• Lucid Dreaming - Dream Views

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    1. Theater

      by , 05-31-2016 at 07:02 AM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      I am in a large multi-purpose room with many people. The room has been set up for a theater performance, with banks of folding chairs all facing toward one end that will serve as the stage. Maybe it's a community program or charity benefit. I am here with the family, but I quickly separate from them and find me own seat somewhere in the middle.

      In the front, a few of the actors are milling about, chatting with patrons before the performance. I recognize a few people from high school. That makes me groan. I turn my attention to the crowd. They are settling into the seats, but they are also moving the chairs. There's supposed to be a few clear aisles between the banks of chairs, but as the people move their seats, the aisles shift and become crooked or blocked. I groan again. Why can't people just accept and let things be? But of course, I'm being a hypocrite. Realizing this, I become a mess of frustration, partly directed outward and partly inward.

      The group of seats I am in has become a single column of chairs, such that there is no one to my immediate left or right. Again, I am conflicted. Isn't this nice? Like having a row to yourself in an airplane. But on the other hand, it's just a poor allocation of space and a mockery of the well-laid plans of the organizers of this event. The other people in my column have decided to move to the left, joining the nearest bank. So I go along too. Now I have someone to my left, and the open aisle to my right.

      The play begins. It is billed as The Frogs but I quickly realize it is actually Othello as evidenced but a character named Iago in the first scene. I watch disinterestedly. The actors aren't any good; they are just volunteers. I turn my attention once again to the audience in the hopes of people-watching. Quickly, though, my interest is drawn to the person sitting to my left, who is an attractive young woman.

      She has fair skin and dark hair gathered into a pony tail. She wears a light blue tank top and black or navy leggings. I smile at my own luck. My gaze draws hers and our eyes meet. She smiles shyly. She twists in her seat a bit, so that she is facing more toward me and her legs rub against mine. I place a hand on her thigh. Her eyes close, as if savoring this intimate connection. I slide my hand up her thigh, but as I get too high, her attitude suddenly changes. She slaps my hand away and turns her body away. A few people nearby turn to gawk. I feel ashamed and embarrassed. I must have gone too far.

      Now I feel the urge to use the bathroom. Maybe it's a convenient excuse to leave this situation. I give one glance at the actors. They are still hamming it up. I stand out of my seat and navigate the crooked aisles to the exit. I pass a hallway and find a bathroom. It has full-length windows on one side, so the room is brightly lit by sunlight and offers no privacy. The floor is also flooded with about an inch of water. At least I hope it's just water. I cringe and tip-toe toward a urinal.

      As I'm doing my business, a man approaches and gets my attention. He's a deliveryman. He shows me a package and points to the label with the address. He's asking if this is the right address. I look at it and say yes, but this is the bathroom. He ought to continue one door down, where they might accept the package. He leaves. Another deliveryperson arrives, this time a woman. The same conversation repeats. Isn't it obvious this is the men's room? I am a bit frustrated but mostly just amused. I finish. I'm pretty sure I didn't wash my hands, but, well, it's just a dream.

      I return to the main room. I look for a seat other than the one next to the girl in blue. But the only one I see is next to my family. Ugh. I'll take my chances with the girl. I sit back down, trying not to draw attention to myself. I peek at the girl, but I can't judge a reaction from her neutral expression and posture.

      Time passes. Eventually I make eye contact with her, but still no clue from her facial expression. Instead, she spreads her leg out to meet mine. But it's a cautious gesture. I'm not sure if she wants to get closer, or if she's using her leg as a guard to keep me at a distance. We remain in this stalemate a while as the play drones on up front. I steal glances at her. She is very pretty and I feel very sorry for having offended her earlier. But I don't see any graceful way to reconcile.

      She makes the first move. Once again, I smile at my luck. She shifts her body toward me. Her leg is still against mine. Now her whole side is leaned up against me and her head tilts on my shoulder. She takes my hand in hers and places it on her leg near her knee. "You can touch me," she whispers.

      I am relieved, but still cautious. I leave my hand on her leg, but don't move it up. I look to might right, scanning the crowd. Perhaps I'm trying to act nonchalant. I look at the spot where my family had been earlier. But instead of them, I see a woman in a red dress. The Goddess.... She gives me a stern look. We don't speak much lately. I feel a multitude of emotions. I give her an expression as if to say: Let me explain?

      The play is ending. People are standing up. The girl stands too and my hand leaves her lap. I look at her. She looks at me. We remain in eye contact as she starts to back away, following the crowds as they begin toward the exits. I try to read her expression and body language, but I can't be sure. Why can't people just say what they feel? Sigh. I'm being a hypocrite again. After a protracted gaze, she turns and disappears into the crowd. I turn back to the right, looking for The Goddess. She is gone too.

      I wake. My first thought, true to my erudition, was why the play was either The Frogs or Othello and what symbolism that would share with my ill-fated romance. I will ponder that.
    2. Quo vadis

      by , 05-18-2016 at 08:47 AM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      Quo vadis? is Latin for "Where are you going?" I don't think the Romans used question marks though. The phrase is associated with a biblical scene, when Peter sees Jesus after his resurrection and asks where he is going. Jesus replies that he is going to Rome to be crucified again.

      I find myself in a grocery store. This is a common scene for me in both waking and dreaming. So far, I have procured all my items and now I approach the checkout lanes. I see that they are all long. That fact makes me a bit discouraged, but also I have patience. There is no other option but to wait, so I am content to wait.

      As I wait, I glance around. By chance, I spot someone I recognize from waking. She is in the produce section, examining some fruit. Let's call her Siren, which is not far from her real name. She has been in just a few of my dreams, but in my recollection, all lucid. The incredulity of seeing her here makes me lucid once again. I stare at her. She is darkly tanned with long dark hair. She wears a black cocktail dress that perfectly complements her form. At this distance I don't see her face but, having recognized her, I bring my memory of her waking visage to mind. She has a beautiful face with striking hazel eyes and a warm smile.

      Time passes. The checkout lane shuffles forward a bit. I remain in revery, staring at Siren as she chooses her oranges and onions and whatever. I am entranced. I am "lucid" but not lucid. In other words, I am self-aware but not clear-thinking. This is a common theme of my dreams recently. Perhaps it is a theme of my waking state too.

      A thought enters my mind: What are you doing? It is a reminder that I have been trying to entrain in myself. It reminds me that I should be doing rather than merely being or observing. In this moment, I don't actually act but the thought does alter the dreamscene.

