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[conventions|dreams] Norwescon and me

Yesterday was a good day. Hugo nominations, yay! Plus lots of time with friends and associates and whatnot. No drinking for me with my fragile liver, but here I am.

However, my dream life last night was particularly strange. In retrospect, I think I was dreaming about being dead, about being a ghost.

In part one, I discovered that taxi cab drivers have the Knowledge about who among us are Duplicates and who among us are Originals. That’s why taxi rides sometimes go weird ways: to keep the Duplicates and Originals separated. Much to my dismay, I discovered I was not an Original. I wound up running away and hiding in someone’s office and trying to take control of my life from my Original.

In part two, I was traveling. Except I had gotten lost. Seriously, utterly, don’t-know-what-city-I-am-in, don’t-know-where-I-am-going lost. I couldn’t read my own travel documents. Within the dreamspace, I thought I was experiencing aphasia. I tried calling my parents for help, but my brother answered the phone and couldn’t hear me. He apparently thought it was a dead line. Everywhere I went, people didn’t see or hear me.

So, yeah. A weird way to wake up.

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[dreams] Sex and gasoline

My subconscious went into overdrive last night. It’s the first night in about three weeks that I slept without the aid of Lorazepam. This led to some very fitful sleep with lots of periods of wakefulness. That tends to increase my memory of my dreams. They were weird.

I had three distinctly different dreams about sex in a post-apocalyptic world, and all three involved gas stations. They also involved “soft” apocalypses, so there were still plenty of people around. Mother of the Child had a cameo in one, driving a velour love seat that had been mounted on a classic VW Beetle chassis. Various real life people also guest starred in other roles, which for reasons of good taste I shall not name. Plus gasoline. Because reasons.

There was also a fairly involved dream about the Queen of England, model trains and actual railroad trains. No sex in that one, and gasoline only by implication in that part of the dream took place in a limo as Her Majesty and I toured a multimodal freight yard where containers were handled. (That last bit courtesy of [info]nihilistic_kid and his discussion of longshoremen’s union on his blog yesterday.)

Likewise, a sad one about my family. My dad and (step)mom were young again, and my (now 39-year-old half-)brother was about three, but I was my current age of 48. Which would make me older than my dad in my dream, but that’s oneiric logic for you. I had cancer, as I do now, but I also had all my hair. Not sure what was sad about it, as only the framing image remains, but it was deeply tinged.

So, yeah, last night’s sleep was all about sex and gasoline and a few other things.

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[cancer|dreams] The state of the Jay

Last night, thanks in part to ongoing GI disruption (including serial outbreaks of flatulence that sounded like the Trumps of Doom a’blowing) I slept pretty fitfully. Lorazepam can only do so much, after all. This led to dreams, as such things do. It’s all fragments now, but among other things…

A comic book dream (in six-panel pages with color inking and hand lettering) about Salman Rushdie in the 22nd century, on extended geriatric life support, discussing his experiences in the 20th and 21st centuries. It looked like it was drawn by the late Moebius and read like it was written by Jeff VanderMeer on a cough syrup bender. Also notable: I’m not much of a comics fan, and I’ve never dreamt in six-panel pages before in my life, so far as I know.

A talking dream wherein Lisa Costello, [info]the_child and I were going somewhere in a car (I think I was driving) and [info]the_child was trying to parse out some English noun phrases. Sort of headline style. She was stuck on “Old English Near Deer”, which means nothing to me now, but at the time had us scouring both print and online references. Unless I was driving a bookmobile, I’m not sure where we got the reference books from, but there you are.

A driving dream involving oddly modified versions of my beloved and long-gone 1975 Cadillac Eldorado convertible, a/k/a “Large Marge” or “The Big Car” (those were my plates, Texas BIG*CAR) and [info]calendula_witch‘s Miata, which had been sprayed white like one of Portland’s Ghost Bikes. There was a party, an someone’s pre-WWII classic got trashed, and I had to spend the night sleeping in the Miata, and there was some long complicated thing about [info]calendula_witch and her current partner doing a zig-zag cross country road trip.

Anyway, I have woken up to relative digestive silence, other than the incessant fundamental bugling. We shall see what the day brings. I have abandoned my plan to see The Hobbit in 48fps today, given my ongoing digestive issues.

At any rate, today cannot possibly be as interesting as my dreams were last night.

God, I hope not.

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[dreams] Being entertained without a subconscious agenda

Had an unusual dream last night. It was very plot-oriented, and barely personal at all. Basically, my subconscious coughed up the first two-thirds of a movie or novel plot. This all started with a request from a Balkan nation for a technician to come service their repurposed Studebaker plant for which tooling had been purchased decades earlier. It involved a doctor at a teaching hospital in a Rocky Mountain city who was running a deep scam on research funds, and an Albanian immigrant community in that city which had a shadow culture running beneath the city’s legal and social systems. There were disabled people involved in trying to crack the scam because they knew it was their interests that were ultimately being robbed. And cool driving sequences involving a BMW 2002tii roaring up and down steep mountain roads. Not to mention the scamming doctor urinating in the public pool, being hung by Christmas lights outside a restaurant, and some weird, White Collar-like planning around money drops and such like.

