“Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes when I cannot find my focus in order to post, I visit certain blogs to see if I can find inspiration. One such blog is Luke Storms’ blog, Crashingly Beautiul, which Storms calls his commonplace book, a collection of images and words. Very often, I will find the perfect quote which makes my thoughts begin to move in many different directions, allowing me to find the path that I wish to take to fill my empty page.
This post is a good example of my use of that particular creative process. For example, although I have read a lot of Emerson, the quote above is not one with which I am readily familiar. I thought that the image of many-colored lenses would be a good starting point for today.
It’s not that I don’t know what to say today, but more that I have so many things to say, and I don’t know how to make my thoughts slow enough to translate them into a post. Where do I start?
Probably with the most pressing concern: my mother is angry with me again, and I have no idea as to why. Today, Corey opened the front door to find a small box containing some odd things, and a dress bag containing my daughter’s first prom dress. All of these things were at my mother’s house. For some reason, she left them on my porch. No explanations. No note. Nothing.
She contends that she isn’t upset but claims that I asked for these things. I did not. They are a diverse collection: a miniature tea set that I bought at a flea market when I was a child. As it turned out, the tea set is an antique. Also in the box: A mother’s day plate that I gave my mother over 20 years ago, two figurines that are chipped and worth nothing. A couple of decorative plates that I bought for my mother’s kitchen years ago, a Waterford crystal swan that I won in a contest when I was the Homestore Manager at Dillard’s, and my daughter’s old prom dress. Oh, and the fax machine.
If I am supposed to be able to ascertain the meaning behind these items, I cannot. My mother said that she is giving us the fax machine because she is having her telephone disconnected because no one calls her except for telemarketers. All rightie then. She also said that she is cleaning out her house so that she can sell it and move into an apartment. I cannot begin to count the number of times that she has said this before.
“All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.” ~ William Faulkner
Alexis called me this afternoon, and after speaking for about ten minutes, she told me that she had lost her job. I was afraid that this would happen once her medical tests came back without any specific disorder. Turns out she overslept again and went into work late. They terminated her with cause, which means that she cannot collect unemployment.
This is, obviously, terrible. I told her that I thought that perhaps she was oversleeping because she hated her job so much, kind of a self-fulfilling prophesy. I just don’t know. I have been worried for months that she would lose her job because of her erratic attendance. I don’t want to be like my own mother by just commenting on the negative all of the time, so I tried very hard not to let on as to how upset I was. After all, she is a grown woman with her own life. I can only fear for her so as not to interfere.
She really wants to work as a bank teller. That’s something that she has wanted to do for years. Unfortunately, she has no bank contacts. I know that she could actually be very good as a teller as she is very careful with money and very honest. I really think that if she liked her job better, then she would be more reliable as far as the oversleeping goes.
I know too well how hard it is to pull yourself out of bed when the place that you are going to is filled with stress. If only I still had that magical ability that all mothers have when their children are small, when mommy kisses are magic, and the monsters and goblins cannot come in because mom has all of the power to keep the bad at bay. But that’s not how life really is, unfortunately, and mothers lose their omnipotence right about the time when their children begin to have best friends who are so much more interesting than their mommies.
So my mother is acting strange, and my daughter is now unemployed. Life just keeps getting better and better.
“What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant.”~ David Foster Wallace
I haven’t really had the energy to post in the past two days. I am suffering from furious bouts of chills. I called my doctor’s office to see if perhaps my symptoms might be hormonal. The nurse said that it could be my thyroid. Just had that tested and already on medication for that. So no, not the thyroid. My fibromyalgia, but of course, because that particular disorder is so non-specific, there is no definitive way of knowing if the chills are related.
I suppose that I should be thankful that I’m not having hot flashes, but this chills thing is pretty disconcerting. It’s warm and sunny outside, and I’m wearing sweats and long-sleeved shirts and sitting with a blanket around me. My body is so messed up. I do appear to be losing a little weight, but I think that that’s probably just a result of the lack of snack food in the house. I’m not big on sandwiches. We have a few things in the freezer, but mostly, I still eat the one meal a day. I really don’t eat much, which is why I have no idea as to why I can’t lose weight. Whatever.
Corey’s last two shifts at work were cancelled because of the ship’s schedule, but he’s on the schedule for four more shifts. Here’s hoping that everything is in place for him to work. If the ship is loaded sooner than expected, it leaves early, which cancels the need for anyone to stand watch. This is what happened for yesterday and today.