      On cue, Siren turns and spots me. She smiles and I see her face, just as I remember it. Her hazel irises are piercing in the middle of the whites of her eyes, which contrast so strikingly with her tan skin. Similarly, her smile is pearlescent and radiant. It is hypontizingly attractive, and all the more so because she is looking and smiling at me. She begins to walk toward me, with her basket held just-so at her hip.

      "Where are you going?" she asks me. She is Turkish and has an endearing accent to her English.

      I look to my right, at the line of people waiting for the checkout counter. It hasn't moved. "No-where," I answer to her question.

      She tilts her head, as if pondering the deeper meaning of my response. After a beat, her smile broadens. "Come with me," she offers.

      Now, I tilt my head and ponder the deeper meaning of her words. Or, more accurately, the possible sexual meaning. I am suddenly filled with lust. The scene of the grocery store fades away. Her dress fades away too. I am now staring at her naked body, tan and lithe. I entertain visions of touching her, and, though I don't yet act them out in the dreamscene, the visions are nonetheless made manifest in the dream on some level, in a way that can only happen in dreams.

      I catch myself in this fantasy. Once again, I think: What are you doing? And to that, I add her words: Where are you going?

      I pull my attention away from her body and back to her face. She is still smiling, innocently. I'm only dreaming. What does that mean?
    3. Sprezzatura

      by , 04-05-2016 at 01:08 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      I am in an office like one of my old jobs. It's a large room with a maze of cubicles but the walls are low enough that you can see everyone. I am in the corner of the room, so I am in a good position to see everything in front of me. I have two computer monitors. On the left one, there is a text editor showing a dense spaghetti of code. On the right one, there is a complicated-looking scene in a 3D-modelling program. But only I know that these are not running programs. They are screenshots that I have set as my desktop background so as to look like I am busy. I am actually tinkering with my phone, but look up when a coworker addresses me.

      His name is David. He is talking with another coworker named Adam. David asks me: "Is it LGBT or GLBT? Adam thinks it's GLBT, but that's wrong, isn't it?"

      I reply: "Why don't you look it up from the source?" I know that LGBT is the more popular form, at least around these parts. But asking me isn't the best way to get the answer.

      They both ignore my suggestion. Adam seems bent on using GLBT. He is a community liason. He is replying to a post on the company forums. I turn my attention back to my phone. I'm trying to close the current app, which is a browser open to the same company forums. But it's not responding. After submitting his post, Adam comes around to me and goads me to read it. I show him that I can't open it on my phone because I'm not logged in, and anyway my phone seems to be hung. He looks at my computer screens are realizes that I am "busy" so instead he returns to his desk to read his post aloud.

      He has used the initials GLBT to form his own acrostic. I conceal a cringe. He then goes on to make some statement about not ending with irony, and he lists a few author's names. The one that jumps out at me is "Robert Irving." Do I know that name? (In recall, I would conclude it's a confusion of Robert Frost and Washington Irving.) Adam seems to be building to a reasonable point but then he ends with something like: "and that puts me right next door to your girlfriend." Oh. A personal slam. Great.

      Now, David comes around to my desk and asks what I'm working on. I point to my phone, indicating that I am slacking off. David is a bit more savvy, so I can confide this to him. But just to indulge him, I open up a real program on my computer. As it loads, I explain that it's a first-person scene, so you don't even see the main character. But when the program opens, it's an animation in third-person. I realize I've been slacking off so much that I don't even remember what the software is supposed to look like. David and I both shrug. Meh, whatever.

      Adam returns, asking for David's help again. He wants to print out his post, so he's asking how to take a screenshot. David admonishes him, saying he should just print it as text instead of capturing an image. They start arguing again. It boils down to a misunderstanding of words -- between take a screenshot and snap a screenshot. Adam says if he wanted an image, he would have said snap. He knows he just wants text, and that's what he means by take a screenshot. It's just a failure of communication.

      I try to avoid getting involved, but they wrap me in nonetheless. David looks at me and compels me to explain to Adam that he is wrong. I sigh. I didn't think it at the time, but in recall I could summarize my displeasure with a bit of Shakespeare: "Words, words, words."

      As I write this, I follow my own earlier advice to "look it up from the source." So, looking up the context of that line from Hamlet, I find that it suits my feeling even better than I thought. I reproduce it here:

      Spoiler for Hamlet, Act II:

      Back to the dream. I start to explain that it's just a misunderstanding. Adam is from a different part of the country and their idioms are a bit different. I don't know if that helps at all. Either both of them are satisfied with this explanation or else both of them are unsatisfied and leave to continue their argument elsewhere. In any case, they leave my desk, which is what I wanted.

      Once again, I return my attention to my phone. I discover why I can't close the app. It's not an app. It's a screenshot of an app that I set as the home screen background. Caught in my own trap.

      A new group of coworkers enters the scene to my right. They are led by a manager, who is not my boss but senior to me. She is a dead-ringer for Michelle Obama. She approaches my desk and asks: "Are you coming to The Show of a Thousand Shows with us? It's optional but I've organized this as a team-building activity."

      I make eye contact with her and then look at my "busy" computer screen, which also leads her eyes their too. "Gee, I dunno..." implying it would be a big imposition to my work. I wait a beat, so that the effect sinks in. "Well, I suppose if it's for the team..."

      She acts relieved and thankful that I conceded to her intention. Maybe I played her perfectly and earned a favor. Or maybe she was playing me. It is imprudent to count the score too early. But in this moment, I feel like I have successfully manipulated her.

      I stand out of my chair and make a big to-do about collecting my things. I drop my briefcase, and out of it spills a half-filled bag of white bread. It's now all smushed and crumbled. I look to the manager. "You'd better go ahead. I'll clean this up and catch up to you." She agrees and the group starts off back to the right.

      I pick up the crumbs and walk them over to a large trash bin on the opposite side of the office. That done, I turn back toward the exit. In see enter yet another coworker. Her name is Sarah. She has dark hair. She wears a tight-fitting pair of black dress pants and matching black blazer. She carries her bag to her desk to my left. Now this is interesting. I wouldn't mind spending some time with Sarah.

      "Are you coming to this Show of Shows?" I ask.

      "No." She replies flatly, but continues. "What's it about anyway?"

      "I don't know." I ponder for a beat. "Maybe it's about dreams..." I become lucid, but The Dreaming collapses quickly as I laugh at myself for this late realization.
    4. Game Show (For Garry)

      by , 03-31-2016 at 01:28 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)
      I am hosting a television game show. The game is played with a deck of cards. It can be played by one or two players. The game is called "Lucid Dreaming" and while the game is fun in its own right, it can also supposedly induce lucid dreams.

