Tag Archives: dreams

So To Speak

I can’t write anymore. I hire an editor. She recommends a therapist.

I arrive at the front desk. I share a recent dream in which I tell a stranger nobody understands what I’m trying to say. The stranger agrees but this resolves nothing.

The receptionist says she’s not a therapist. She will be with me in a moment. I give her my name. She looks thirsty. I’m talking about the receptionist. I am told in no uncertain terms to keep my voice down.

I author a book from front to back in a waiting room. I quit dreaming.

I tell a stranger I’m vulnerable. I don’t recommend announcing this in a dark alley after midnight. Or on a first date if you’re into meeting people. A blog is fine. I’m done with books.

I am vulnerable. I write books nobody reads. Books nobody bothered to write but me. Nobody understands what I’m trying to write. Books aren’t blogs aren’t dreams. I fire my editor. This resolves nothing.

I enter a stranger’s dream and say nobody understands what it’s like to tell people on the internet you’re vulnerable. He’s angry with me. I bite my tongue. He throws his voice.

Books are for dummies. I buy mine on Amazon. Books are finished.

A stranger tells his therapist in my dream I don’t understand what I’m trying to say. I agree and this resolves everything. I decide to write cryptic blogs to throw off people on the internet.

I fuck my editor in a dark alley. She says I’m a bad writer. Repeat after me. I’m a bad rider.

I take back my book. Every word.

I write what I know. I quit therapy because I’m too smart for this shit.

I am dumber than a blog post. Someone buys my book and it arrives by drone.

I am thirsty. An author waiting for my therapist tells me he can’t write any more. I ask him to elaborate. This adds words to the universe. Words aren’t people aren’t drones. I see right through the universe. My book drops. Nobody picks it up.

A stranger will see me now. My therapist asks me to elaborate at the same time I ask her to elaborate. She doesn’t get paid to analyze dreams.

I ask my therapist for water. She gives me a voice. So to speak.

She says I am valuable. Repeat after me. I am vulnerable.

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Creative Type

Chris Truman isn’t himself. He has ideas for his blog, Creative Type, but the page won’t oblige—the words won’t stick. The stories he’s been telling himself—his personal narrative—are not his own. Perhaps his mind is all made up. His life a mask—the world an insufferable ball.

We have countless ways to hide. Truman sleeps. There is something to be said for silence, the warmth of inactivity. You’re weightless in a dream, given to nonsense. A pilot with no manifest. We spend the better part of our lives asleep; the worst happens with our eyes wide open. A possible post? His family might get worried. Is Chris OK? Taking his meds?

A blog, like a psychological history, sees many revisions. Inspiration takes time. You think you’re finished before the moment arrives. Where do you think this thought is coming from? Therapists have a way with words. They’re all about self-talk. Truman never tires of writing about therapy, second only to writing.

Truman looks to the past for answers but finds his strength in question. He recalls his project—to reveal his true nature in the fictionalized account of his friend Chuck Snoad. He’ll pick up where he left off. Publish when he’s ready. His therapist might enjoy a reading. She could analyze the document. Judge its authenticity.

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Dream Within A Dream

A sudden thought: what if throughout my adult life I continue to repeat childhood traumas? Is every day, every relationship, an unconscious re-creation of events over which I had little control? Maybe I’m fixated on variations of the same thought—the One Big Idea—that of recovering a self I barely knew?

The universe has its own issues. Space is occupied with making the best of a bad situation. Time finds it tough moving forward with respect to what’s passed.

Where am I going with this?

Sleep is hard to come by when you’re always dreaming. The stars and I—we’re the same, really. We shine brightest when nobody’s looking.

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Friendly Confines

My dad liked to say that in life people are free to choose their own confinements. He chose to become a teacher and found himself confined to the classroom. He chose to become a father and when I arrived he built a life based around my mother and me.

I say that our confinements help us appreciate the limited amount of freedom we have. By becoming a teacher my dad was not a librarian or a fireman or starting first baseman for the Chicago Cubs. The classroom became his world. He was bound by district rules, standardized tests, report cards and textbooks. But he had the freedom to teach Hamlet or the five-paragraph essay as he saw fit. He encouraged students to follow their passions, even though as teens many thought little of the future.