Other than those tidbits, not too much going on around here. Actually, it’s probably better that nothing else is going on because chances are good that anything else would land jam-side down in the dirt. In other words, not good. We’ll just go with what we have, shall we?
“Lost in a dream of mirrors. Lost in a paradox.” ~ “Dream of Mirrors”* (Iron Maiden)
“A reflected dream of captured time . . .”
As I’m sitting here, staring at the blinking cursor, I could swear that it’s mocking me: You cannot write. You cannot write. Ha ha ha . . .
I know, I do have a habit of personifying inanimate objects quite often, but I’m certain that it’s because my mind works on the same plane as those very objects that I personify. In other words, I understand the cursor, the mouse, the keyboard in the same way that I know what my dogs are saying.
Trust me. It’s a special gift—being this in touch with non-living, objects. Notice I did not say non-sentient? That’s because these little buggers are sentient (I don’t care what you think Bruce Hood; this is my special kind of Supersense). For example, the mouse knows precisely when to act up: When I am exhausted and having a hard time editing myself. The keyboard knows exactly when to shift the keys one place over: When I am on a roll and not paying attention to the screen so that once I finally look up, I have 20 lines of gibberish.
It’s a conspiracy, I tell you. And I think that the ceiling fan may be in on it as well. By the way, the dogs are laughing at me.
“Have you ever felt the future is the past, but you don’t know how?”
Of course, you are probably sitting there thinking, ‘She’s sounding pretty strange today. Stranger than usual, that is.’ Well you’d be acting strangely too if you had the dream that I had last night. It was filled with confrontation, religious symbolism, a non-working right leg, a professor who turned on me in class, and a red-headed woman who was out to get me. Trust me, all of that trying to escape, falling off a metal bleacher and landing inside a church: That takes a toll on a person’s psyche.
Nevertheless, the actual reason for this post is that David Bridgerposted an interesting meme: Describe the most interesting dream you have ever had, or the dream that you simply cannot forget. I have quite a few, but there is one in particular that really sticks with me because it did not feel like a dream. It felt like a memory.
Now we all know about my Buddhist tendencies to believe in reincarnation: You keep coming back until you get it right. Well this particular dream felt so real, so linear and complete that when I told Corey about it, I also mentioned that I thought that it was more of a memory than a dream.
Okay, for you non-believers out there, just go with the flow. I mean the whole reincarnation thing has always troubled me because I fear coming back as a cockroach; however as someone pointed out to me, coming back as a cockroach would not be so bad because someone would step on you or poison you, which would end that particular incarnation, and then you would be able to come back as something better, that is unless being a cockroach is your final destination, in which case, we really don’t want to ponder that too much.
Moving on. I find it particularly hilarious that many people who claim to have had past lives declare that they were someone famous. How many people could have been Napoleon, or George Washington, or Marie Antoinette. Why is it that no one ever remembers being a scullery maid, or a blacksmith, or a fisherman?
(Just a note: You thought that the whole first section was a complete drop-in, something to fill space, but I had my motives: If I began this post with something completely nonsensical and outrageous, then by the time I got to reincarnation, it couldn’t possible phase you, and you’d just keep reading. (I do have my moments of lucidity within my insanity . . .))
“Have I dreamt this time, this place?”
Delusions of reincarnation grandeur. Too funny. But as usual, I digress. Getting back to my memory dream . . .
I am a young Japanese girl in Feudal Japan. My mother is a person of some importance in court, not a princess, but someone who is definitely of the upper class. I am wearing a white kimono that is covered with small cherry blossoms. In my child’s mind, I think that the kimono should not be white as that is the color for marriage. I wish that I could wear a fancy kimono like the ones that my mother wears, but I am too young.
My mother is trying to teach me how to paint my characters, specifically my name with small willows on a sprig as decoration. I keep trying, but I cannot get the page to look as beautiful as my mother’s.
In leaning over the paper, I spill some ink on my kimono. It is red ink even though I am drawing with black ink, and I think that the splatter looks like blood. My mother chastises me for being so clumsy, and leaves the room with her maid. I continue to work, but instead of drawing what I am supposed to be practicing, I draw the following image instead:
Japanese Memory Dream Image by L. Liwag
“And I think I’ve seen your face, seen this room, been in this place”
I draw this image repeatedly, trying to perfect it until an old man comes into the room. He is my tutor. He looks at what I am drawing and tells me to stop. For some reason, the image makes him uncomfortable. He tells me that I can learn how to draw my characters better if I practice drawing a small canoe first. He takes the brush, and in three easy strokes draws a canoe; then he adds fine lines and a bit of shadow that illustrate the water.
