“Sometimes we suffer too much reality in the space of a single night.” ~ Alejandra Piznarik, from “Sex, Night”

Image from Elephant’s Dream (cc)*

” . . .they would walk home in
the evenings when the light was soft, anything bad sliding
off them, and they would feel owned, completely owned,
in a good way, by the air, which would touch them constantly,
sometimes urgently, sometimes lightly, just to let them know
it was there, and they would think maybe this is what being
alive is” ~ Emily Berry, from “No Name”

Saturday afternoon, cloudy, 74 degrees.

I think that today would be a good day for a walk with the dogs mostly because I was walking everywhere in my dreams last night. I frequently walk in my dreams—to my imaginary jobs, to school, to the doctor’s office—it’s weird. Last night I was walking home (in Norfolk) down Shore Drive, which is definitely not a street for pedestrians. I was walking when I realized that it was getting dark, and there was no one around. I started to pick up my pace until I was running, but then I found myself running on all fours, but it felt completely natural, and I was able to run quickly, like some kind of animal.

I’ve had the being on all fours dreams before, but last night’s was one of the first times in which I felt myself moving. I’ve dreamt that I’ve been walking to and from a primary school in which I was teaching, but my walk takes me through a sketchy part of town, and I have to keep looking down alleys. Those are always strange as I’ve never really lived anywhere that had a lot of alleys.

I remember that in part of last night’s dream I was trying to remember if I had ever gone walking completely naked, and my dream mind remembered a time in which I went to school completely naked. I know—the naked dreams are all about being vulnerable—but in this particular naked dream I didn’t feel at all vulnerable, just incredibly free. I sent to school (college), but no one was especially surprised or concerned, and I felt very at home in my naked body. Go figure that one out because I’ve never been able to translate that one.

“Night opens itself only once. It’s enough . . . And I am well aware what night is made of.” ~ Alejandra Piznarik, from “Sex, Night”

Lately my dad has been making many appearances in my dreams. Last night he was bailing some of us out of jail (unsure as to who exactly was there), and it cost him $1500, and I was worried about how I would ever be able to pay him back. Funnily enough, though, he wasn’t mad; he was smiling. If you ever met my dad  you would know that he was not a big smiler, which is probably where my antipathy towards smiling comes from.

But last night he was smiling, and it unnerved the me in the dream because I couldn’t quite figure out if it was a happy smile or a mad smile, if that makes sense. I have a vague memory of him appearing in my dreams the night before last as well, but now I cannot quite grab the thread of the dream, even though I awoke from it thinking that it was so powerful that I would definitely remember everything, but of course, I cannot. The only part that I can remember is that I was in the military, which is very, very weird.

For some strange reason, Brad Pitt was in part of my dream: I was sitting across from him in some kind of restaurant, and he was telling me why his marriage failed, and it was the most natural scenario, which it definitely would not be. I was also back at my old pain management doctor’s office so that I could get trigger point injections, but instead of the neurologist, it was another doctor that I saw for a while before him, and I was very confused. Oh, and Jennifer Aniston made an appearance as well.

I don’t have many celebrity dreams, and if any do appear, it’s not usually in a casual setting, but last night, this dream seemed to be populated with famous people. In another part I was in a movie theater, and I was watching a documentary. The strangest part was that I knew that the person sitting next to me was not who he claimed to be, and I knew that the scene involving the primates (?) would reveal who he really was, and I knew that Brad Pitt would be angry at the charade.

When the truth was revealed on the screen, a loud argument erupted, and we were all asked to leave the theater, which meant going up an aisle filled with chaise lounges because those are always in theaters .  . .The whole sequence was truly bizarre.

“. . . each of us
joins night’s ongoing story” ~ Li-Young Lee, from “Black Petal”

Sorry to go on so much about my dreams, but I always find them fascinating. I’ve never actually bothered to try that whole lucid dreaming thing, mostly because my dreams are already to full. I’ve found over the years that not everyone dreams like this, though, which is definitely a shame for those people because dreams that are so vivid are actually pretty cool, that is, until they aren’t, like the ones in which I awake screaming or yelling or crying.