My dreams have not been so entertaining of late. It’s kind of nice to see my old creative life-of-the-mind peeking through like an iceberg in drug-infused waters.

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[cancer|dreams] A reader questionnaire, of sorts

Last night I dreamt I was involved in the lengthy process of filming a BBC documentary (or possibly mockumentary) about searching for lost Norman treasure in an old English country village. Somehow this eventually transmogrified into me sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked SUV with diplomatic plates in downtown Almaty, Kazakhstan talking to a friend from work (an actual person from Day Jobbery rather than one of those skeevy dream people, :: waves to Dan U. ::), explaining why the Bloggess was so much more popular a blogger than I. And, no, the discussion in-dream doesn’t make sense now. Plus bacon and eggs. Lots of dreaming of bacon and eggs.

Sadly, no bacon and eggs this morning.

Also, it should be pointed out I’ve never been to Almaty. I have, however, been to Ulaan Baator, so my backbrain does have a readymade set for ‘Central Asian cityscape’ available.

I did wonder after I woke up if I should consider splitting my blog into personal/political/cultural/writing stuff (essentially what it was pre-cancer) on one fork, and purely cancer blogging on the other fork. It didn’t take me long to realize that (a) this would be a lot of work I don’t really want to do, especially given the relatively dubious benefits of performing that work; and (b) it would be somewhat dishonest in that I don’t see myself as divided that way, and a lot of what I think about life and politics and writing and my personal stuff is heavily inflected by cancer, as well as vice viscera. So, yeah, we’re not going there unless someone can present me with a truly compelling argument in favor. I mean, that’s why I have tagging and [title brackets] right?

That, however, led me to wonder a bit more about readership here. I am curious as to a few questions, and I’m not going to put this in a poll specifically to enable both verbose and anonymous answers in comments.

So here’s a reader questionnaire, and since turnabout’s fair play as well, consider this an ask-me-anything thread with a non-mandatory focus on the topic of cancer and serious illness.

1) Do you read the cancer posts? Why or why not?

2) Are you a cancer patient or survivor?

3) Do you live with some other serious illness such that the cancer posts are helpful to you in that regard?

4) Are you a friend, family member, loved one or caregiver to someone who falls in the above categories?

5) What helps you most here?

6) What hurts you most here?

I know even some of my frequent fliers in comments are very private about their health, so please feel free to leave your responses and/or questions for me anonymously. This is contra my usual mild preference for signed comments, but very appropriate to the topic.

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[dreams] Weird, weirder, weirderer

Wow, the dreams last night. I almost miss taking the Lorazepam, which is not a sentence I’d ever thought I’d say.

I had a really fitful night’s sleep, surfacing into consciousness after every REM cycle. (This is how I sleep sometimes, especially when I’m in physical distress. Which is of course a continuous state of being on chemotherapy.) As is often the case with that sleep patterns, my dreams have a threaded commonality that extends from REM cycle to REM cycle.

I’m not even sure I can describe what I was dreaming about. It wasn’t surreal, but the dreams were very crowded with imagery, color, people. In fact, crowding might have been the predominant theme. I was somewhere semitropical, surrounded by bougainvillea and and other bright flowers, at times crowded by children and their mothers in bright clothes, at other times struggling with traffic that consisted of classic cars in bright colors (sort of like an Andrew Niccol movie with the palette reversed). There was a slightly erotic episode when I encountered an old lover, there were extended bits about cooking, there was me jumping off a bridge into a river. And all of it was intensely, richly, fractally detailed across the senses, to the point of overwhelming. At one point I woke up in a state of frantic distress, breathing so rapidly and loudly that Lisa Costello woke up in fear for my health. I had to tell her I was not experiencing a seizure.

Sometimes my dreams are obvious garbage collection, the subconscious mind blowing the dust out of my mental and emotional buffers. Other times, they are obvious problem solving. Or obvious expressions of my anxieties and fears. Then, like last night, sometimes it seems like all the chocks were removed and my imagination went to the red line for no real reason I can understand. Not nightmares, mind you, just confusing.

If dreams are postcards from the subconscious, last night’s dreaming was an ink spill in the postcard printing plant.

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[dreams] Organ Pockets

Saturday night, I dreamt I’d started a novelty toy line called “Organ Pockets”. Basically, I was selling 1:1 replicas of human organs in either plushie form or as foam rubber, and each came in a tailored pocket with zipper and snaps, where the pocket was available in leather, latex or various flannels. One of my production challenges was that human organs to scale have a rather wide size range, from the vast and ropy intestines to the tiny little gall bladder.

The weird part is, I suspect somebody could actually make money doing this.

