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[personal] Dreaming of all the anxieties, because reasons

Last night’s dream was a mix of most of my current anxieties and life issues. Hilariously so.

At first, I was at a convention with Lisa Costello. I wasn’t Guest of Honor, but I was something like Toastmaster. After rehearsing for the banquet where there was going to be a ceremony, I realized it was going to be one of the coolest ceremonies ever. Live action stunts, people flying in from the ceiling on wires, the whole business. I tried to convince Lisa she needed to come to the banquet with me, but she kept insisting she had a panel she couldn’t miss.

Eventually I went to change for the banquet. I couldn’t find my aloha shirts. I couldn’t get into the orange t-shirt I had with me. I got lost heading back to the banquet room. I eventually arrived about half an hour late, most of the ceremony was over, and I’d missed all the fun bits with me in them.

My sense of being trapped by cancer, of my writing career slipping away from me

Lisa Costello went back to my house. Not the real Nuevo Rancho Lake, but some dream place. We decided to take a road trip to Canton, OH as something to do in order to distract ourselves. On the way we stopped at the house of [info]tillyjane (a/k/a my mom). (Again, some dream version.) There we were going to meet up with [info]kenscholes, who was going to drive the rest of the way to Canton with us.

[info]kenscholes and Lisa Costello are driving from Baltimore to Portland next week to relocate her out here

[info]tillyjane had set up a commercial baking operation in her living room and was making mass quantities of biscuits for some NFL teams. Football players in full field gear kept wandering in taking out huge trays of biscuits. I went into the bathroom to get ready for the rest of our trip to Canton when I noticed in the mirror that all my facial hair had fallen out from chemotherapy, but for some reason the hair on my head had grown down past my shoulders. Plus I’d lost more weight due to chemo. I actually could pass for female with long hair and thin face in my dream. I was so excited that I went running through the house looking for Lisa to show her my hair, but I couldn’t find her, as she and [info]kenscholes had left without me.

My feeling that my whole life is slipping away from me due to cancer, and my fears that people will keep leaving me behind as I grow ever more ill — not sure what the gender stuff means, other than obvious questions of somatic identity

So, yeah. A classic. Laughably Freudian.


[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.

[personal] Punked, dreams, and other thoughts

The last week or so has been colored by some real challenges on the personal and professional front. Nothing I’m prepared to discuss yet, largely for reasons of others’ confidentiality, but also not critical (or medical). Just disappointing and, well, challenging. And annoyingly simultaneous, as sometimes happens in life.

This weekend will be a basement party at Nuevo Rancho Lake, or at least my half of it. Team E— is coming over, as is [info]mleules, to stand on my toes and Enforce Justice with respect to actually purging things I don’t need in my life. Also, [info]the_child‘s last lacrosse game happens Saturday. Conflict is the nature of drama, right?

Last night I dreamt I was driving down Mopac in Austin when a very peculiar railroad train passed me. (This isn’t quite as weird as it sounds, as in real life the highway in part follows a railroad right of way, and so cars and trains often are heading along side by side.) The train consisted of an older Southern Pacific diesel locomotive that had been grafted together with a caboose and some miscellaneous machinery into one of those oddball maintenance-of-way work units you sometimes see. While driving my car, I pulled out a camera and began snapping photos, primarily for the benefit of [info]garyomaha and [info]kevin_standlee. Somehow, using the mighty power of his mind, the engineer (still in his locomotive cab hurtling down the tracks) began lecturing me (still in my car racing down the highway) about the national security implications of me publishing those photos, and did I know what the purpose of this unit was?

Interpretation of this dream is left as an exercise for the reader.

Also, I continue to mull some fairly deep thoughts on creativity, process and groups that are rising up out of my experiences at World Steam Expo. Look for a blog post here soon. Finally, speaking of WSE, here is a caricature of me done by the inestimable @howardtayler:


© 2012, Howard Tayler, reproduced with permission.

[personal] Miscellaneous miscellany

Yesterday was a long, good day. Day Jobbery went well, even better than normal. We had a terrific Open Dinner here in Austin, with @dratz, @itsaJuliasaurus (a/k/a Mrs. @dratz), [info]stillsostrange, @StevenBrust, Skyler White, D—, old Austin Slug Tribe friends Jn4 and CH, [info]jess_ka, E—, [info]sophielandon and Mr. [info]sophielandon. I got to talk with everyone but E—, to whom I regretfully didn’t even manage to say good-bye.

Afterwards, we rolled back to chez @dratz where I wound up interviewing @StevenBrust and Skyler White on camera.