I have wondered if my vivid dreaming is part of what makes my sleep so fractured. Apparently, not everyone awakens two to three times a night. That whole seven or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep only happened in my youth. Once I got married (the first time) and began to worry about adult problems like bills and rent and everything else, my ability to sleep uninterrupted ceased, and then with the birth of babies, sleep at night became even more fractured.

I suppose the dogs replaced the children at some point because I now awaken instantly when I sense a dog stirring and moving towards the front door. When my children were babies, the same thing would happen: Something in me would cause me to awaken instantly when a baby or child stirred, even once they were in their own rooms. Maybe that’s just an innate mother thing because I did it with Olivia as well.

“Tell me what you feel in your room when the full moon is shining in upon you and your lamp is dying out, and I will tell you how old you are, and I shall know if you are happy.” ~ Henri Frédéric Amiel

In other news . . .

I’ve been reading the Mueller report because, well, democracy you know. Amazingly, it’s  not filled with a lot of legalese, making it fairly easy to go through, but I’ve been taking my time, going back and forth so that I don’t end up giving myself an aneurysm from being so angry.

Trust me. It’s better this way, well, better for my blood pressure, plus, I really don’t need yet another thing to keep me from being able to sleep. I’m really trying not to allow the state of the union to move to the top of my worry list.

I’d really like to print the report, but I think that I’ll wait until we see an unredacted version. Overall, though, I really want to hear from Mueller himself. His letters to and interactions with the pseudo attorney general only confirmed my initial suspicions about the entire Mueller investigation and the blatant bullshit of the administration’s declaration of total exoneration.

I’m so tired of all of this, the constant breaking news because there’s never a day in which something else stupid or illegal or evil happens. How did our country get to this point? But more importantly, why aren’t more people upset? I truly don’t understand. No, not everyone out there gives a whit about politics, but this is our entire system of government, people. This is our Constitution being blatantly ignored, and need I remind everyone that democracies die in countries all of the time, and the U.S. is not immune, no matter how superior we all feel to the rest of the world.

“We heard of nights lit
with lightning bugs and cigarettes. With rumflame
and tonguefire. We needed none of it. The nights were
black puzzleboxes and we solved them. It was easy—
in the darkness, our minds sparked like flint.” ~ Catherine Pierce, from “The Geek Girls”

And now for something completely different . . . (I really miss Monty Python).

Last night Bill Maher made a Carpenters’ reference, and very few people in the audience got it. As the Dump would say, “sad.” You know that you are aging when you make cultural references that no one else in the room understand and/or appreciates.

Anyway . . . Corey bought me a small bottle of Maker’s Mark a few weeks ago, and I’ve been parceling it out like it’s gold, which it is actually akin to, considering the cost. I’ve just been having a weird craving for bourbon the last few months; it’s especially weird as I rarely drink any more, probably more as a reaction to being around a drunken Dallas.

Who knows. Certainly not I. But there really was a point to this: Even though the driveway is still in precarious shape because of the section that washed out, Corey met Dallas coming up the driveway yesterday pulling the horse trailer with the tractor. He (Dallas, not Corey) was sloppy drunk and talking about loading Sassy in the trailer and what he’d do to her if she wouldn’t get inside. Corey reminded him that the driveway was damaged, and actually convinced Dallas to turn around.

There was a lot more to the episode, but I just don’t want to get into it. Suffice it to say that Corey locked on of the gates on the driveway, which is good as Dallas actually came back up the drive after Corey left, and if Dallas had made it all the way here and tried to scare Sassy into the trailer, I’m really not sure how I would have reacted. As it was, Corey’s retelling of everything left me shaken. I’m really beginning to hate a lot of what is going on around here, the constant threats of lawsuits, and jail and violence, even though we’re not actually in the midst of it. But we’re close enough that it’s affecting us.

I had wanted to get away from people, away from neighbors, but I suppose you truly cannot get away from such things unless you are physically unreachable. I mean, we’re pretty isolated on our property, but these people can still reach us. Several years ago I wrote a post about hermits and hermitages; I remember it fondly. The irony is that when Corey first met Dallas, we thought that it was so great to have a contact who knew everyone and knew a lot about our property. That boon has become my bane.

