Monday, April 25, 2016

Dreams Featuring The Child

Driving the Car with The Child

I think the dream started here.  I was driving a car along city blocks in the dark.  I want to say it was before dawn, but it might have been the night.  What was important was that it was dark.  I made a right-hand turn onto a slightly busy street and realized A), I was in the back seat of the car and couldn't reach the controls, B) The Child was in the front passenger seat and would need to steer the car out of the  path of oncoming traffic.  

The Child was freaking out a little, and not able to drive, so I managed somehow (through dream fluidity) to  get back into the driver's seat and continue going.

Apartment Foyer with Mark

There's a break in the narrative.  I might have been coming home for a lunch break.  I sort of remember parking the car at some point, and I have a jumbled recollection of a dream setting that was a mash-up of our house, Mark's work, and a cafeteria.  I think it was a cold day.  

I'd come home for lunch.  Mark was home, too.  We had a short conversation about how our mornings had gone.  I started to change into different clothes and then it turned into a standing make-out session with Mark.  We somehow moved out of a bedroom/living-room and into a kind of entry hall: our door was in the middle of a long space with glass doors on either end; opposite our door was a bank of cash registers and vending machines, and a raised dining area.  There were three or four people at various tables, who were too busy eating or whatever to notice us.

We'd backed up against a vending machine or phone booth when I looked over Mark's shoulder and saw a generic dream guy (dark slacks, white shirt, blue striped business tie) from Mark's work walk through the doors.  He sort of saw us -- the recessed booth we were in blocked the view of us from about the waist down.  A startled, range of expressions crossed his face, that went something like "Ooh!  Whoops!  Oh my!  Where do I look?  Yikes, they see me seeing them.  Smile!  I'm going to pretend this didn't happen and go get lunch."

"Oh," I said, "I'd better get dressed."   Getting dressed in this case meant throwing my old purple-and-black cloak over my shoulders and holding it closed.  During the rest of the dream, I went back and forth wearing underwear, my regular bathrobe, or nothing under the cloak.

Lunch in my cloak.  With Hillary.

There was another break.  Somehow I was on a college campus (possibly Reed, only with less brick buildings), eating lunch with The Child and Hillary Clinton.  The sun was shining, the temperature was pleasant, the grass was green and flowers growing.  We had been walking, but found a space under a building to have a kind of private lunch.  I recall park benches of some sort, the space was dark, with a dry gravelly ground, sort of like being underneath a bridge or underpass.

Hillary and I were chatting, with occasional comments from The Child.  I think The Child said something a ten-year-old would say about The Joker.  I told a story about being at Reed, which involved me being the only guy on a road-trip with five women (there was an important reason that I was the only guy on this trip, but I don't recall what I was trying to tell Hillary).  Hillary asked The Child about his day.   The lunch was informal and friendly. 

And then it was time to go.  Hillary and The Child scrambled through a gap underneath the wall to the bright sunny campus outside.  I had to roll up my cloak around my mostly naked body and rolled on the ground under the wall.  

We chatted a bit as we walked.  I think there was another break because it was just The Child and me, when I realized I hadn't asked Hillary about her stance on NeoPaganism and then Hillary (in white) was on a bicycle in front of us.  

"Hang on, bud," I said,  "There's something I forgot to ask her." 

Politics and Religion

I caught up to her and said, "Mrs. Clinton, do mind if I ask you a campaign related question?" and proceeded to ask her what her stance on NeoPaganism was, which lead to a muddled explanation of what it was, with comparisons to Universalist Unitarians.  Meanwhile we're walking to her next appointment, and The Child is somewhere behind us.

I don't remember her answer exactly, but NeoPaganism wasn't on her radar, and she said something generically ecumenical.  "Oh, and it's time for my next appointment."  We walked into a wood-paneled classroom, which was also my place of employment.  It was 1:15.  My co-workers sat in a row of wooden lecture chairs (the kind with a little desktop built on the right side).  My boss was the instructor, and she was standing at the head of the class, looking at me with a controlled expression that managed to say, "Why are you fifteen minutes late?" and "Why are you at work dressed only in a cloak?"

I was so busted.  "It was nice having lunch with you, Mrs. Clinton," I said.  "I hope to see you soon."  Which was awkward, because we both new that I should be in this room, too, and that I would need to leave to get properly dressed.  

Get me to the class on time

I scurried out.  The setting had shifted a bit, it was still campus and outdoors, but it was also the inside of a vaulted college building.  I looked around for The Child, whom I needed to get to his class.