Jay Lake interviewing Steven Brust and Skyler White

This was a cold interview, from my perspective, in that I hadn’t known I’d be conducting it until about a minute before the interview started, and I’d done none of my usual interview preparation. Nonetheless, Steve and Skyler were gracious and cooperative interview subjects. Oddly, I went to bed feeling a bad attack of imposter syndrome post-interview. That’s mostly a measure of how tired I was, given my usual bullet-resistant writerly ego.

Now I’m heading back to Portland, rather underslept and feeling more than a bit behind on my writing. The latter is not in fact true, this is just my psychotically persistent writerself talking, so I’ll be fine. After lunch with [info]mlerules, I’ll be working Day Jobbery this afternoon, then photographing [info]the_child‘s lacrosse team, and spending the evening with her. More Day Jobbery tomorrow and (hopefully) lunch with [info]kenscholes. Then off to Detroit on Thursday.

I do owe a couple of blog posts, time and mental focus permitting. Among other things, I want to document last Saturday’s cheesefest at Paradise Lost II.

Also of note, a dream from a couple of nights ago. I was watching television (in my dream). It was a nature documentary about a family of manta rays that had adopted a kitten. That was all very sweet and adorbz until at one point in the documentary, the manta rays turned on their kitten. As they began slashing at the animal, taking bites out of it, I felt the stinging, tearing pain of each bite in my body. I got wrapped up in wondering how the documentary crew had managed to capture then broadcast the pain to me, the viewer. Interpretation of the meaning of this dream is left as an exercise for the reader.

At any rate, I’m off. Be well.

Photo © 2012 Donnie Reynolds and Waterloo Productions. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.

[personal] Dreaming of Ted Kosmatka

Still giggling over last night’s dream. I didn’t actually dream of writer Ted Kosmatka his own self. Rather, I dreamt of being trapped inside a highly secured game design facility (surface-to-air missiles for a developer of MMORPGs, really?) with my boss from the Day Jobbe, while a musical score accompanying my dream occasional erupted into the Ted Kosmatka theme song.

I don’t remember the words exactly, but it sounded a lot like a 1950s advertising jingle, with the small studio orchestra and the six or eight voice chorus. And the end of every couple of lines, his name was used as a refrain, in multipart harmony, “Ted Kosm-a-a-atk-a-a-a”. Even inside the dream, I found this to be pretty darned weird. I woke up laughing.

Seriously, I am giggling as I write this blog entry.

I was at Rainforest Writers Village with Ted last week, so that explains why he was on my mind. And Ted, my apologies for abusing you like this, but it’s all true.

[personal] Mild illness and anxiety dreams

Ever since coming back from Rainforest Writers Village, I’ve been experiencing intermittent mild joint pain and excessive (but not overwhelming) fatigue. That’s part of why I fell off the wagon on walking in the morning, though I have stuck to the stationary bike in keeping my basic body movement up. I’ve just needed to sleep a lot more than ought to be normal for me right now.

I thought this was me having overdone it over the weekend, but yesterday on the group mailing list it came out that a bunch of folks who were there had developed a full range of symptoms up to and including full on flu. As I had a flu shot last fall, it’s quite possible I also got the flu but have been fighting it relatively easily. At any rate, it’s good to have some explanation for my mild symptoms since returning.

Last night I had a classic anxiety dream. This was so mundane I hesitate to report the thing here, except that I find it amusing. I was living in the back room of a hip warehouse office in the imaginary downtown of some imaginary city that was a subconscious stand-in for Portland. Dad came by to see me, and I wanted to go back to his place to have lunch with him and Mom. I kept worrying about where all my cars were. I couldn’t quite remember how many I had and where they were all parked. So instead we walked to the elevated train, except as we were mounting the steps to the station, I suddenly realized I was naked and they wouldn’t let me onto the train that way. Dad handed me a towel, but it wasn’t enough.

Exciting being me, ain’t it?

[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.

[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?

[cancer] Still with the spoons, plus a bit of unrelated dreaming

The first thing I want to say is that I continue to feel much better these days. My bounceback from this last round of chemotherapy is progressing much more swiftly and smoothly than it did from my 2010 chemo series. My mental energy is very nearly 100%, and at least up to a point, my physical energy is strong. I sleep well, get things done during the day (including basic housework etc. — which was impossible for me for months), am productive in my writing and have the time, energy and focus to parent [info]the_child.

But still with the spoons… Some days I wipe out early and sleep long. As happened yesterday. It’s tied to how much I’ve done that day, and fairly specifically to how much driving I’ve done. For example, yesterday I had lunch with a friend on the southwest end of Portland (far from Nuevo Rancho Lake), then yesterday evening I drove [info]the_child up to northeast part of town (also reasonably far from Nuevo Rancho Lake) for a long, late session with her eighth grade project mentor. By the time I got home around 7:45 I was staggeringly tired, and I was lights out at 8:15.