      My dream is quite like The Larry Sanders Show and might be inspired by the recent news that Garry Shandling passed away. Since I am hosting the show, the drama of the dream concerns the behind-the-scenes interactions with the cast and crew. I don't remember all of it, but I most prominently recall that I am upset that the show has become a vehicle to sell the home version of the game, rather than to support the practice of lucid dreaming. At the end of each show taping (the time when Bob Barker would tell you to spay or neuter your pets) I try to interject my message that the game should be about dreaming. But I get interrupted each time by my sidekick, Ed McMahon. And that part of the show is editted out before broadcast.
    5. History Lesson, Happy Endings

      by , 03-25-2016 at 03:42 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      Another very long DILD saga with lucidity fading in and out. Whenever I'm in these long dreams and my lucidity peaks, I make mental notes about what has happened so far, so that I can recall it all when I wake. I think that's why I can remember so much. Its also why the narrative still seems to flow continuously, with callbacks to previous elements, even as the scenes tend to morph abruptly in their superficial features.

      School of Orwell

      I am in my childhood bedroom. I intuit that it is before school on a Tuesday morning, and that I missed school on Monday so I will need to catch up. My mother enters and scolds me about missing school. She puts a delivery box on my desk. I argue with her a bit, trying to assure her that it's no big deal. Really, I just want her out of my room. She leaves.

      I open the box. Inside I find the parts for an electronic device that needs to be assembled. I skip the instructions and just start fastening pieces of plastic with the nuts and bolts. When I complete the thing, it looks a bit like the head of a guitar. It is tapered at one end with two rows of adjustment knobs along the sides. On the flat face, I spot four buttons. Looking at the instructions, I learn that this thing was provided by and required for school. It's a pedometer, but it also tracks how you use your time. That's what the four buttons are for. Each student is to push the button to correspond to their current school activity and it all gets tracked and analyzed by the school. (I think of how terribly Orwellian this idea is; and then immediately lament how close our reality is to that Orwellian dystopia.)

      Reluctantly, I push the button labeled "Channel 6: Normal school activities" and put the device in my pocket. I start filling my pockets with other things. When I pick up a pair of pliers and a kitchen knife, I realize I shouldn't be bringing those to school. I stumble out the door awkwardly, my pockets overflowing with trinkets. I trip and fall. Hello, carpet.

      Before the Goddess

      I look up. I'm no longer in my house. I'm in a college dorm hallway and right in front of me is the neighboring room. The door is open and inside I see The Girl Next Door In Red. She is a sort of proto-Goddess character from long ago, although I don't make that connection in this moment. She is getting dressed. Her girl parts are covered by matching red underwear, but I can see everything else. I must have a goofy stare on my face. Her eyes catch mine, but she isn't upset. She acts a little embarrassed but then she starts teasing me, posing as she slowly pulls on her jeans.

      Still on the floor, I notice the school tracking device has spilled out of my pocket and broken in front of me. The Girl Next Door steps over me and continues on down the hallway. She looks back at me over her book bag and gives me a look like: You'd better hurry up if you're going to catch me. I fumble with the device, trying to re-assemble it quickly. As I work at it, a cat wanders in from the left and sits right in front of me. He (or she?) has a dark coat with a few flecks of brown and orange. The cat looks at me and raises his paw.

      Amused, I address the cat: "Do you have a question?"

      The cat doesn't speak, but I understand his communication. From his body posture, I sense that he is concerned about something. I sense him say: "Will there not be any cheating, this time?"

      "No. No cheating." I don't know what the cat might mean, but my reflex was to say whatever to relieve his concern. The cat looks down the hallway and that reminds me that I was going somewhere. I follow his eyes down the hallway, but the scene has changed again.

      I Never Bluff

      I am in the living room of one of my adult friends, Benjamin. Well, now the presence of the cat makes a little more sense. I intuit that I was invited along with some others to have dinner with Ben and his wife. I'm still holding the school device though. It seems now that it belongs to Ben and he is asking me to assemble it for him to save time.

      I start to have some fun with him: "I would gladly put this together... if you can compensate me for my time."

      "You want to get paid?" He thinks a moment. "How about a free dinner..."

      I retort: "No, you already offered me a free dinner and I accepted. This is a separate deal. I get paid, or I walk."

      Ben gives me a bizarre look, like I'm taking the joke too far. What he doesn't know is that I'm not joking. I don't want to be here so I'm looking for clever way to leave. "Alright," he says, calling my bluff. "There's the door."

      I pick up and leave without a second thought. Now then, where was I going... oh right, school.

      Back to School

      I cross the street away from Ben's place, enter a building, and I find my way onto the elevator. Scanning the faces, I don't spot The Girl Next Door but I do recognize some people from high school. We are riding this elevator up to our first period math class. The elevator stops a few times and more students enter. It's quite crowded now. They are complaining about math. One of the people to enter is Anne, who is also based on a real person, but not from high school. What is Anne doing here... I conjure some false memories. Yes, Anne would have had math first period, but I wasn't in her class.

      I groan to my friends that I'm going to the wrong class. And I missed school the previous day and don't remember my schedule. I make eye contact with Anne and she smiles at me. Ah! How I wish I was in Anne's class so I could talk to her more.

      I ask a question toward the whole group, but I'm hoping Anne will answer. "What did I miss yesterday?"

      Anne doesn't reply. Instead, in the crowd I detect the voice of The Girl Next Door In Red. She is on the elevator after all. She explains that class was interrupted by a group of guys setting off the fire alarms. Other people chime in to fill in the details. Apparently, a group of "999's" had climbed up the fire escape and entered the building. "999" means they may be mentally ill. I remark how strange that is. But the conversation returns to the fact that I'm not in their same class this period, and I don't remember which class I should be in.

      "Don't you take German first period?" suggests one guy on the elevator.

      "No, I don't take German but everyone thinks that. If I did take a language it would be Danish..." I trail off. Oh, I remember what class I should be in: History. I push the button to stop the elevator on the next floor. I give one last glance toward Anne. To my surprise, she has pushed through the crowd to stand next to me.

      She speaks: "Hey, I wanted to ask you a question." But before she can continue, she becomes aware of the crowd gawking at us. Everybody knows Anne has a boyfriend, so it doesn't look too good that she's whispering with me. She loses her nerve and turns away.

      The elevator stops and I exit onto a fire escape. It's a rickety metal staircase that doesn't feel very safe. I have to go down about 10 stories. It's only wide enough for one person, but there are a few guys climbing up. So we have to be very careful passing each other. Then I remember my classmates talking about people sneaking in via the fire escape. I get nervous. Maybe these guys are the 999's. I even have a heated exchange with one of them. I forget the exact words, but he was upset and I tried to be nonchalant so just get past him. This succeeds and I am happy that I avoided the situation without fighting.