I tell him that I am not able to draw such a simple yet beautiful picture, but he instructs me to begin with the three lines of the canoe. I push aside the image from my mind that I have drawn over and over again, and I take a clean sheet of white paper. I dip the brush in the ink pot, and I draw the three lines. They look just like the old man’s canoe. He smiles at me and bows his head. I bow my head in reply.
The dream ends.
“Think I’ve heard your voice before, think I’ve said these words before”
In setting the action into words, it seems as if it is a very short dream. But the reality is that this dream or memory takes a long time. I begin the lessons with my mother in the early afternoon. I pursue the elusive image in my mind for several hours. By the time I finish the canoe, it is evening.
Things I remember about the dream: My mother’s hair is very beautiful, black and shiny. Her Kimono has very long sleeves or tamoto, that are trimmed in gold, and I wish that I were old enough to wear sleeves like my mother’s. My mother’s maid is short and not very attractive, and she gives me a dirty look when my mother says that I am clumsy. I know that she is trying to make my mother like her more. I shoot the maid a child’s dirty look, although my eyes are cast downward out of respect for my mother.
The red ink that I spill on my kimono spreads quickly like blood, leaving the bottom of my right sleeve, and a portion of the right side of my kimono saturated with the ink. I try to blot the ink with a piece of fabric, and I stick my fingers in water to try to rub out the ink . Someone, I don’t know whose voice it is, says that the ink will come out when the kimono is washed, but my mother scolds the person and says that the kimono, which is made of fine silk, is ruined now.
My tutor does not have a long mustache. He is thin, and he has brown leathery hands, and the bones are prominent. I think that he will not be able to draw well with such hands. My tutor has an assistant, a much younger man, who does nothing. He sits off to the side and drinks tea while the old man instructs me. I think that he is a lazy assistant and wish that I could spent more time with my tutor as I like him very much. He is not as stern as my mother, and he is very patient with me.
The room that I am in throughout the dream has long windows. At first, there is much sunlight streaming into the room. As the day wanes, I no longer notice the sunlight, but at some point my tutor lights the lanterns in the room. The floor is stone, and I am sitting on a large, red cushion. It has gold tassels on each corner.
“Have I found my destination?”
Now, I had this memory dream several weeks ago, but I still remember every detail, even though this is the first time that I have written about it. I do remember my dreams, but never with this much clarity.
The other very curious thing about this memory dream and reality is that for a very long time, since I was in my early 20’s, I have felt that there is something Japanese in me somewhere along the line. It’s not from my father’s side of the family. In fact, my father hated the Japanese, and for good reason. His village suffered horribly under Japanese rule during WWII.
Despite that, I have had this feeling that I have Japanese blood, and I wrote about it in a poem called “Blood Tracings.” I never told my father about my feelings; in fact, I have only told a few people over the years about this sense of heritage, but I have not thought about it in years.
And then this memory dream pervades my bedtime sojourns and leaves me feeling very disquieted.
“Am I still inside my dream? Is this a new reality”
Who’s to say if my dream means anything. It may just be my mind’s way of sifting through the detritus of the day, which is how I usually interpret my dreams. If there is a red-headed woman in my dream, it’s usually because I have seen a red-headed woman on television, or on a book flap (which was the case last night), or in person.
But this dream has nothing to do with anything I have thought about recently, nothing I have written about, nor anything that I have seen. It just came to me, and when I awoke, I was certain that it was a memory. I felt that way and still feel this way because of the effect that this memory dream has had on me: I think about it constantly; the details are still quite vivid, and when I awoke from the dream, I immediately said to Corey, “I just had the most curious memory.” Of course he was asleep at the time, so I had to remind him later.
If it was indeed a memory, then it was a good one. Aside from displeasing my mother, I enjoyed my creations with brush and ink. I cared little about my kimono being ruined, and the old man who was my tutor gave me a great deal of comfort. The room in which I was working was obviously the room that was dedicated to learning as there was the one larger desk with several brushes, and many cushions on the stone floor.
I know nothing about Japanese characters. I don’t think that the drawing that I created actually translates into anything. But if it does, I would love to know.
またあいましょ : ‘Mata aai masho’ or “Let us meet again.” Peace.
“The Japanese Bridge,” by Claude Monet
*All quotes in text subheadings are taken from Iron Maiden’s “Dream of Mirrors”
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