There was a commotion and I heard him.  "Oh," I thought, "Someone's found him and they're taking him along his way."

I turned a corner and I saw a woman, an amalgam of various severe teachers, dragging The Child to a class.  She was berating him non-stop.  He was trying to explain that he'd been lunching with me.   Then he tripped or something, and she became exasperated with him and pushed him as he was trying to get up.

I sailed over.  "You," I growled in my mama-bear voice, "sit!"  

She had a whiny English nanny voice.  "But he's late for his very important Artistic Expressions class."  Her red hair was done up on top of her head, and she had a beaded ribbon falling along one side of her head.


She sat resignedly on a bench or pew at the side of the hall.  

"You do not treat my child in that manner.  Do I make myself perfectly clear?"  

And the dream ended...



In the 1980's, I used to dream that I'd be driving through the streets of Corvallis, and suddenly my mother would be in the car and we'd either switched places, or else the steering wheel would switch over to her side of the car.   While I will occasionally have "I'm not in control of the car" dreams, this is the first time I've been displaced to the back seat in a while (it's more likely these days that the car's breaks or steering wheel stop working).

The make-out section of the dream is obvious anxiety about giving our back-door neighbors a show.  Which is theoretically possible, but unlikely.  Unless they're standing on our deck.

Usually, when I wear my cloak in dreams, I can fly in it.  And I'm usually not naked.  In this case I would sort of remember that I was in a state of undress, and then the dream would continue as if it were normal.

Lunch with The Child and Hillary Clinton?  The Child is preoccupied with Trump in the same sort of way he's preoccupied with The Joker.  I can only imagine that speaking about the primaries with Mark (who was reviewing local candidates for city posts) is behind this.  Though why I would want to know what Hillary's stance on NeoPaganis is is beyond me.  Maybe she'll lead us to a Goddess-based theocracy?  

I will sometimes dream The Child is in peril (usually because he's stupidly climbed onto a railing at the top of the Empire State building).  This is the first time the peril has come from a person, much less a mash-up of teachers.  Hmmm... the dream teacher was mix of some of his teachers whom he hasn't always liked the best, but the Very Important Self-Expression Art class seems straight out of the mouth of one of my teachers who wanted you do create your own unique art her way.  

This is the most that I've dreamed of The Child in more-or-less one sitting.  Maybe he was talking in his sleep.

Working out:  Monday afternoon's session:  20 minutes and 210 cal on the elliptical.  3x12x50lbs on the pec fly.  3x12x80 on the lat pull-down. 3x12 curl-ups.  3x12x35lbs on the barbells.  3x12x10lbs with an overhead triceps curl.  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Journal: Working Out

Working Out:  Went to the gym Thursday.  20 minutes and 220 cal on the elliptical.  10 and 120 cal on the rowing machine.  The assisted chin-up and dip machine made me laugh while I was doing the chin-ups, so... um  3 sets of 8 dips and 2 sets of 8 chin-ups at 14.  Downstairs I realized I had pulled my pectorals a little on the pec-fly machine, so only 3X12 at 50lbs.  12 reps at 70 and 2 sets of 12 at 80 lbs on the lat-pulldown.  3X12 curl-ups.  3 sets of 12 reps at 30 lbs barbell curls.

I'm reading "The Witch of Lime Street" on the elliptical.  I'm about half-way through.  The subject is the Scientific American magazine's prize for a medium who could summon spirits under scientific testing.  I think the most interesting things I've learned are that terms like ectoplasm and telekinesis seem to have been coined in the 1920's.  It provides some non-mystical social background for the writings of Violet Firth/Dion Fortune.

Not much effective writing Friday morning; a thunderstorm disrupted my sleep.

More Working Out:  Filled to the brim with virtue, I went to the gym as it opened Saturday.  30 minutes and 310 cal on the elliptical (and more "The Witch of Lime Street").  10 and 120 cal on the rowing machine.  3 sets of 12 dips and chin-ups at 16 on the assisted chin-up and dip machine.  Downstairs, 3X12 at 50lbs on the pec-fly machine, 3X12 at 80 lbs on the lat-pulldown.  3X12 curl-ups.  3 sets of 12 reps at 35 lbs barbell curls.