      I am nearing the ground floor, just a couple stories to go. I look out and see that the area in front of me looks like a circus tent and inside I see rows of metal railings, like the zig-zag lines at an amusement park to wait for a ride. I spot Anne down below, just about to enter the tent. Huh, maybe we are in the same class after all. I call to her. "Anne! Hey! Hey, what did you want to ask me?!"

      Anne turns and spots me. She seems puzzled at why I am on the fire escape. And she's a bit embarrassed at the situation. But she shouts back: "I -- I wanted to ask if you wanted to go see a movie tonight!"

      Oh, nice. But, no. Anne has a boyfriend. Or maybe that's over? I'm conflicted. I yell "Maybe!" This is not well received. She seems hurt because it sounds like I'm rejecting her. I am begin honest though. I want to go with her, but I don't know if I can considering that this dream has been so topsy-turvy already. To reassure her, I adjust my response: "I mean: Definitely maybe!" I try to detect if her reaction improves, but I can't tell as she turns away and into the circus tent. Damn. I might have messed that up.


      I hurry down the rest of the stairs. I enter the tent. It is indeed my History class. I recognize my teacher. Instead of desks, there's rows for standing, separated by metal rails. I scan the room for Anne but don't find her. Class is about to begin, so I choose a spot near the middle and front. To my pleasant surprise, just as the bell rings, Anne takes the last available spot, which is right in front of me. The cat is here too, wandering between the students and rubbing against their legs.

      The teacher starts lecturing. He begins by explaining the tracking devices that we were given. He checks that everyone assembled theirs. He then distributes a new textbook, which is received with groans. He also circulates a roll of clear plastic, like Saran wrap. The students tear off a sheet and adhere it to the front of the textbook to protect it. The roll doesn't get to me. Instead, to my left I recognize another familiar face from my waking past, Justin. He tears off a sheet and hands it to me. I put it on my book crooked. I tear off the stray corners and roll them into a ball. Like a basketball, I shoot this ball of trash toward a trashcan next to the teacher's desk. But it looks like a toilet seat. My ball lands and sticks on the rim. Damn. Another near miss.

      Justin and I spend the next few minutes trying to get the trash to fall into the bowl. As the teacher paces back and forth, we have a few opportunities to act behind his back. In fact, the whole class is goofing off whenever the teacher's back is turned. We try a few different things. Blowing. Throwing more trash to try to tip it in. Finally, Justin pulls out a yardstick and extends it to reach. Just in time before the teacher notices.

      Phew. With that little secret mission a success, I am now emboldened. I turn my attention back to Anne in front of me. I don't see her face, but I move closer to her and put my hands on her waist. Then I slide them down to her hips. I pull her body closer to me. I smell her hair. I breathe down her neck. I can feel her arousal trembling through her body.

      Happy Endings

      My revery is broken when the teacher slams his textbook shut. I am startled, but it seems that class is over and nothing more. The teacher walks into a back room and gone for good. The lights dim and the students relax. But we all remain in our rows. It seems the next class is beginning. The lighting turns to stage lights in many colors. They start flashing and music starts playing like we're in a dance club. The new teacher walks in. It's an attractive young woman, but older than the students. She wears a low-cut sequin dress that ends above her knee. I try to determine the color of her dress and of her hair, like I always do for dream characters, but the flashing colored lights make it impossible.

      This new teacher starts lecturing but we can hardly understand with the loud music. Anne is no longer in front of me. I look around and see her a couple rows behind and to my right. Why did she move? We make eye contact but she doesn't smile or indicate anything. Hmm. There's a new group of people in front of me. The class has almost doubled in size. I don't recognize any of these new students.

      More time passes. I don't remember it all; it was a blur of light and pounding music. I recall the cat returned yet again. And now there's a second cat, although it looks more like a sock puppet. I pet them both. Then a second teacher enters under the spotlights at the front of the class. It's another young woman. She is completely naked. She has fair, but not pale skin and blonde hair. There lecture is something about "happy endings." I am amused that they might either be talking about narrative structure or "massage therapy."

      The nude and the other sexy teacher start dancing. It's sort of a jig as they face each other. Their bodies bounce in all the right places and I savor the view, but it is only in glimpses through the crowd in front of me. Now they turn to the class, still dancing. It seems they want everyone to join in, but no one is brave enough to be the first. I recall my intention to act rather than watch. I fly up over the crowd and descend onto the dance floor. I get a very good look at these two beauties. I look them up and down, trying to decide whether I prefer the nude or the dress. I notice their legs and watch for a while, trying to learn the dance steps. I start imitating their steps. They both smile at me, proud that I've caught on. They both approach closer to me and our dance becomes very sexy. The rest of the crowd follows and it's quickly a mob of bodies, pairing off and dancing this odd jig. I reach my hand for the nude's buttocks and give a squeeze. But just as I do, she pairs off with someone else and dissolves into the crowd.

      I am left with the girl in the sequin dress. She gets in really close to me and now we're feeling each other up instead of dancing. She whispers seductively to me, recalling the lecture: "Is it time I taught you about happy endings?" We stumble through the dance mob to the edge and find a corner of the room. I pin her back against the wall and kiss her deeply. I feel her body and she moans. I lift the skirt of her dress and thrust into her. Her eyes roll back in pleasure. I am also overwhelmed with pleasure, but I feel most glad that she feel good too. I thrust more and we both look down. It's not the center of my attention but in my peripheral vision, I finally determine the color of her dress. It's orange.

      I wake. Wow, that was long. And indeed a happy ending. Quickly though, as I try to organize my recall I remember that I was supposed to meet Anne for a movie. Could I DEILD back and finish that too? I consult my body. No, it's too late. So I just try to sort out the order of events. I feel some tinges of nostalgia and remorse. Before that I was looking for The Girl Next Door In Red. And I was kind of a jerk with Ben. And how long has it been since I saw Justin? Or had any dream that took place in a school? I take it all in and let it just be wonderful in all its complexity.
    6. The Dinner Party: A Nightmare

      by , 03-23-2016 at 03:38 AM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      I am fortunate that I so rarely have nightmares. This isn't really a nightmare; it isn't all that scary. But in my relative spectrum of dreams, I might consider it a nightmare because it terrorized me.

      I begin in my childhood bedroom, reading a book. My father enters. I immediately feel annoyed.

      He begins: "We're going to a dinner. You need to get dressed."

      My response is automatic: "I don't want to go."