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[dreams] Silence of the baboons

Very strange dream last night. I was driving back to Portland from somewhere in the old, old Genre car — the gray Chrysler sedan that IRL I sold about four years ago. But I wasn’t really in Oregon, as the physical geography was more like the trip from San Antonio to Austin. There were a lot of construction projects tearing up abandoned railway lines. (I dream of trains and train tracks fairly often.)

The car broke down not far outside of Austin, so I got it pushed into the parking lot of a mechanic’s. Then I went to find a place to stay. There was a little resort motel nearby, which looked sort of like the Village from The Prisoner, if the builders had been rednecks working with salvage lumber and no plumb lines. Lots of little oddball buildings scattered among the pecan and live oak groves.

Somewhere in here, my family appeared. Dad, (step)mom, my mother, [info]the_child, [info]lillypond, the Niece. As we wandered around, I pointed out some wild animals nearby.

The animals turned out to be a troop of baboons. They didn’t like me pointing. As the Niece and [info]the_child laughed, the troop began approaching us. I twigged that we were at risk, so I tried to get my family to step back and walk away. Everyone was too excited about the baboons to pay any attention to me.

I wound up spanning my arms wide, jumping up and down and screeching, and pounding my chest. A classic primate aggression display. The baboons backed off a bit, as everyone began running away from me. I was fine with that. The desired result had been reached. As I began to back away from the baboons, still facing them and baring my teeth, the troop ran to attack me.

In real life, I used to live in Nigeria. When you travel cross-country in Nigeria, at least in the north, one thing you do any time you stop the car is watch for baboon troops. They will come to investigate what you’re doing, and they will rip your arms off if they feel like it. So even in dreamland, I knew to run like hell.

It turned into a zombie apocalypse dream, with the baboons taking the place of zombies. People were running everywhere, screaming and crying. The baboons were breaking down doors, leaping through windows, running down the weak and slow and unlucky. Taken literally, the whole thing was horrible, but I also knew I was dreaming, so it was more like watching a movie.

I woke up laughing about the whole thing. Other than the cancer, my life is not particularly infused with anxiety just now. Not sure what the dream meant, but it was funny and it was weird.

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[dreams] Just an old fashioned anxiety dream, coming down in four part disharmony

Weird, disjointed dreaming last night. It came in four parts.

First, I was hanging around in the parking lot of a fairly large, ratty apartment complex. A Spetsnaz trooper in full cammie who looked an awful lot like Danielle Myers Gembala came slithering up out of a creek bed carrying a bolt action rifle (Mauser, maybe) and asked me if I’d seen her opal ring. She then handed me the rifle and disappeared. I looked in the creek bed, but didn’t see the ring.

In the next part of the dream, I was in a modest, 1920s style bungalow (much like the one I used to own in Austin, TX) that had been converted to the offices of a small press publishing company. I kept trying to find a place to put Danielle’s rifle. Finally I located the corporate gun rack. All the other weapons there were locked down, but the locking clips were broken on the vacant slots in the rack.

The publisher then took me and [info]the_child (who had manifested into the dream at about this point) swimming. It was a huge pool, like one of those nineteenth century sanitarium pools, with long, shallow steps leading under the water. I kept trying to figure out what to do with the rifle. Not to mention wondering if I’d get in trouble for carrying a weapon around so many little kids playing in the water. I finally got in, but [info]the_child and the publisher seriously outswam me.

In the final episode of the dream, I was in another house, hiding from the Spetsnaz troopers who were looking for their rifle. There was a 1970s era Sony Trinitron television which I kept trying to change the channel on, but it would only bring in FOX News. In my panic, I decided the thing to do was refill the pepper mill I found in the kitchen. I had to do this from those little paper pepper packets you get at fast food restaurants. Unfortunately, every packet I opened dumped out pepper, then salt, then a small gush of water. The pepper mill was getting pretty borked by the time I woke up from all this inanity.

Pretty clearly anxiety dreams. Though my health never entered into this in any reasonably obvious metaphor, my intuition is that this dream is about me looking for solutions to the new cancer problem.

Or possibly it’s about my previously undiscovered dread fear of Danielle Gembala. Sometimes a cigar is just a phallic object one inserts in one’s mouth, after all.

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[dreams] Always more with the postcards from the subconscious

Two nights ago, I dreamt I was hanging out with [info]kenscholes and Mrs. [info]kenscholes. For some reason it was very important for me to buy her a coat. (In real life, she works in the fashion industry, so this was more than a little odd — why would she need that from me?) The coat search became a desperate hunt.

Last night I dreamt I was at a casino with some friends from the Day Jobbe. It was a very strange place, sort of the Hotel California brought to life, but without the warm smell of colitas rising up through the air. The ominously not present owner had hired a large number of attractive young women with whom the guests were absolutely forbidden to flirt or otherwise engage. It was some kind of weird contest and power game. C— from work wasn’t having this, and kept trying to chat up these women. I kept trying to get him to leave, in which I only succeeded by promising to chat them up myself. Then out in the snowy, cold parking lot we could not find the exit.

Anxiety much?

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