My weight appears to be up... I'm not sure if I should blame the scales at the gym or not, but I've suddenly gained two pounds.  Maybe it's muscle.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Flowers and Weather

Working Out:  Went Tuesday.  20-something minutes on the elliptical for 230 calories.  8 reps at 18, 16 and 14 on the assisted dip/chin machine.  12 reps at 40 and 2X12 at 50 lbs on the pec fly.  12 reps at 70 and 2X12 at 80lbs on the lat pulldown.  2x12 curl-ups.  

I had some dream early this morning, but I don't recall the content.  Lately I've been listening to Jean Micheal Jarre, and my sense is that a mash of his later electronica was the soundtrack.

The temperatures the last few days have unseasonably been in the mid 80's.  The morning's aren't so bad, but the house does get a trifle warm by the late afternoon.  It's good shorts weather, but of course I fret that we wont see any more rain until next October.  Thankfully, thunderstorms are rolling in this evening and rain is forecast for this weekend.

Luckily, it hasn't been too dry for the irises, which I need to make a special effort to appreciate and smell.  We've got some in the front driveway, and the purple flowers are aways pleasant to see as I pull in or pull out.  We also have them surrounding the ornamental cherry tree.  

Coastal Hike

Last Sunday we went to the Three Rocks / Lincoln City area for a hike with N.H. and G.H. (their teen-age boys did not come with them).  We started off at a parking lot with a name I'd thought I'd remember (a single, two-syllable word like "Wizard Park" or something like that).  It was off of the Salmon River.

The skunk cabbage was beginning to bloom, and it wafted over the parking lot.  It doesn't really smell like skunks, but it does have a pungent aroma.

When The Child went to visit the boat landing there, I thought it looked vaguely familiar.  Later, as we climbed and I looked across the river at the little cove, I realized I was looking at Camp Westwind.  

I thought we were going to the beach, but I should have realized it would be more of a hike since we were meeting N and G.  I typically get cold at the beach, and I didn't exactly trust the temperature forecast, since a cloud and the wind can make the coast feel ten degrees colder than expected.  So, I ended up wearing jean,  a white turtleneck, and a long-sleeved purple cowboy shirt.  (Mark accuses me--rightly--of always being underdressed on these ventures, and I probably over-compensated.)  N commented that I was very well dressed for a hike.  I noticed that all the Oregonians were dressed in tank-tops and shorts.

We hiked through a nature conservancy area.  At first we were in the shade of trees and followed a little stream.  The setting reminded me of the upper Reed College canyon.  It was a little warm, even in the shade, and whenever we happened upon a tributary stream, we appreciated the cooler air surrounding it.  I took off the purple shirt I wore as an outer layer.

We broke out of the trees and followed the path through swaying, calf-high grasses.  Several small birds, possibly falcons (they had cross-bow shaped wingspans and square tails) flew overhead, along with vultures and some bald eagles.  The wind cresting over the south side of the slope made me with for a hang-glider.

After about an hour or so of hiking, resting, and climbing, we made it to the geological marker near the top.  At this point I discovered that both the batteries in my camera and in its case were dead.  So no pictures of this hike.

After a light lunch of sandwiches, cheese and crackers, and chocolate.  We hiked back down.  I had a nice conversation with N about writing, kids, and learning styles.

Then we drove to a beach near Lincoln City's lighthouse court.  It also has a cute name that I can't remember.

The Child ran to the surf.  When it lapped over my bare feet I thought my feet were going to freeze off.

I spent some time talking with G, and then went to strand with my beach compass to make geometrical figures in the sand.  After a while, I looked at my arms.  There was a sharp tan line just above my elbows; below it my arms were getting sunburnt, above it, my triceps were pasty white.  It looked like I was wearing very long red gloves.

Monday morning I woke up a little sore and tired.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The John Runes

Working Out:  Went to the gym Wednesday.  200 cal at 20 minutes on the elliptical.  Around 100 calories and 10 minutes on the rowing machine.  8 reps at 18, 16, and 14 on the assisted dip/chin station.  12 reps at 30, 40, and 50 lbs + 6 reps at 60lbs on the pec fly (sore pecs Thursday).  12 reps at 60, 70, and 80 on the lat pulldown + 6 reps at 90.  2 X 13 curl-ups on the suspended curl-up station.

Dreams:  I dreamed a bunch of us visited a family in England.  The family lived in a tower or castle, but they struck me as American middle-class.  I think it was a cultural exchange because I have a sense they were sharing stories with us, but all I can recall (from Tuesday) is at one point we were making a circle of fir cones around the father for some magical or mystical reason.   

I dreamed Wednesday and Thursday night, but I don't recall the content other than I think they were discussion dreams and that one this Friday morning was very Technicolor with an electronica-pop music score Jean Micheal Jarre could have written.