      He ignores my plaint. "Get dressed. You'll like it. We're going to talk about one of your favorite books. It was either The Great Gatsby or To Kill A Mockingbird. I couldn't find The Great Gatsby on your bookshelf so we're going to talk about To Kill A Mockingbird." He backs away and closes the door behind him.

      I am enraged like only a narcissistic intellectual can be. "TKAM?! I hate that book! You didn't find Gatbsy because I'm reading it right now! I hate TKAM!"

      (The Great Gatsby is a modern tragedy about desire and false identity. These are themes that resonate with me. To Kill A Mockingbird is a book I only read once in high school and I probably have a na´ve understanding of it. Nonetheless, my impression is that it is a heavy-handed and moralizing tale about prejudice and innocence.)

      But, I am a child in this dream so I have no choice in the matter. The next scene is in the house of one of my father's more scholarly friends. There are several families with kids in attendance. As for my family, we are all together. I must be about 16 years old. That's before my sister went to college and my parents divorced. It's the last year the family was together and also an awkward age for a teenager on the cusp of adulthood.

      At this dinner party, the adults congregate in the dining room while the kids assemble in the darkened den to watch a movie. I'm not watching the movie, I'm trying to hear the conversation of the adults in the next room. They are talking about literature. I want so much to be in their conversation. But then I recall the disagreement about the book, and that makes me upset.

      A new pair of people enter the room. I am slouched on a couch. My sister is on the other end of the same couch. Around the room, other kids, mostly younger, are seated on chairs or on the ground. They are all hypnotized by the movie. The two new entrants are a mother and her daughter. The mother looks at me and introduces the girl. "Do you know Ashley? Go sit down, Ashley."

      Ashley, huh? I study the girl. She is about my age (in the dream, about 16). She is pretty in a reserved kind of way. She has dirty blonde hair and wears a powder blue cotton dress. She seems shy. She doesn't make eye contact. She walks to the couch and sits next to me. Her mother leaves, returning to the dining room. Ashley scoots closer to me, leans her head on my shoulder, and puts a hand on my thigh. Her motions seem automatic, like she is just obeying her instinct.

      I have mixed feelings. Ashley, Ashley... do I know an Ashley? She is pretty and she is close to me, so I feel attracted to her. I reciprocate her interest by leaning my head toward hers and placing my hand on her thigh. I feel her react, leaning more into me and squeezing my leg in confirmation of our connection. But now, my adult-self is awakened and I become lucid. Oh, this poor girl. I feel disgust. I'm not supposed to be here. And this pairing between me and her was all arranged. Parents trying to play matchmaker with their kids. And my sister too, egging her on. I recoil from Ashley. She seems offended, but I'm already on my way to the next room.

      I storm into the dining room where the adults are having their book club. I shove the table roughly, causing all the books and drinks to spill. I look angrily at my father. "I didn't want this! That girl you fixed me up with... And I hate this book!" I grab a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird and throw it into the wall. "I wanted it to be Gatsby!"

      The dining room scene fades. It's just me and my father and we are back in my bedroom. My father pulls out a revolver and holds it to his neck. He says, cryptically: "This is Gatsby!" He pulls the trigger. It is a glancing blow to his neck but enough to rupture his arteries. I am horrified and wake up.
    7. Prologue for 'Virtue'

      by , 03-21-2016 at 05:18 AM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      Another essay.

      I would like to shift the focus of my dreams from introspection to action. I so often find myself just watching things in my dreams. And in recall, I am watching myself do the watching. I observe. I analyze. I philosophize. It's not wrong, but I'd prefer not to be so one-dimensional.

      I suppose I am an analytical person and I catch myself indulging in the science of abstractions and modeling. One model is games. I see things through the lens of game theory, which is all about rules, strategies, and winning. Games are about choice of action. Game theory would suggest that the "right" choice is the one that wins. I have come to see that as a rather cynical kind of morality. Are there really rules? Are we all players striving to win or lose? Isn't it an illusion?

      The other model is drama. Drama is also about choice of action. Drama suggests that the "right" choice is the one that either creates or resolves conflict. I have this twisted notion that there ought to be irony and there ought to be tragedy. This is another degenerate kind of morality. That one must put on a good show and there must be structure in the ascending and descending action, and that all characters must be classified as protagonist or antagonist. Must there always be conflict? Are we assigned roles? Isn't this another illusion?

      I had chosen the word virtue as the theme of this chapter, but I think karma is equally apt. Karma means two things. It means "deed" in the sense that choices and actions that I make today will influence the future. But it also means "illusion" in the sense that the way we connect things -- the model of causality -- is entirely arbitrary. It's a system of rules. It's a script of a narrative. We create it in our mind as a way to give order to what we observe. But these abstractions do not necessarily exist.

      I would like to engage more directly with karma in the moment rather than in analysis. For example, it is virtuous to be thankful. I often express my thankfulness toward others well after-the-fact, privately to myself. Noble? Maybe. I would rather train myself to say "Thank You" in the very moment rather than afterward. Same with courage and discipline. It is easy to reason afterward that I should have been courageous. But that is not acting courageously. I don't believe karma to be some kind of cosmic scorecard of rights and wrongs. But I do believe that action speaks louder than words.

      That makes me think of the word lucidity. In the context of dreams, we have come to understand that word to mean "self-awareness." But in the plainest sense, lucidity really means "clear thinking." I want to focus more on that latter meaning. Yes, it is fun to realize that I am dreaming and that means I have a degree of freedom in the dreamworld. Having gained some experience with that, I would like to go a step further, and look at each lucid dream as an opportunity to "think clearly" and act in a way that I think is right, and not simply to indulge in abusing rules and creating conflict.

      I don't believe in a God in the typical Western sense. But so much of my dreams lately have been about a more nuanced understanding of divinity. Maybe there is no old man with a white beard who will judge me and my actions. But I still sit in judgement of myself. Wisdom has taught me that there is righteous and there is self-righteous. Alone, I can't be sure which is which. I think the only way to test the difference is to act and interact with others. Through empathy, one can come to understand how we all think and feel about what is virtuous.
    8. Griefing, Girl in Gray Bikini

      by , 03-20-2016 at 09:14 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      The scene begins as if it was only a computer screen. I'm playing Warcraft III (yeah, that old) against some random opponent. I've all but lost; I only have one worker unit left and I'm trying to hide it somewhere on the map. This is poor sportsmanship, but I seem to want to make a joke out of it. My opponent eventually spots me and brings his army. My perspective shifts a bit. It seems I can move real objects into the game. I take a napkin and tear it into 4 smaller pieces. I give them to my in-game unit and lay them out like picnic blankets. When my opponent's army arrives, we have this exchange via the text chat:

      Me: Tea time? ;)
      They: :)

      Okay, I'm happy that they seemed amused at my playfulness. I quit the game and see other programs open on the computer screen. One is a chat window. It seems the text I entered into the game is also in this other chat. Just the usernames are different.