I’m not sure if the driving is the specific factor that exhausts me, or if it is just a proxy for my overall level of activity. Days when I stay home and lay low, I can stay up til 10:00 or so, sleep six or seven hours, and be fine. This is pretty close to my ordinary behavior when I am at baseline health. Days when I am out and about look a lot more like yesterday, with noticeable fatigue, early bedtimes and hard sleep.

And of course, because I feel fine, I rarely remember to take this fatigue into account. It’s not like while I was on chemo, when every spoon spent was painfully obvious. (For more on spoons, see here: [ | LiveJournal ].) So I barrel through the days as if I’m healthy, then have a wipe out lottery in the evenings.

Still, a vast improvement. Still, annoying.

And on an unrelated note, last night I dreamt I was at a big potluck picnic with, among other people, [info]daviddlevine. At one point I approached a cold case someone had set up filled with desserts. (It suspiciously resembled the dessert case at the Sellwood location of Papa Haydn’s.) Except that one of the items on display was a sort of box made of head cheese with pickled jalapeno inclusions among the organ meats. Small items of patisserie were in various compartments of the head cheese box. I could not even begin to imagine the point of that presentation, and was fairly grossed out about it.

Ah, my dreaming mind, such a lovely landscape it is.

[personal] Dreaming of Japan, and other updates

Sometime in the last few days, in conversation with someone (I cannot recall who now) I made the observation that I am very rarely lost. I don’t always know where I am when walking or driving in a strange-to-me place, but I always know how I got there and how to get back to wherever I started from. I really do have a very good sense of direction.

So naturally last night my subconscious decided to serve me up some humble pie. I dreamt that Mother of the Child and I were in Japan, walking through a Tokyo neighborhood that looked suspiciously like Portland’s West Hills, admiring the classical architecture. We wound up being invited into one of the houses, which was the home of an absent yakuza crime lord. For some reason, I borrowed one of the yak’s cars — a tiny, ancient Subaru — to head back to our hotel to pick something up, leaving Mother of the Child behind. I got to the hotel, a Best Western in a location that looked suspiciously like Nebraska, and realized I had no idea how to get back to the yakuza mansion. Not only had I lost [info]the_child‘s mother, but I had in effect stolen a car from the Japanese mafia. I had a rented Japanese cellphone, but no matter what I did with it, I couldn’t seem to make an outgoing call. Panic ensued.

Anxiety much? I don’t find that dream so hard to interpret.

In other news, [info]the_child‘s basketball team lost last night 43-28. It was only their second loss of the season, and they fought hard, but the other squad were demon shooters, not to mention quite a bit taller.

Also, I’m making a lot of progress on Sunspin. I expect to have Calamity of So Long a Life out to my last few first readers in another week or so, well ahead of schedule. This will give me time to work on Little Dog, I think, given my production scheduling.

This evening, [info]the_child and I are going to the SFWA Northwest Reading Series. David Levine, J.A. Pitts and Ken Scholes are reading:

Tuesday, January 31
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
McMenamins Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave. Portland, OR 97211

Note they’re also reprising, with a slightly different cast, in Seattle tomorrow night.

Wednesday, February 1
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Wild Rover Restaurant and Pub, 111 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033

If you’re in the area, turn out and support live, local literature!

[dreams] Capers, middle aged white guy style

I’ve been watching too much Mission Impossible. In fact, [info]the_child and I watched MI IIIimdb ] yesterday evening, which quite clearly influenced my dreaming.

In my sleep, I was part of a strike team also composed of [info]joshenglish (a fellow Portland writer) and [info]howardtayler (of Schlock Mercenary fame). Our assignment was to kidnap a teacher (played by a dream person rather than someone from real life) from an American boarding school in Japan and bring him back to the United States. The three of us flew across the Pacific, and executed our assignment, also snatching his girlfriend and their three little kids. We wound up in a hotel near Narita airport waiting for our flight home, where [info]joshenglish bailed on the operation, and [info]howardtayler more or less went on strike.

It finally occurred to me that we hadn’t grabbed our target’s passport when we snatched him, and I began to wonder how we were going to get him through Japanese immigration on the way out, or US customs and immigration on the way in. Then I realized I had no way to get him onto the plane without him speaking up and asking for help from the airline reps. So I went and took a shower with all my clothes on (no, I still don’t know why), until the kids came and pestered me to get out of the bathroom so they could wash up.

Apparently, I’m not even capable of being an international superspy even in my dreams. As for those two rats on my team, gentlemen, I have to say I’m disappointed in your lack of commitment to my imaginary mission.