Writing:  Writing has been hard.  I've fallen back to just writing to keep the word count at about 500 to 1000 depending.  OK, sometimes 250.   I guess I'm in a fallow period or something where it's hard to engage with what I'm doing.   As I was writing yesterday, I realized I wasn't feeling any of the characters' excitement or excitement about the subject.  I switched to drawing, and that helped me some, but then the crazy John-runes appeared, which arc cool, but may be a sign of frustration (they used to freak out one of my co-workers, who opined that I drew them when I was stressed).

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mad Writing Schemes

Alternatives to the Writing Residency I didn't get into, which would have hosted me for twelve days with a room in a compound with other writers, sculptors, dancers, architects, and other artists.

Write on a Train! About $45 for a round trip to Portland and back on the Amtrak Cascades, about $90 to Seattle and back, and about $700 to New York City and back (although I'd want to spend $1500 for a sleeper room)... at which point I'd just take a plane. Also, with depressing frequency, the train often turns into a (nice) bus.
Steampunk Balloon Writing: attach weather balloons (and gears!) to a lawn chair, grab a cell phone, a GPS, and a laptop -- oh, and a parachute! -- and write. I could make it a social media extravaganza as I write a short story at 3,000 or 4,000 feet, um, heading east? I think this was a MacGyver plot... The biggest cost would be the $500 fine (at least) from the FAA for flying an aircraft without a license.
Escape to the coast and write at Sylvia Beach Hotel.  Maybe I'll stay in one of the rooms that has a ghost.   I'd have to book the Tolkien Room, at $120 a night. Also, there's always that tsunami worry in the back of my head.
Go urban in the east side of Portland and write at McMenamin's White Eagle About $70 a night. Mark and I stayed here once; the rooms are fairly small and it's more a place to crash than to write. Plus trying to sleep over the Rock-n-Roll saloon downstairs.  Luckily, it's in the "fairless square" so the PDX MAX line is accessable.
Write in the spiffy McMenamin's Edgefield About $50 a night -- which is oddly affordable -- but there's a catch; this place is really popular with weddings, so good luck trying to book a room for longer than four days (or on a weekend).  Cue 20-something wedding guests proclaiming "I am so drunk!"
A friend told me about this Cute Place on the other side of Willamette Pass.   About $100 a night. This place looks really cute and it looks like it is suited more for groups than individuals. Looks popular with skiers and motorcycle clubs.
Write and stay at Odell Lake Lodge I stayed in the lodge once over ten years ago, and I hope they've improved the matresses.  I think I'd try to book one of the cabins, like "Newberry Crater", for $110 a night. It looks like there are other larger options that would work for a group write-in.
Become inspired by the waters at Belknap Hot Springs If I had a little RV or van, I could stay there for $35 a night; otherwise, it's about $130 a night.  I love the garden there, and it would be the perfect place for early morning inspirational walks. Hmm, they might have weddings here. 
Crater Lake Lodge $180 / night. It could be an interesting place to write, but my sense was that the public spaces were dark and noisy.  It might be cheaper to rent a nearby "camping motel" and slum it at the lodge.
OSU Fishtrap Facility $650 a week for a one-room yurt
Fall Mountain Lookout Cabin It's Not-Camping in an old fire lookout tower!  "I love not camping!"   I'm not sure what the cost is, but I think the place is booked for the next year.  PS: It's camping.
Escape to Room 6 (the only room with a desk) at the Jennings' Hotel @125 per night to stay in Joseph Oregon. There is a residency program.... and the cost is you contribute what you write to their collection.
Stay in the Fireside Motel in Yachats $660 a week in one of the "Western Gull" rooms. Probably nicer than the less expensive Dublin House. As an added perk, probably within walking distance to a coffee/hot cocoa shack (which I have written in before).  And there's that tsunami thing again....
Find a lovely hideaway cabin on Mt. Hood Cost unknown, I need to speak with someone who knows its secret.
Find someone with a boat I can rent and live on and write for a week First I have to find someone with a boat they'll rent me....
Figure out how to get into the Spring Creek Project... Hmmm... the cost of this is that you have to collaborate with a stranger.  
Figure out a way to camp out in the Crumpacker Family Library... I would love to pilgrimage to the CFL and write in the converted Masonic Temple, surrounded by books. Having sat on the four thrones there, I can tell you they're comfortable. Alas and alack, I'm not finding any writers' residencies with them, and they probably take a dim view of folks sleeping on the reading desks.
Run away to a Mountain Chateau at the Oregon Caves! (Just think of it, Petra!) It's possible to get a single room for about $110 a night.  Books quickly.  On the plus side, the Oregon Caves are about 100 feet away, and also the chateau is supposedly haunted!  
Just stay home... Cue Dorothy Gale: "If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with."