      40946q24834028lucy21: Tea time? ;)
      146419u158john125409: I'd love to, Lucy ;)

      Huh? I think this guy is confused. I look at my username which is just a string of random letters but happens to contain the sequence "lucy". I think of how I might gracefully clarify the misunderstanding. But as I do, the scene changes. Instead of a text chat, I now seem to be in a virtual reality scene of a beach with avatars of the people in the chat. There are about a dozen people, all guys.

      I'm still trying to find something to say when everyone's attention is draw to a new participant. It's a very attractive young woman wearing a gray strapless bikini that leaves practically nothing to the imagination. Her hair is dark brown and she wears big sunglasses that hide half her face. Her skin is tan and supple. Needless to say, all the guys on the beach become fixated on her.

      She turns to me, as if responding to my "tea time" joke. She struts to me. I'm a bit puzzled. I notice the gaze of all the other guys and I know exactly what's going through their minds. They are like drooling wolves, licking their chops. I am concerned for her. It's just her surrounded by all these lecherous guys. Where is her common sense?

      But she is nonchalant. Without asking she links her arm with mine and starts talking. "Ohmigad, that's so funny! We should totally hang out! You have to take me shopping..." And with that, she and I start walking off. We are heading inland from the beach toward a cluster of shops. I suppose I'm leading, but I'm mostly confused and just reacting to what she commanded.

      We burst into a grocery store and my new bikini-clad friend starts perusing the shelves. My feelings are mixed. Yes, at least we exited the awkward situation on the beach. But now I'm out of the pan and into the fire. Is this brat taking me for a ride? Does she want me to buy her things? She starts grabbing things and I am dismayed in my thoughts. Shouldn't we at least get a basket to carry things? What are you looking for? Are you just grabbing everything?

      She wanders off, looking for more things. I have a moment collect myself. She returns with her arms full of curios and declares "I want everything. I need a bag to carry it. Where can I buy a bag?"

      This provokes my cynicism: "Probably with all the other overpriced stuff." My thinking was that you shouldn't buy a shopping bag at the grocery store. Of course they mark that up because you realize you need one too late. But see doesn't catch my sarcasm.

      "Oh! I want one that looks like the Monorail!" She links her arm in mine again and drags me toward another department of goods for sale. I don't know what to make of this. She seems to be a scatterbrain but her plucky attitude is almost charming. She is now grabbing at handbags and that has drawn the attention of a male security guard.

      I try to take in the scene. This girl, still in a gray bikini that is practically painted on and her obnoxiously large sunglasses indoors. My arms full of the junk she wants to buy. The security guard interloping, and who knows what his intentions are.

      The girl starts bickering with the security guard. Maybe he accused her of trying to steal? Or maybe he was trying to hit on her? I can't follow it all, but this girl is definitely the center of her own universe. The security guard backs away. It seems he's met his match.

      She turns to me. Those giant sunglasses hide any attempt I try to read her. She just smirks and marches up to me. I have a sudden change of heart. Maybe this is just who she is. Who am I to judge? She hasn't hurt anyone. She certainly makes an impression and maybe she's a little crazy, but who isn't? Accepting her now, I know what to do. I offer my elbow and she gleefully links her arm in mine again. We strut off to the cashier. Who's gonna pay for all this?
    9. Crossing Over and Looking Back

      by , 03-20-2016 at 08:31 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      I am waiting in line on a road to cross a bridge. It is night but the surrounding area is lit by street lamps. The bridge is a massive thing that arches up about 10 stories and off into the distance. The other side is obscured by fog. I'm a bit nervous. I'm even a little frightful of bridges in waking life.

      My turn comes and I approach the foot of the bridge. Between me and the incline, there are a scattering of odd looking concrete ramps and obstacles. It looks like a skate park. I wait. Then a guard tells me to go. I wander between the obstacles and onto the bridge. It's a steep climb up the arch. I forget most of this part. Maybe it skipped by until I was on the other side.

      I arrive on the other side. It's a bit lighter now, but still foggy, overcast, and gray. I turn back to look at the bridge and remember that there was someone with me. And I see her. It's Jennifer, who is an ex-girlfriend from waking like.

      What are you doing here, Jen... You aren't supposed to be in my dreams anymore. I look at her wistfully. I study her face. She has a pale round face and long straight black hair. She looks a bit older, but it's definitely her. It would have been 10 years since I last saw her, so that makes sense. Without delving too deeply into it, I touch the part of my psyche where my feelings about Jennifer are kept. It's a mix of infatuation and pain and anger. Hate, even. All wrapped in regret. Mostly regret. It doesn't trouble me anymore. It's like a jigsaw puzzle that I solved years ago. When you solve a puzzle, you are left with an image. You can still see the jigsaw lines and know it was a puzzle, but that seems secondary now.

      We don't say anything. She has an expression of nervous fear. Is she afraid of me? I wouldn't blame her if she was. Maybe she is apprehensive about what might happen next. Or maybe she's still in shock from the unsettling bridge crossing.

      Show her kindness, I think to myself. I offer my stretched hand to guide her. Her expression doesn't change but her hand meets mine, accepting my offer. I can't change the past but I can do my best in this moment. I turn toward the horizon and lead on.
    10. Epilogue For 'Wisdom'

      by , 03-20-2016 at 02:32 AM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      This is an essay about what I've learned from previous dreams.

      I am ready to end this chapter in my dreamlife and real life. It was about seeking wisdom. Years ago, I chose to seek wisdom because I had become disillusioned with mere intelligence. Intelligence is nice but it is an inborn talent. I was dismayed by the reality that intelligence is so often abused and fetishized. Wisdom is a greater thing. Wisdom is earned and transmitted.

      I'm not giving up on wisdom, just broadening my goals. I will detail that in a separate essay. For now, I want to tie up some loose ends from The Dreaming. Some of these where hard lessons and realizations. But that is the nature of wisdom.

      I learned what The Goddess is hiding behind her Mona Lisa smile and it is nothing profound. She had dental braces as a kid and was embarrassed by them, just like I was as a kid. That's why she doesn't speak either. She is self-conscious about opening her mouth.

      Similarly, The Goddess won't reveal her real name because she is ashamed of it, again as I was of my name when I was kid. Whatever her real name is, she feels it doesn't fit her so she would rather use an assumed name. I chose the name Michael and I chose the name Gabrielle for her. I might stick with that for now. I might call her "Gabby." That will develop in future dreams.

