Thursday, November 03, 2011

Dreams from the Other Reality

I got the edits that I'd been waiting for entered, and now I'm letting the book rest a little before I devote my Saturday to re-reading the entire thing straight through so I'll catch any continuity issues that might have arisen from the edits. And then I will be done! Done! I think then I'll take a break for the rest of the year. It won't be total slacker party time, but I will try to get some balance in my life. I have a couple of projects that are in a "pick at it" phase where it's probably best to do a little at a time, focusing on working on specific aspects rather than diving in head-first. I also want to do a big fall cleaning on the house. I've tried doing the small bits at a time thing, and that hasn't worked. I just need to go with my all-or-nothing nature and devote a few days to the effort. That may give me enough of a boost to keep going to finish more gradually. And then I want to catch up on my reading, watch some movies, maybe do some day trips around the area, go hiking, bake and generally have a life.

Meanwhile, I have to ask: How long do I need to be out of school before I stop having the "I have an exam in the class I've been forgetting to go to!" nightmare? The other night I had a particularly pervasive one, as it followed me through multiple dreams. I was tracking the guy who was fighting a Terminator and searching his last motel room when I had a nagging feeling I was forgetting something, looked in my bag, and found a class schedule and realized I was missing a class. Then there was another dream where I was on a vacation with my mom, and I found the class schedule again and realized I was missing a class. Then there was a dream more about the forgotten class where I learned there was an exam coming up, and it was an art history class where it was all lecture and slides, so I couldn't catch up by reading the textbook, so I knew I had to start going to the class. But then there were still more dreams about lots of other things, all of which included some element of me not being able to get to that class because I only remembered it while the class was already in progress. I finally woke in a panic and had to remind myself that I've been out of school for more than 21 years. And I never took art history (though I did take one history course that involved art and literature from the time period being studied, and that did involve a lot of slides, but I got an A in the class with little effort because I loved it, so I don't know why it would trigger anxiety).

I swear, on my deathbed I'll wake up briefly from a deep sleep, and my last words will be, "I've got an exam in art history, and I've been forgetting to go to class." Though the class varies in the recurring nightmare. Sometimes it's a foreign language, sometimes it's English literature. Sometimes I don't even know what it is other than that I'm missing it. When I was actually in school, I kept dreaming that I was skipping ROTC, and I was never in ROTC (though my dad taught it when I was a small child, and I was the mascot for their drill team).

I ought to start tracking occurrences of this nightmare to see if it maps to anything in the real world. There must be some anxiety that triggers it. Like maybe rushing to get a project done after having to wait for someone else's input that didn't come until after the deadline. That certainly breeds anxiety, but I wonder if there's something else out there I'm forgetting to do.

Now I'm thinking that there might be a story in there somewhere, like one reality leaking into another, so you're getting anxious about stuff the other version of you is supposed to be doing or should have done years ago.

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