Ah me . . . I just need to spend more time writing and practicing my piano, more said than done.

More later. Peace.

*All images are taken from the short movie Elephant’s Dream, which is the world’s first open movie, made entirely using open source graphics software and presented under a Creative Commons license. To see more images or to watch the movie, go to Blender Foundation | www.blender.org

Music by Disturbed (yes, again), “Sound of Silence”


Falling Water (section one)

I drove to Oak Park, took two tours,
And looked at some of the houses.
I took the long way back along the lake.
The place that I came home to—a cavernous
Apartment on the East Side of Milwaukee—
Seems basically a part of that tradition,
With the same admixture of expansion and restraint:
The space takes off, yet leaves behind a nagging
Feeling of confinement, with the disconcerting sense
That while the superficial conflicts got resolved,
The underlying tensions brought to equilibrium,
It isn’t yet a place in which I feel that I can live.
Imagine someone reading. Contemplate a man
Oblivious to his settings, and then a distant person
Standing in an ordinary room, hemmed in by limitations,
Yet possessed by the illusion of an individual life
That blooms within its own mysterious enclosure,
In a solitary space in which the soul can breathe
And where the heart can stay—not by discovering it,
But by creating it, by giving it a self-sustaining
Atmosphere of depth, both in the architecture,
And in the unconstructed life that it contains.
In a late and very brief remark, Freud speculates
That space is the projection of a “psychic apparatus”
Which remains almost entirely oblivious to itself;
And Wright extols “that primitive sense of shelter”
Which can turn a house into a refuge from despair.
I wish that time could bring the future back again
And let me see things as they used to seem to me
Before I found myself alone, in an emancipated state—
Alone and free and filled with cares about tomorrow.
There used to be a logic in the way time passed
That made it flow directly towards an underlying space
Where all the minor, individual lives converged.
The moments borrowed their perceptions from the past
And bathed the future in a soft, familiar light
I remembered from home, and which has faded.
And the voices get supplanted by the rain,
The nights seem colder, and the angel in the mind
That used to sing to me beneath the wide suburban sky
Turns into dreamwork and dissolves into the air,
While in its place a kind of monument appears,
Magnificent in isolation, compromised by proximity
And standing in a small and singular expanse—
As though the years had been a pretext for reflection,
And my life had been a phase of disenchantment—
As the faces that I cherished gradually withdraw,
The reassuring settings slowly melt away,
And what remains is just a sense of getting older.
In a variation of the parable, the pure of heart
Descend into a kingdom that they never wanted
And refused to see. The homely notions of the good,
The quaint ideas of perfection swept away like
Adolescent fictions as the real forms of life
Deteriorate with manically increasing speed,
The kind man wakes into a quiet dream of shelter,
And the serenity it brings—not in reflection,
But in the paralyzing fear of being mistaken,
Of losing everything, of acquiescing in the
Obvious approach (the house shaped like a box;
The life that can’t accommodate another’s)—
As the heart shrinks down to tiny, local things.

~ John Koethe (rest of the poem here)

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“My soul is impatient with itself, as with a bothersome child; its restlessness keeps growing and is forever the same. Everything interests me, but nothing holds me. I attend to everything, dreaming all the while.” ~ Fernando Pessoa

“Fields” by Kasimir Malevich (oil on canvas)  

“I was so scared to give up depression, fearing that somehow the worst part of me was actually all of me. ” ~ Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

Feeling rather mellow today. The feeling that I have been strung too tightly is finally beginning to recede, due in large part to being able to take my Cymbalta again.  

Rapeseed Fields in Qinghai, China

Years ago, when a doctor first tried to put me on antidepressants, I fought him tooth and nail, as it were. I remember telling him that I wouldn’t be me without all of the intense highs and lows, that I did not want to be medicated all of my life. He told me that I may or may not have to stay on medication for the rest of my life.  

Two times I have tried to go off antidepressants, both times taking myself off cold turkey. I remember vividly the first time that I did this was after my ex had left, and I found out that my daughter was going to be put on antidepressants. I felt so consumed with guilt that she had inherited this condition from me that I wanted to show her that it would be possible not to be on medication. I also thought that if I were off the medication that I would be able to think more clearly.  