I’ve heard a theory that the major events of our lives happen no matter the daily individual choices we make. My dad was in a way destined to teach—maybe not in Chicago, maybe not English—but still a teacher. Even after his initial dream of becoming a minister wasn’t realized, he wanted to help people—lifting their spirits, nourishing their minds. Minister or teacher—he was in the same ballpark.

Oftentimes we try too hard to force the action in our lives. We push for things we think we want, only to see them escape our grasp. Then there are those opportunities we never considered, appearing out of nowhere.

There’s power in submitting to the possibility that my life follows some kind of destiny. Accepting the will of the universe and learning to live with myself? How freeing.

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Filed under Life, Philosophy

Caller ID

You know the feeling: you’re drifting off to sleep, easing into a dream. The phone rings. You’re awake.

~ ~ ~

Life is your inability to continue the dream.

~ ~ ~

If God had proposed the idea of my life to me before my birth, I’d have thought him insane. But I accepted the offer before it was made. I wasn’t so much conceived as convinced.

~ ~ ~

God once left a cryptic message. Someday I’ll get back to him.

~ ~ ~

As a child I wondered where I came from. How at first the world appeared. The cosmos had a pressing thought. Something of a dark matter.

~ ~ ~

Life is the length of a restless night. A series of tosses and turns.

~ ~ ~

The other day, a dream. UNKNOWN calls. And I say hello.

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Filed under Life, Philosophy

Don’t Be Cruel

The other night I had a dream worthy of some Freudian analysis. A figure outside myself but clearly a part of my psyche asked me a question: Why be kind?

Why be kind when the world is full of cruelty? Why be kind when people can be so awful?

I’ve heard from more than a few women, upon expressing their desire not to see me anymore, that I’m a nice guy. I pride myself on treating people well regardless of the situation. We’re all suffering in our own way and the odds are often against us; a little compassion goes a long way.

But mean people take advantage of nice people. Sensitive men are often seen as effeminate, over-civilized mama’s boys. It’s not easy being kind. Sometimes I wish for a harder shell.

A dream full of questions left me with a partial answer. Why be kind? Because when you’re kind to people you’re showing yourself compassion. You’re being kind to you.

But my illness, hell-bent on keeping me down, challenges this axiom. In my darkest moments I abandon myself on the precipice of disaster. Life sucks and I turn the vacuum on full blast. I’m cruel to myself, curse my imperfections, swear off hope for a lifetime of dread.

I forget that I can’t show kindness to others without first caring for me. The world is tough enough. I can’t be strong for you if I’m too busying beating myself up. The question isn’t why be kind but how can we learn to forgive ourselves.

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Filed under Life, Philosophy

A Real Nightmare

Not long ago I wrote about a recurring dream of mine, a dream in which my quest for a perfect college GPA is thwarted by a “B” achieved on my final exam in my final class. I’m proud to say I’ve moved on from this nightmare. Unfortunately, another nocturnal narrative has me worried these days.

It goes like this: I have made it safely to graduation day and am prepared to accept my degree. The ceremony has begun, but I’m stuck in the parking lot, unable to reach the stage. I never hear my name called and wonder why I’m so close to graduating but instead find myself lost in diploma limbo.

Panic fills me. At first I think it’s due to my not getting out, to being stuck in the role of eternal student. But then I engage in a sort of meta-dream in which I tell myself I secured the 4.0 and already graduated.

Then the real panic comes, bursting through me. I’m terrified because I know this is true, that I graduated in 2002 and that, at age 31, I’m far from being a student.

Given all my troubles since earning my degree, it makes sense that, in an effort to protect myself from the truth, to deny certain humbling realities, my unconscious mind would create a world in which I never left school.

Part of me, in fact, has never left childhood. At 31 I’m still 21, and when I was 21 I was still 11, and when I was 11 I was still barely one. It’s why, when the narrator in the movie Fight Club declares: “I’m a 30-year-old boy,” I relate so strongly.

But I’m not a fictional character and my life is not a metaphor. If I remain attached to a series of pre-adult selves, longing to hide in a perpetual past in order to avoid grown-up pains, I’m afraid my future will disappear before me.

Now there’s a real nightmare.

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