few weeks ago without telling anyone. Only his wife knew. And you wonder, why wouldn’t they tell anyone this? He didn’t have insurance and her insurance is a miserable and greedy company which is barely covering any of the bill. She’s well employed and a hard worker, with an impressive job title and salary, but this has drained their finances.
I know some of this wall is holiday related as I pause to consider what was and what now isn’t. I understand my nostalgic nature even if I can’t control it.
And I know some of this wall comes from dealing with news and protests and murders and deaths and hatred and racism and bigotry and –
And there is the wall.
My dreams reflected this last night, too, putting me through the paces of trying to sell a car, a sports car which I owned for twenty years but traded in for a new SUV, a car that reflected some of the pleasure I felt with what I’d achieved, where I was and where I was going, a car that then became a reminder of where I’d been and what I’d achieved and that I was no longer going anywhere, car that reminded me that time had passed. And yet a car that I missed because I’d enjoyed considerable pleasure driving that car on trips, and it was associated with the validation found in work and promotions.
I saw all that in the dream as the dream masters chastised me for not following proper procedures while selling my car, ordering me back into line, and confusing me with demands that I need to write my requirements in white on black socks, which totally befuddled me because that makes no sense. And then, there is the waking reflections on what makes sense and does not, with gentle chiding amusement over the expectations that everything is to make sense. That’s the interesting thing about writing: that you must always make sense in a world that doesn’t make sense.
The writer within is demonstrating remarkable patience. He wants to write but he’s telling me, you’re just a little tired. It’s understandable, that’s okay. Take some time to sit in quiet, relax, drink some more coffee, read, surf the net, look out the window, watch the trees, the birds, the clouds and rain, and the passing pedestrians. Observe life. Let your energy build.
The wall is there but you’ll break through. Be patient and persevere.
Somewhere in the middle of the night, the black steamrolled me.
It may have started with a series of disturbing dreams. I was with a group, a class of sorts, and a woman poured coffee onto my computer keyboard as a joke. I cleaned it up as other actions began. Then, in dream fashion, I was vacuuming dry autumn leaves up in the living room with my father…what…? Then I sat on a sofa to rest, and felt a force trying to lift me up from the sofa and move me…. I decided to let it. It took me across the room and set me on the floor.
A cat puking on my chair and demanding let out at 4:15 AM disrupted the dreams and may have contributed to my black mood.
Stepping in the puke could have been a catalyst to further darkness.
Writing in my head as I returned to sleep became a slamfest. Self-esteem drained out as my inner critic took over. “That stuff you’re writing is unimaginative, weak and turgid. That crap you published is a disease to humanity. Chuck it all. Find a useful hobby. Knitting, or water painting. Take up baking. Don’t write, please, for all that’s bright and beautiful in the world, don’t write.”
Sleep was recalcitrant after that, telling me, “I don’t want to get anywhere near you, with that mood coming up. I’m reading the signs, and a bad storm is rising.”
This black is a greatest hits compilation. Low self-esteem, depression, weariness, anger, irritation, resentment, then another cover of depression.
‘It’s okay not to always write,’ I read in another blog.
Maybe I’ll take the day off. Either that, or open any vein, and see what comes out.
Just countin days till I die
Tryin to dredge up a will to survive
veggin on tv scenes
Wishin death would come
Permittin me to end this run
sleepin with my eyes open
Talkin to my machines
Because they’re the only ones who seem to seem
to care about what I say
So when you ask how r u? 🙂
I don’t care if you smile and walk away
Bcuz we both know what I’ll say
Words from the the spectrum’s dark side
I’m sliding along the spectrum of emotions today. The spectrum itself is on a fulcrum. The slightest shift tips it sliding one way or the other.
Some are wild slides. I slip from depression to elation to bitterness and frustration, zing zing zing. Exhausting, but I’m older, experienced in my mind and body’s ways, and have some sense this will pass. Last night and the early morning both had me sliding toward the spectrum’s darker end. Self-pity and regret stifled my breathing. Reading helped me out.
I’ve not been reading much, I thought, then corrected, I’ve been reading non-fiction and news, but not fiction. So I retreated into The Signature of All Things. I started reading it a month ago. I added new books to my tower of reading and realized I needed to finish Signature before permitting new reading. A book of a woman reaching understanding of herself and heartbreak, the novel enabled some quiet reflection and delivered new insights into me and my existence.
I believe this mood will pass, recognizing it for one of the more prolonged types of funks that sometimes shroud me. They’ve always passed before, prompting speculation about what sort of guarantees that provide (none), but it does give some expectations, and helps me stay upright as I slide along.