Thinks... saving my money for a Macbook is looking more attractive.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Dream: Rainbow Moon

Dreams:  I don't recall exactly where I was, but Mark and I and a group of folks were walking up a slight incline outside.  We looked to our left as we climbed, and over a river there was a dark desert or scrub-land.  The land was dark because there were thick, heavy storm clouds over it.  Our side of the river was less cloudy, and the sun shining on the sudden rains over the desert created an intense rainbow.

"Wow, I said, "It's a double-- no it's a triple rainbow!"  The rainfall grew thicker, though none of it fell on us, and the rainbows got brighter and more expansive.  "Whoa!  Four, five..." we counted the secondary rainbows appearing above and beneath the primary, "...eleven, twelve, thirteen!"  The last rainbow was actually a small circle in the sky surrounding a full moon.  It was the coolest thing I've ever seen, and yes, in real life you can't have a rainbow surrounding a full moon because the moon and the sun wont be in the sky at the same time unless they're on opposite sides of the horizon at dusk or dawn... but this dream moon was fairly high in the sky.

There was a break, and I was flying (and possibly naked?) really quickly to get home to pack or something.  Home in this case was, I think, the old rental on Adams street.

Then there was another break, and I was at Arcosanti.  Only I was getting my stuff to leave, and I was going to drive away.  I'm thinking K.C. was there (I'd critiqued a manuscript of hers), and a mix of people.  I wanted to leave soon so I could get to Nevada (?) before it was too late (it takes about three days to drive from Arcosanti, in central Arizona, to the middle Willamette Valley in Western Oregon).  
I'd found some old books and other things I'd left behind, and I was gathering them to take back with me.  A bunch of us went into the valley below Arcosanti and were hanging out in a tower.  (This is the second Arcosanti with a Tower dream I've had this week.)  The tower was mostly plywood covered with burlap or grain.  I asked Mary Hoadley about the covering and it helped to increase the humidity to comfortable levels.

P.K. appeared, much to my surprise.  She said, "Oh, I'm really into teen counselling, and I'm moving here." This was some kind of second career that was news to me, as I though she was retiring from her job with the OSU aquarium.   I told her about my dream and was re-enacting it, and she started to take pictures, and I'd somehow reminded her to take pictures into and out of the sun "See, this way the photo is red, but this other way it's blue."  

She was going back to Oregon, and wondered if I could go with her, but she was going to stay a lot later.  I weighed the merits of travelling early alone, or travelling much later with company and reluctantly decied to go later.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dead Deer

This Sunday when we visited my folks, they gave us the news that they (actually, the dog) had found a dead deer against one of the corners of the house.   I guess it was a mule deer, or whatever kind of deer are in the forest around Corvallis (and Eugene).  They'd called about three institutions trying to find someone to take it, but it was Sunday and no one was open or willing.

The deer was on its side.  It was easy to see how my dad thought it might be sleeping at first.  Then one noticed the legs, which were sticking straight out instead of folded underneath the deer.  The black cloven hooves looked sharp and sculptural. Next came the dead-meat smell: kind of sour, kind of spicy, kind of like hamburger gone bad or someone's pungent reheated microwave fish.  The smell wasn't too strong because it was a cool morning and the deer was on the northwestern side of the house.   The next thing I noticed was the dried tracks of poop (or something worse) dripping out of the deer's anus.  When I walked over to the front of the deer, its dead eye flashed at me like lights in a fog, which was creepy and cool all at once, and I found myself moving my head to make the eye light up with luminous fog again.  It was like looking into a dirty river and seeing the sunlight reflected back on suspended particles. The eye had a greenish, otherworldly tinge to it, and I understood how people might think of ghost deer.

Many years ago, I had a dream about small birds hopping from out of a bloody deer carcass in the snow.  Luckily this was less bloody, and I wondered if I would have deer dreams later (editor's note:  not so far).

We had to move the carcass before it bloated and started to attract scavengers.  Mark apparently stuck the deer with a stick and it didn't explode or have babies pop out.   We weren't sure if the deer was the one we'd seen limping a few weeks earlier, or if the deer had been struck by a car, or if it was a cougar kill, or if there wasn't enough of some nutrient in its graze, or if some strange deer disease had struck it down.   We donned rubber gloves, changed into work clothes, and got an Alaskan Elk Bag and got to work bagging the corpse. 

