Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stirring the Subconscious

I'm about ready for the cold snap to end. Not that it would be considered a real cold snap in many parts of the world, but for us, it is a little unusual to go for nearly a week barely getting above freezing. I say I like cold weather, but what I mean by "cold weather" is daytime highs in the 50s (F) or so -- not so cold that I can't be out in it for an extended period of time, but cool enough to wear a sweater and to feel like I've been out in the cold and to make it feel really good to come inside and have a hot cup of tea. But not so cold that I have to turn on the central heat. Then I can curl up under a blanket and enjoy reading/writing/watching TV. Preferably gray and drizzly. And then in maybe the 40s or upper 30s at night so the electric blanket to warm the bed feels good but I don't have to turn on the central heat. So I guess my ideal "winter" would be autumn in much of the rest of the northern hemisphere. This 20 degrees stuff can go.

I'm making real progress on the book now. I've passed the rewriting phase and am moving forward. I do need to do some thinking, since I'm not precisely sure what should happen next and when a certain big event I have planned should come.

I have discovered that there are some side effects to being in a big creative phase. One of them is that it seems to give me particularly intense, vivid dreams. Or else, I'm more likely to remember my dreams in great detail. I suspect my subconscious is going nuts. Here's a sampling:

There's a little boy who's fascinated with the idea of "man eaters," like sharks or tigers, and he's very disappointed that the only thing in his town that would want to eat him is his neighbor's dog, Buster. And even Buster isn't really a man eater. He's actually pretty friendly, but it's fun to pretend that he's a vicious man-eating dog. Meanwhile, there's this strange plant growing in the back yard ... (I think this may turn into a short story.)

My homeowners' associated put a giant, inflatable Pillsbury Dough Boy in the lawn beside my house. Fortunately, it's placed in the one spot where I don't have windows on that side of the house, so I don't have to look at it. It has something to do with the Super Bowl that will be in our area, and since people would have to pass by our corner to visit the Dallas Cowboys headquarters, advertisers were willing to pay for the placement. (The parts about the Super Bowl and the Dallas Cowboys are true. I haven't yet noticed a Dough Boy, but it would be in a spot I can't see from inside my house, so maybe I'd better check ...)

I'm housesitting or subleasing an apartment in a city. Instead of the "garden apartments" we have here with exterior stairways and doors, it's the kind where you unlock a front door, then there's an interior stairway, and the apartment doors open onto interior landings. The walls facing the interior stairway are all glass, so as you climb the stairs, you can see into everyone's living rooms. (In the dream, I thought this was a cool feature, but in reality it horrifies me.) There's snow outside, and I write a few pages, then go walk in the snow to think. I'm starting to practically clear the sidewalk from walking on it so much. Then I discover that the person whose apartment it is has left behind her pets, a parrot and a couple of white rats. I discover this when the parrot loudly demands food. It tries to tell me where to find the pet food, but it only directs me toward the treats, and I'm pretty sure the parrot isn't supposed to get chocolate (on the up side, I now know where the chocolate is). Fortunately, it turns out that the owner has really just moved in with her boyfriend in another apartment in the same building, so she's able to come by and feed the pets.

Then last night there was a strange bit of self-awareness, as I was having a conversation in the dream with someone about how great it was to live by a lake, since I really like water and boats. I once dated a guy largely because he had a sailboat, and I love being in a ski-type boat, but I haven't done that sort of thing in a long time. And I also was glad to live in an older house, since I've always wanted to, because I love the architectural details. Except the house in the dream was the house I have now, sort of. Most of the interior was the same, though the external arrangement was different, and that see-through wall thing came up, but on my neighbor's house, so I could see what she was watching on TV.

The part with the conversation about the lake was almost entirely true. I actually started paying attention to the guy because he played the piano, but the sailboat sealed the deal. It also helped get us together because he took me out in it to show off, and then the wind died, and we had a lot of time to chat. He was a big part of the reason I moved to this area. I had been looking for TV reporting jobs, which was about as easy as trying to sell a book, but with less positive feedback. I met him when he was visiting a friend in the area where I was living, and the fact that I knew someone here who played the piano and owned a sailboat was what gave me the idea to buy a Dallas newspaper and see if there were any jobs in it that I could do. I called about one job and ended up getting it. The relationship didn't last long, but there was some sailing, and I haven't gone sailing since then. I hadn't thought about that in years. I do like boats, and I live very close to a lake (actually, I live within walking distance of a small lake, but there's currently no public access to it), but that's the sort of thing where you have to know someone who knows what they're doing. I can follow orders on a sailboat, but I wouldn't begin to try to sail one myself. Maybe that was a sign of some things I should look into, either finding a group for doing boating stuff or as something to incorporate into a vacation.

I'm sure there's some Freudian or Jungian explanation for the recurring imagery of the glass walls. One of my neighbors studied Jungian psychology. Too bad I can't look through her glass wall to see if she's home to discuss it.

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