Friday, December 14, 2007

2 AM

Yep, up at 2 AM, working on the Neil Gaiman book...

Marge and I nodded out around 9:30 PM. We did so after a day of work for both of us, an afternoon of heavy snowfall -- and inch an hour! Via dumb luck, I got home from my CCS teaching for Thursday around 3 PM, tired one shot at climbing our driveway (unsuccessfully) and then had to completely scrape the driveway down with my trusty shovel to get my car up to our garage (said driveway is paved, but steep and buttery snow/slush is a climb-killer; knowing the storm was coming, I laid out a top-to-bottom ripple of road salt to make the shoveling easier and more immediately effective mid-storm). As luck would have it, Marge's car came cruising up our road just as I was turning around in our neighbor's oh-so-enviable flat driveway. So, we both easily made the climb to the garage, and were home together after only three of the eventually 6 inches of snow we have to this point had fallen. A blessing.

Actually, we conked out for the night after a modest dinner (soup and garlic bread) and pleasant evening and after enjoying the Seymour Hicks 1935 British A Christmas Carol aka Scrooge. It's one of the lowest-budget of all theatrical Dickens, but a treat thanks to Hicks and the actor who plays Bob Cratchit, but that's neither here nor there -- it's part of Marge's seasonal Christmas movie viewing ritualistic lineup, and I went for the ride with her merrily. Alas, Bob Clark's Black Christmas isn't part of Marge's lineup; I'll have to watch that alone this year, now that Danny's long out of the nest. Sigh.

Anyway, we went to sleep. Drifted off around 9:30 PM, with Tuco sidling up between us (he loves to sleep up by our shoulders; we often wake up with his head or paws on one or both of us). Off to Sandland, folks.

My dreams, though, began to circle the same sort of scruffy dream-locations -- Marge and I living comfortably, but surrounding by encroaching industrial squalor; I wander off our property to a neighboring abandoned house/structure, again and again, in different dreams, one following another, each ending with increasingly discomforting "I'm stranded in an abandoned house/room/basement" scenario --

Last dream I remember from tonight:

Marge and I are living, later in life, in a ranch-style house stranded in what has become an industrial stretch of Vermont road. I walk out our back door and wander up our lawn to look down at the gas station nearest us, just north, as a second life-size animatronic fiberglass dinosaur -- a goofy, cartoony Apatosaurus ("Brontosaurus" to you old-timers) -- is delivered. As the crane lowers it into position, I take in the whole expanse: shit, we used to live in such a nice, secluded neck of the woods. It's all built up now: gas stations, convenience stores, some sort of industrial park, a procession of self-storage acre-eating facilities. Ah, shit.

All that remains to us is a now-oddly shaped patch of about two acres I'm now standing on, which connects to a now-abandoned structure behind our acreage. Despondent at the sprawl surrounding us, despite the cool pair of giant fiberglass dinosaurs, I decide to go and see if I can still access the abandoned house. The guy closest to my age who used to frequent the property was comfortable with my using it as a studio once, and I'd left some of my stuff there with his permission. I make my way to the place -- no lights, but the door is unlocked. I go in and start poking around, a little uncomfortable.

As I do so, it's evident that everything once here is long gone. Even the walls are stripped of wallpaper, and it looks like somebody has partied here in recent times: bottles, a stained mattress, a little bit of garbage, even 'old sex' smell in one grimy room. I continue until I'm heading down into the cellar, which has an odd rippled-glass ceiling and narrow stairway.

I go down the stairs, tentatively, and look around in the half-light. Even the furnace is gone, it's just bare cement flooring and roughhewn walls. I realize, now even more uncomfortable, I can't go back up the stairs: the entry seems to have merged with the glass ceiling, and there's no way up back to the main floor! Hmmm, can I make it through one of the narrow little windows to the lawn?

A light streams in the window I'm looking at as I weigh my option -- headlights. Who's here? And how will they cotton to my being here -- ??

As I say, these patterns of dreams had circled variations on this kind of 'stuck in urban sprawl/stuck in a room in an abandoned structure' scenario all through my sleeping, and this finale -- the headlights, the rush of claustrophobia and not wanting to be found, trapped, in the cellar -- was the last straw. Fuck it, I want out of this dreamspace for the night!

I woke myself up, made myself lurch to the bathroom, then decided to just get up and work on the book project for a few hours before returning to sleep... after all, the book project is, in my waking life, arguably the 'abandoned housing project' I'm wandering in (till we're done): exploring someone else's (in this case, Neil's) "houses" is preoccupying my days. The anxiety over "an old neighbor about my age" is likely tied to the need to bother Neil with some last-minute questions for the book, and ongoing attempts to contact old cronies, also for the book. I feel like a pest, an interloper in this process. Neil's away writing, he doesn't want to be bothered -- and I don't know if these old friends want to hear from me after all these years -- so, dreams.
Of old houses.
Not wanting to be 'found' -- you get the idea.

So, wake fully, engage, work, get sleepy, find a new dream space. It usually works (welcome to the writing life)...

...and, yes, the shoveling of soft powder snow lays ahead of me once daylight arrives.

I look forward to it.

An addendum to yesterday's post (corrections have been made to the post itself, below):

1. Adam Silver of the Brattleboro VT-based Asian Cultural Center wrote me to point out that I -- well, actually, he -- got one thing wrong in yesterday's post: "One date correction: The Rumi Sema (last item in what you put in) is SUNDAY the 16th, not Friday. Mea culpa." Thanks, Adam!

  • 2. This is the link to the Asian Cultural Center site, hosts of the upcoming Godzilla dinner, etc. -- check it out. I didn't have this in reach when I posted yesterday, apologies.

  • Bon appetit!

    Have a flatulent Friday!

    Labels: , , , , , , ,