But not before pictures.

Dad posed for a moment near the deer's rear while I sang, "Oh mighty hunter of great fighting stock..."  Then he picked up the deer by the hooves and I began to work the head into the bag.  Rigor-mortis had not set in, and the deer's head flopped on a rubbery neck.  Redish goop began to come out of its nose and mouth.  I got the head into the bag and out of sight as quickly as possible.  A bit of fur on the neck brushed my arm in the gap between the top of my glove and the bottom of my sleeve.  Mark helped prep the bag and yanked it over the shoulders.  The sour, rotting hamburger microwave fish dish smell increased.  More reddish gore ran out of the deer's head and soaked the white bag with red splotches.

Between the three of us grunting and shoving and heaving, we managed to get the deer into the bag.  At this point we noticed its gonads and realized it wasn't a doe.  More heaving and shoving a lifting and we mange to get the deer over the shrubbery and into the driveway.   Ichor had seeped through the bag and got onto Mark's pants.We'd planned to put it onto a cart, but there was ick dripping out of the bottom, so we hefted the carcass along the driveway.  Mark made dead body jokes, and as I scootched backwards, I felt like I was in the moving the ambassador's body scene from the first season of "Downton Abbey."  

We moved the bag to the side of the road below the driveway.  Later flies swarmed the bag trying to find a way in, and the local vultures appeared to be mightily interested in flying over the house.  

The deer was a banned topic for lunch.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Abandon Ship!

Working Out:  Went to the gym Thursday.  Rowing machine: about 105 calories in 10 minutes.  Someone was on the assisted dip-chin machine, so I went downstairs.  I had a conversation with some Wordos Tuesday, and they suggested that increasing weights would build muscle mass as opposed to lots of reps at lower weights.  So... to mix things up, I started the pec fly with five reps at 20, then five more reps at 30, all the way up to 50.  I figured it's been a while, so I should warm up with super-low weights.  At the lat pull-down, I started at 40, and did 10 reps, increased by 10 pounds up to 80, and added 5 reps at 90 to the end.  Curl-ups I did my standard 13 reps.  Barbell curls, I started at 30, did 2 sets of 12 reps, and then went up to 35lbs.  Back upstairs to the chin-dip, which was being used by the slowest people ever, so I got in 10 minutes of the elliptical for something like 80 cals before doing 3 sets of 8 reps of dips/chins at 18-16-14.

Writing:  Friday morning I sat down to slug away at my potential Sword and Sorceress manuscript ... and I realized

  • it was a loose series of vignettes, 
  • the character's conflict was low-stakes and very internal, 
  • and that my chest was filling up with a profound loathing.  

I think one problem is that the story started with a literary character sketch at the Word-Crafters conference and I was trying to make her fit into a Sword and Sorceress story.  Thinking back on Problem Manuscripts, they have their genesis in (usually character) workshops.  Anyway, although I hate to think about the time I've put into it, at this point it seems the best to start over with something new.  Like finger-painting.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Stay-At-Home Residency?

Dream:  I had a "stuck at Arcosanti" dream.  This one was a little different in that there was a tower at Arco and I was supposed to put a message on the top, and I was packing up and leaving.

Writing:  I didn't get into a writers' residency program this August.  I was looking forward to taking about two weeks off and writing at a compound in Eastern Oregon with other writers, sculptors, painters and other artists.  Apparently, there was a lot of competition to get in.  I was rather hoping, since I'd applied last January, that an early application would help my chances.

On the up side, Mark is being very supportive and suggested I simply take off for a week somewhere.  My fantasy would be to go to Portland and write in the Crumpacker Family Library. Other writers have suggested the Sylvia Beach Hotel, some place in Yachats, Belknap Hot-springs, a secret place on Mt. Hood, or Crater Lake.  Portland (especially McMeniman's) is working out to be expensive, and looking around at other places to lodge on the cheap, $40.00 a night is pretty common.   If I went almost anywhere for ten days that easily translates to $500.  Which I'd rather spend on a MacBook that can run Scrivener.

Bother.  Not loving the Writer's Life right now.

My other thought is simply buying a deck chair and a bunch of weather balloons for a "steampunk themed" writer's travel vacation.  (Checks Internet)  Looks like the FAA might have something to say about that...