      The Goddess isn't a femme fatale tease. She isn't aloof. She is shy, just like I am. That's why she's always running away, avoiding eye contact, and dodging questions. She is me. She is not an ideal. She is a person trying to shape her identity as best she can. It is a put-on, but that's a very honest and real thing for a person to do.

      Everything else, as was revealed by The Goddess, relates to baseball. This is no-doubt influenced by the movie Field of Dreams as well as a book I recently read called Baseball as a Road to God. The Field is a baseball field. But it's just grass. What is missing is the dirt infield. That would be the clay from the clay and the potter. The Goddess and I are angels because I live in Los Angeles and one of the two local baseball teams is call the Angels. They wear red. The other team is the Dodgers and they wear blue. All the symbolism of names and colors is just arbitrary, just like sports teams have names and colors to identify themselves. The Giants are orange. The Athletics are green. It's all just identity, not necessarily meaning.

      Baseball has a separate meaning to me and it relates to The Moon, too. When I was a kid, I wanted to be either a baseball player or an astronaut. That was my "dream" (aspiration). As an adult, I think I'm trying to fulfill those dreams. After my encounter with The Goddess about baseball, my next plan was to build a baseball field on The Moon. That would be the ultimate fantasy: to be both a baseball player and an astronaut. That's how I arrived at this conclusion about wisdom. In the end, all my thoughts evolve from my past and my influences. In some ways, I'm still that little boy. I am not an observer of reality. I am a participant. I am immersed in the totality of my experience.

      There's more. I could go on and on about Field of Dreams and The Players and the layers of symbolism. I think it's enough though. I'm ready to accept that I am not just an observer. I am an actor. That is why I leave this initial pursuit of wisdom and instead seek virtue because virtue entails action.
    11. Mores

      by , 03-15-2016 at 11:14 AM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)
      I had a short dream that inspired me to write something different. In the dream, I'm in bed, I see my father and he shouts "Stop dreaming!" I immediately wake up.

      I reflected on that a while, trying to work through the dissonance. It came out like this. I suppose it's a sort of poem. I want to call it satire.


      Y'know, tobacco used to be good for you. George Washington was a tobacco farmer and owned slaves. He was good, wasn't he? Colonialism used to be good. Coca-Cola was good for you too. But Socialism was bad. I remember those days, back when the rebels in Afghanistan were good.

      Jazz was bad. And then rock-and-roll was bad. And then hip-hop was bad. Now it's all good and you can listen to it on your cell phone. Remember when people wanted their cell phones to be smaller instead of larger? It wasn't so long ago that eating fat was bad. Being skinny has been good and bad. I'm not sure which it is lately; you have to keep buying the magazines to know.

      Did you know that, of all things, crossword puzzles used to be bad? Then comic books where bad, until they started turning them into TV shows, movies, and video games. Now they're good. But does anyone read the comic books, or do they just like the movies? They certainly make more money that way.

      I remember when the Internet was bad. It seems that it's good now, except for the bad parts. I'm not really sure what it is. All I know is that it's a monthly bill I pay. But they're trying to make it free, so maybe it will go back to being bad.

      At least God is good all the time. Though that sentiment is less and less popular. Religion isn't such a good business these days.

      I don't know if I trust God, but I trust Lenny Bruce and I recall him saying that there is good and bad. Lenny was most certainly bad and that's what made him good.
    12. Guess Who

      by , 03-14-2016 at 02:14 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      This wasn't a sleeping dream. It was a daydreaming session that drifted into a sort of trance. My intention was to pick up the narrative with The Goddess, because our previous encounter was so memorable. I've been wondering if she has a true name, so I intend to guess it.

      I am back in the art museum with the white walls. There is where I last saw The Goddess. I imagine there is one empty picture frame and perhaps, in talking with her, something will appear as the painting.

      That was the scripted part. I had a few ideas where this might go, but at this point I try to allow the narrative to unfold on its own.

      The Goddess enters. Today she is wearing a suit of armor with a flowing red cape. No helmet though. Auburn hair and red lips. She looks beautiful but not in a sexual way. She is radiant and glorious. She reminds me of Joan of Arc.

      I speak first. "I think I've solved your riddle and I want to guess your name. I've discovered that I am Michael. I am the Hand. And you the Voice. So your name is Gabrielle." (This was an idea I concocted earlier, riffing on another dream about angels.)

      She doesn't speak. Well, she never speaks. She communicates telepathically. She just gives me that Mona Lisa smile. She remains aloof, as if to say: Hmm, that's a good guess. But she won't say yes or no. I was so confident that it was Gabrielle a moment ago, but she's driven me back into uncertainty.

      "Or is it Mona? Or Lisa?" I look at her suit of armor again. "Or is it Joan?" I look at the suit in a different way. "Are you the Tinman, err, Tin-woman?"

      She gives me no clue. Just her clever smile as she walks toward and around me. I know she's teaching me a lesson.

      As she walks around me, she draws her hand along my shoulder blades and finally communicates with a playful touch: So, Mr. Guardian Angel, I see you've earned your wings. Who are you going to protect?

      I hadn't thought that far. "I -- I don't know."

      She leans her weight into me like she does. And with her suit of armor today, she's quite heavy but I can support her. She turns to the empty picture frame and I follow her gaze. She "speaks" to me again: So, what happens next?

      We both start at the empty picture. "I don't know."

      And then she hits me with the best line ever. As always, with a clever smile she looks at me: Third base! And in the picture frame, a baseball field appears.

      That makes me laugh and zaps me out of my trance and back into present. We made a novel connection about names, asking questions, and the Who's on First? routine.

      I don't quite get back into the trance, but I want to indulge playing the routine with her, so I continue to imagine.

      Third base? But who's on first? Who. Who is the first baseman? Right. Right field? His name is Wrong. "Who" is the first baseman. Right, that's what I asked you. Who. Yes, who? The first baseman? What is the man's name? What is the second baseman's name. Not second base. Who is at first base? Right. Right field? Wrong.

      (starting to understand) I see. "Who" is the first baseman. His name is "Who." Right. And the rightfielder's name is "Wrong." Wrong. What? Second base. The second baseman is Wrong? What. Yes. What is the second baseman's name? Right. "What" is the right fielder's name? Wrong.

      (growing upset) I want you to tell me the first baseman's name! Who. Yes! What is his name?! What is the second baseman's name. Why are you asking me?! I DON'T KNOW! Third base!

    13. Everything and The Kitchen Sink

      by , 03-14-2016 at 01:14 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      I am looking down at a gray cart. It looks like a janitor's cart. In the middle, it has a large sink basin filled with water. Around the basin are other compartments to fit things in. I notice that it is gray and plastic and wonder if that might have symbolic meaning.