Boy was I wrong. I crashed very, very badly, but hid it from everyone. My preoccupation with my daughter’s illness overshadowed any thoughts of taking care of myself. What I realized, though, was that I could not take care of her if I was not able to take care of myself.  

The other time I stopped taking my medication on my own was when someone close to me told me that I shouldn’t be relying on medication, that it was creating a false sense of security. Again, I stopped cold, and stayed off for several months. But the fact is that I need medication. I have a chemical, biological need, which is nothing of which I should be ashamed.  Now that I know this and have accepted it, I do not like to be off my medication as it does affect me adversely. I become very snappish, bitchier than usual, and cry at the drop of a hat.  

Why should I live like that when there is a medication that evens out my extreme highs and lows and allows me to live like those in the world who do not suffer from depression? And so after a few days of being back on, I can already feel my body begin to shift. I do not feel like a violin string too taughtly wound, ready to break if touched in the wrong way.  

“All melody is a sweet echo, as it were coincident with [the] movement of our organs. We wake the echo of the place we are in, its lumbering music.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Fields of West Flanders, Belgium

It’s very quiet here today. It’s been raining steadily since early morning, and the temperature has risen to the 50’s, which is a nice change. undoubtedly we will have more cold weather, but I am hoping that the worst of it is gone. We usually have at least one cold snap in February and another in March.  

Brett is spending some time at his friend Gordon’s house, which always does him good. He and Gordon have been friends since childhood, which is interesting since Gordon’s father and I have known each other since grade school. Yes, life is cyclic.  

Brett and I have been talking about college. It’s late in the year to be applying, but he is still unsettled as to what he should do. He is very interested in astronomy, but not many universities offer degrees in astronomy or astrophysics. The reality is that he will probably have to do his first year at ODU and then transfer. It’s probably going to take us a year—at a minimum—to get back on our feet after Corey starts back to work.  

Brett’s interests are diverse: He wants to study astronomy, but he is also interested in creative writing. I really have no idea where he will end up, but I hope that he sticks with the plan to go to college. Eamonn began classes last week, and so far, no problems. I think that perhaps all of my children may take longer to find their individual paths, but that’s all right.  

“In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

So last night, I managed to fall asleep before 3 in the morning. What a breakthrough. I never thought that I would get to a point in my life when falling asleep in the middle of the night felt like something to celebrate, but there you have it. The downside is that I think I was probably able to fall asleep earlier because I had to take Phenergan for my nausea twice last night.  

Field of Sunflowers in the Loire Valley, France

My body clock is so backwards. I sleep the soundest in the two hours after noon. Only then, it seems, do the dogs settle into a deep sleep, and only then am I able to sleep without fits and starts, a constant awakening after only 45 minutes. If only I could turn that around so that my deepest sleep occurred at the precise moment when I have lately found myself trying to capture sleep.  

I suppose that this, too, shall find its way back to normal at some point as long as I do not fret about it too much.  

That’s about all for now. In recent days I have been suffering from bouts of unexpected nausea again, hence, the Phenergan. Corey thinks that I’m developing an eating disorder. What he fails to realize is that I abhor throwing up, absolutely abhor it. That is why I know that I will never be bulimic. Nevertheless, not sure where this nausea is coming from, so I suppose I need to make that long overdue appointment with my gastroenterologist, that along with my long overdue, breast-smashing mammogram.  

Oh joy. I’ll leave you with a passage from a writer/poet who I am very late in discovering, Alejandra Piznarik, a Russian émigré to Buenos Aires. She lived to be only 36, but what I have read so far is passionate and beautiful. I want to read more of her, but I am going to either have to learn to translate Spanish, or find more of her work in translation:  

I change the colour of paper, the colour of ink. I write laughing. I write to ward off coldness and fear. I write in vain. Silence has corroded me: some poems remain like a dead person’s bones that chisel into my frightened nights. The meaning of the most obvious word has been lost. I still write. I still throw myself urgently to narrate states of astonishment and rage. A very slight pressure, a new recognition of what’s stalking you, and you will no longer write. We’re just a few steps from an eternity of silence.  

More later. Peace.  

“Fields of Gold” by Sting, appropriate for a mellow evening.