Monday, April 04, 2016

Hero of What?

Dreams:  The last few nights I have had unpleasant / banal / sexy  dreams I won't report.

Writing:  Going slowly. 

Working Out:  Well... I did go with the Family to Get Air, a local trampoline gym, and jumped around off-and-on for about an hour  I think I managed to pace things so I'm not too sore (fingers crossed, it seems to be working so far).  I'm also more toned in general the last time I bounced for a half-hour straight pretending to be Linda Carter in her role as Wonder Woman, so my pectorals aren't tender from bouncing up-and-down.  

Lately, I've been reading Joseph Campbell's "Hero of a Thousand Faces."  The Hero's Journey keeps coming up in various writers' circles, and it comes up in spirituality circles, too, so I thought I'd give it a try.   I'm reading a third edition; even so, it's a piece firmly grounded in the 1950's, so it feels hetero-normative, and quaintly Occidental.   Dreams and myths are treated as private and public versions of the same thing, which justifies a Freudian interpretation of myths and legends.  There's a Frazierian tendency to make every story the same underneath a local cultural veneer.   There's a curious split between male and female, mastery and object to be mastered, and ego, superego and id.

I wish Campbell would talk about the Minotaur as a reconciliation between the light and dark selves.  I wish Campbell could go beyond the patriarchal roles of Hero-King and Conquered-Queen-Prize.  And while there is something to be said about Freud, and people's tendency to date their parents, it would be nice to hear the stories told from a woman's or a queer man's point of view.  I'd be interested in hearing stories where there isn't a wise mentor showing up to herd the hero to his destiny, and he has to figure out where that stupid gateway between the worlds is on his own.

More Working Out:  The tops of my legs are a little sore from yesterday's sideways pikes on the trampoline; but I can walk.  Actually went to the gym and eased into things.  200 calories in 21 minutes on the elliptical.  70 or so calories in 10 minutes on the rowing machine.  3x8 dips and chins, starting at the maximal assist and slowly working up.  And... as I'd suspected, I've gained about two pounds in the four-something weeks I haven't been at the gym.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Dream: Three Ladies of the Aurora

Labyrinth dream Tuesday night.  I don't recall a whole lot other than I was leading a bunch of folks through a kind of spy house, and we got a little turned around and I said, "Oh, we have to go this way AND THEN turn left."  While I was speaking, we were travelling through a hallway, and I pushed  a dead-end wall back and then slid it sideways so we could go through a secret passage to the rest of the spy house.  The spy house was a kind of L-shaped concrete and glass affair, with atriums and balconies.

The other part of the dream that I remember was after the spy house.  I think Mark was with me, but I was travelling with at least one other person on a broomstick.  It might have been a Star Wars style speed bike.  The broom or bike was going very quickly, and I was at the tip; I may have been standing and leaning forward.  In any case, we were about thirty or forty feet in the air and travelling very fast to meet The Three Ladies of the Aurora.  They were giantesses covered in shimmering lights of teal, blue, and purple.  Each Lady had her own signature color streaming up off of their body and arcing into the twilight sky.  The Purple Lady was the oldest (she had grey hair done in a coiffure that I'm realizing in real life is based on my grandmother's) and the most mysterious and the most dangerous.  The Teal Lady was (probably) the youngest; she and the Blue Lady were younger and less dangerous.  It wasn't that they were mean or malicious, it was more that they were wild and untamed, like a thunderstorm or a solar flare.

We were travelling very fast toward a copse of trees where they lived and Mark handed me a box and said something like, "You'd better hope that what you need is in this box."  In waking life, the box was a cubic wooden box I own.  I opened the box, and at on the top there was white butcher paper wrappings, which flew out of the box because we were travelling so fast.  Underneath that were golden petals of a flower, possibly a yellow poppy, which were nice, but not useful, although I have a vague notion that I could have given the thin gold to the Three Ladies.   We were zooming closer and closer to the The Ladies, who stood over the trees, their cold flames leaping up to the sky and weaving together.   Under the gold was a pair of dark sunglasses.  This was the item I needed.  I put them on and was given a small measure of protection from The Ladies.  

There was an interaction with them, but I don't recall exactly what was said or done.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dreams of Math and Abs

Sunday night/Monday morning's dreams were of the wandering variety.  I'm pretty sure a forest was involved.   At one point I was looking at a large holographic map of the Eugene area and was surprised that the distance between my house and where I work was the same as from where I work to Mount Pisgah.