      I consider the sink, but can't decide if this object belongs in a kitchen or a bathroom. Now my mother is to my right and my sister is to my left. (I start to groan, because I used to hate when they appear in my dreams, but it doesn't bother me so much anymore). It seems we all cooked dinner together and now are washing the plates in the sink. So this cart goes in the kitchen. But I still have the wondering that it might also go in the bathroom, so I want to be sure to clean it very well between uses.

      I scrub and scrub the thing, careful to get into the corners so that it is spotless. I also improve it. I add a little gauge that monitors the water pressure. I also modify some of the compartments on the left so that one fits exactly one cup of liquid while another one fits two cups.

      My sister returns and we use the cart to bake several batches of cookies. The measurement cups are a great help for this. We sell the cookies and there's a long line out the door of people who want to buy them. After all the customers are satisfied, we start using the sink to clean everything again.

      To maintain a high quality for the cookies we sold, we tossed out some of the broken and bitter ones. These leftover cookies are left in the sink, now soggy with water. My father enters from the right. He looks at these imperfect cookies and looks at my sister and me with scorn. It's as if he's accusing us that we didn't make very good cookies.

      But as he's staring us down, one lingering customer stands up for us. He explains that everyone loved the cookies and ate them, so you can't judge the good cookies by the leftovers.

      I wake up. I think, huh, that's a nice little parable.
    14. A Divine Touch

      by , 03-12-2016 at 01:48 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      Peter Pan and The Lost Boys

      I think this was the longest part of the dream, but I don't recall much detail or lucidity. I recall that I was playing with a group of children. We have a clubhouse and the most prominent detail that I remember is that there is a stairway immediately inside the front door. As we play, I start flying and they were so excited to see that. I show them that they could fly too.

      At some point the dream resets. Maybe I woke and re-entered.


      I return to the clubhouse. It looks like the same house with the entry and stairway. But it's dark and quiet now. I search the house for my gang of Lost Boys but don't find them. I exit back through the front door and onto the front porch.

      There's a driveway in front of the house and I see a car parked. I sense this is not right. There's a strange man in the driver's seat of the car. He doesn't belong here. He's an intruder. I walk out to confront him. I pull him out of the car. I turn him around and push him down the driveway out into the road. I don't hurt him or use any special powers. I just sent him out on his way to somewhere else.

      I am moved by this because in a recent dream I had promised The Goddess that I would have courage. I would catch people when they fall and I would protect those in danger. I would not just watch and think. I would act.

      Then the Peter Pan idea connects with this new idea of the guardian angel. And I start flying again.

      The Light

      I fly up to a comfortable height. But tonight I feel the urge to go higher. And higher. And higher again. The world is still mostly dark below me. On the horizon, I see a sliver of The Sun. I compel The Sun to rise and it obeys my command. It climbs into the sky. It is so intensely bright, but it doesn't hurt to stare at it. Because I am so high up, I must be in space, so the light doesn't fill the ambient sky. It remains a bright circle against the dark background.

      Emboldened, I compel another Sun to rise. This one is different. It is bright green and it has rings like Saturn. I compel yet another Sun to rise. And this one is bright red with darker spots like craters on Mars.

      I am in awe of how beautiful it is. I brought the light and the Sun. And then, of course, I remember: the clay and the potter. I'm acting like the potter again. Is that wrong? Maybe I have created a false duality with this idea of clay. I think of Forrest Gump, the wise idiot: "Maybe it's both."

      I look at my hands. What hath God wrought?

      I wake up and reflect.

      I realize this new synthesis doesn't conflict with the clay and the potter. The idea of the clay doesn't assert that God and man are separate. It only means that it is folly to be so proud and think you can fully understand divinity. In fact, the parable doesn't instruct the clay to accept being just clay. It only instructs the clay not to quarrel with the potter.

      Then I think about Michael, the guardian angel, and recognize the same theme. His name means: "Who is like God?" That's a bit cryptic though. More plainly, it means: The angel defends against those who falsely claim to be like God. But it's not wrong to claim to be divine. It's only wrong to claim to be above or replacement for God. Again, the trap is in the false duality where I try to fit as one or the other. Maybe it's both.

    15. Gray, Swinging

      by , 03-08-2016 at 04:16 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      I fall awake into The Void. Ahh. Are there stars? I make out a few twinkles of light in the distance. Yes, tonight anyway. Where should I go? Nowhere in particular...

      The Dreaming, as it always does, finds an amusing solution. I fall into a grassy clearing in the middle of an evergreen forest. First, I notice how the grassy is uneven and matted and trampled. This is wild grass, not a kept lawn. There's fallen leaves dancing in the wind. Yes, it's windy. I look at the rustling trees. The type of trees don't match with the fallen leaves, but no matter. I know exactly where I am: the middle of Nowhere.

      I look up and it is overcast. Not separate clouds, just an even blanket of gray. A storm must have just passed through. I'm fine with that. A change in the weather is always welcome.

      The clearing I'm in is, oh, about the size of a football field but irregularly shaped. I turn to my right and see a man walking with his daughter. He looks middle-aged, with glasses and a mustache. He wears a light brown blazer. Corduroy? That's quaint. His clothes are a bit rumbled and his hair looks like it was neatly combed this morning but has been tussled by the wind throughout the day. He leads by the hand a little girl. Blonde pigtails. Her eyes seem dazzled by the leaves as they dance.

      "What's going on here?" I ask.

      "There's been a disturbance in the universe," he replies, but seemingly unconcerned. He continues on with the girl. I look past them and see a group of about 20 people farther off, near the end of the clearing. They look like mothers and young children at a picnic. They're assembling as if to leave, picking up their blankets and bags.

      I think, They came out for a tea party during the storm. Now that the storm is over, they're going home. Ha! I leave them be. I look up again, noticing again the gray sky.

      I fly upwards to get a better lay of the land. I get high enough to see clear over the trees. In every direction it's just trees and patches of grass. No roads, no cars, no buildings. Definitely Nowhere. And I start to think I don't even know "when" I am. I couldn't judge much from the people or their clothing. They don't look contemporary. Could have been 20 years ago, or 50, or 100. The best clue was the style of the man's glasses, but even then I can only speculate.

      I rear back a bit as I'm hovering, like I'm pulling back a swing. I allow myself to fall. Usually when I fall, it's like I'm riding an invisible slide. But this time, I think of a swing and so my trajectory follows a different curve. I swoop down through the trees and delight in the thrill. I am flung back upward into the gray sky until it fills my vision with solid color and I dissolve back into the waking world.
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