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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Saturday, February 19

Dreams, Dreams, and More Dreams

Dreams are so peculiar. I don’t know if it goes with my advancing age or it’s just typical of Arizona climate, but I dream much more here than ever before. None of the dreams are nightmarish, none spooky or anxious. Just so very vivid and detailed.

Often I have basketball dreams in which I can jump higher than I ever could in real life. The court holds some fifteen to twenty players in a hodge podge pickup game. And I get lots of rebounds and put them back in. I don’t dream about playing any better than I did when I was actually playing, like making fantastic shots from everywhere. But I can jump. I still can’t dribble, but I can jump.

Another recurring element is flying without a plane. I guess I don’t really mean flying. More like levitating. I dream that I can keep my arms at my sides and then push down really hard with my palms and slowly rise in the air, never very far up, but quite obviously levitating from six inches to four or five feet up. And it’s such a pleasant, happy feeling. I’m always surprised than other people can’t do it.

Another element involves losing track of various used cars. I dream that I have two or three cars but that I’ve parked them in bad places and they always wind up getting stolen. The other night I even lost a golf cart when I went in to shop for groceries and came back out to find it gone.

Then there are my New York City dreams, and my driving dreams on nasty country roads, and my Missouri River dreams, and my secret passages and secret rooms dreams.

I used to have dreams about the Missouri River, where I’d be going there by car or running, going there to fish or just to see what was there. They almost always involved swampy stuff and weren’t pleasant dreams.

Another recurring motif is traveling to a big city, usually New York. I’d be staying somewhere west of the city and either driving in or taking a subway. They invariably involved my finding a department store to shop for books, and then stopping in a bar or lounge. Often I’d be driving back to where I was staying and would get lost in a bad section of the city. Never on foot, just driving around trying to find my way out. There are lots of variations on that theme.

The other main dream theme has to do with golf. Most of these dreams are frustrating because of the difficulty of the courses I seem to be on—tree-thick fairways, streams and gullies in the playing area, impossible chips or putts to cups behind concrete posts or deep trenches. Sometimes I have to hit a tee shot from inside a shed and I can never seem to get it teed where I have a free swing. Rarely, I have a golf dream where I shoot a really good round. I guess the majority of my golf dreams are negative, anxious, unsuccessful.

I know my secret passage dreams stem from my youth when we used to play at a friend’s house and crawl through a panel in his upstairs bathroom and out onto the rafters near the edges of his roof line. We could crawl along the house in perfect secrecy. And in another house where you could go into a closet in one bedroom and go through a small door into the closet of the bedroom next door. The thrill of it all.

Then, of course, there are the school dreams. I’ve been having them for forty years. Sometimes they’re good dreams about teaching various lessons in amazing detail, and the students are all involved. Then there are the bad ones in which the students don’t care a whit for what I’m teaching and they’re totally insubordinate. Oh, how I hate those dreams.

Several years ago, I had a long dream about taking a final in some college course I was enrolled in, something like a history course and there were very few students in it. The teacher handed out the tests and assigned us numbers and words to put at the top of the test. Most got numbers, but I got the word “who.” The test consisted of about five essays topics and we could take it anywhere we wanted to. I went to some room down the hall and began writing. Or trying to write. I suffered the same kind of paralysis I used to have when taking a timed test and I just couldn’t seem to get started. Time was just whipping by and I had only just begun my first essay. Oh, how painful the process. Trying to get thoughts down on paper but always aware of the clock. Finally, I just gave up and went back to turn in my unfinished test, knowing I would have failed the course. What a dumb dream. But how very accurate was the feeling of being paralyzed.

In another one, I was a student and not the teacher. In this one the teacher was really attractive and sexy and even though it was a test day she kept going around the room dancing and flirting with all the males. Finally, she got around to me. She told me to touch noses with her but that I should look only at her nose and not mine. We did that and then she very lightly put her lips against mine. And very slowly it turned into a full embrace and kiss that lasted a long time, during which I became aware that she was crying. I pulled away from her and tried to console her. I had the feeling she was crying because the kiss was so beautiful, so moving, and she’d intended it to be only silly. Now that’s a really silly dream.

As Hamlet soliloquized, “To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub; / For in that sleep of death what dreams may come / When we have shuffled off this mortal coil / Must give us pause.”

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