The only thing I remember clearly was that a writer friend of mine commented favorably upon my abs (ha! wish fulfillment there, since, when I'm feeling generous, I'd say I have a two-pack; I"m not sure why I dreamed she said that).   The other thing I remember was that there were four of us and we were trying to divide three sausages evenly between us, and said if we cut each link into fourths, that would work because three and four were factors of twelve (yes, it was a math discussion about least common denominators).  

The Family returns from their long travels tonight.  I wish I had gotten more done, but that seems to be the way of projects.  It will be nice to have some enforced routines.  It will be nice to not have the house feel empty (although I have a feeling I'll miss the quiet a little).  It will be nice to not sleep alone.  

Monday, March 28, 2016

Theatre Class Bells

The dream started out in a library or possibly a theatre building.  There were hardware floors and maybe daylight.

The classroom was set up almost like a pit or sunken living room.  Another instructor in a class before ours was teaching a song and dance to a group of undergraduates, and I was watching and singing and dancing along.

"I think John is the best dancer," our instructor said.  She was a 35ish year old woman, probably Kathleen Worley, my theatre instructor from Reed (although in the dream I didn't know it was Kathleen).

"Oh, I was just... thanks," I said.

She was teaching a class on presentation, or maybe improv theatre.

Our class started and I took a seat on a kind of Ikea box shelf that was perched on a kitchen counter.  A young woman ostentatiously hopped off of the counter next to me and went to the sink.  This annoyed the instructor, who said, "Una! You don't need to drink a whole pot of hot water."  There was a small exchange and the class continued.

At some point the class turned into a performance.  I was playing intermission music, I think on my harp, but I'm not sure.

The class room turned into a kind of library lobby or reading room with an open floor space and lots of reading tables and shelves around the periphery.  It became night, and the windows became dark and the interior lights came on.

After waiting for something, I don't remember what, the instructor and another female student and I took a night bus from the class to a small house in town.  The instructor wanted us to meet someone, and we went downstairs to the house's basement.

The basement was around 900 square feet, unfinished, with a damp concrete floor and exposed wooden studs in the wall, and was the home to about five or so homeless-looking men and all of their stuff.  The room was crowded with shelves, and dark, the only light coming from flickering candles set everywhere, and which gave the room a ruddy cast.  Various conversations were going on at once and there was no real sense of privacy.

The guy our instructor wanted us to meet was tall and lanky, weathered and in his forties, with a black knit cap on his head.  He might have been wearing a trench-coat, or maybe long robes.  I want to say he had a scruffy, salt-and-pepper five-day beard.  He was talking to us about something.  I don't remember why, but he said, "I want you to have these," and held up two small, almost thimble-sized, bells.  I think they were bronze.  They were small, and kind of square, and they remind me of the small cow or goat bells my grandmother used to have hanging off of her entry hall mirror.  He put them into the pocket of my jacket.

"What do you think of my pottery?" he asked.  "Is there any that you particularly like?"

I had a sense that if I pointed to something, it would become an awkward gift.  I swept one hand through the air to indicate the shelves of it.  A lot of it was vaguely art-deco, pale white or yellow vases, with thin-walled cylinders topping spherical bases.  "I think it's all very nice."

He nodded and may have said thank you.  Then he beckoned for me to follow him as he went searching through the shelves.  He found a teapot, I think; it was an ugly lumpy thing with a dark brick glaze.  "Watch," he said, and then dashed it to the ground; white porcelain skittered across the floor.   He knelt on the floor and started picking through the pieces; I think this was supposed to be some sort of Zen lesson.

And the dream moved on...

Thursday, March 24, 2016

When the Voices Win

Yesterday afternoon was a bad writing day.  I managed to get about 400 words in, but it was like pulling teeth.  Actually, it was like looking in the mirror and trying to decide what to do about the teeth and which way should I pull them.  I'm not sure why I'm resisting the story I would like to write. . . mostly I'd start to write something or think about the structure of the story and the inner critic would start chanting about how it wasn't good enough and the usual writer anxiety stuff.

Eventually, I did what I should have started doing much sooner, which was switch to editing the pile of almost-but-not-quite-edited post-critique manuscripts.  It helped to find a note about one manuscript from an editor which read, "This is a perfectly fine story, but not what I'm looking for for this anthology, and I wish you the best selling it elsewhere."

On the gym front, this stupid cough is still lingering.  I keep thinking I'm getting better, but it keeps on staying with me.  So I haven't been to the gym in over two weeks, and I think it's beginning to show.