On Dreams and Writing

Her love is heavenly, when her arms enfold me,
I hear a tender rhapsody; but in reality she doesn’t even know me.
Just my imagination once again runnin’ way with me.
Tell you it was just my imagination runnin’ away with me.
no, no, no, no, no, no, no, can’t forget her”—The Temptations
Lately much of what I have been writing about has involved dream in some form or another. In the early nineties when I was taking a graduate poetry workshop in Vermont, the instructor Carol Oles, as a possible assignment, wanted us to write about a dream we had. I said in class that I couldn’t remember my dreams, which was an obfuscation; because I could remember many of them, I just felt that most of them at the time were inappropriate, or too embarrassing to write about.  Yet, I did write about dreams quite a bit that semester. Carol commented on that about half-way through the summer, “For someone who can’t remember his dreams, you seem to write about them a lot.”  I didn’t say anything.  What I thought however was I don’t write about dreams, because I often have a hard time differentiating between waking and dreaming.  I didn’t say anything, because I felt if I did I would come off as a flake, some new age whacko, a stoner, another white westerner pretending to have some kind of eastern religious insight, or just another writer who never got over their adolescent fascination with Poe: a dream inside a dream, sigh. But it was true: I often had a hard time separating dream from reality, still do. 
Not that I don’t know when I am awake and interacting with the world. I guess most of my confusion occurs when I am thinking about events or conversations I have been a part of in the past. The past being defined as any time that is not the one I am currently in.  The event could have taken place an hour ago as easily as years ago. Did he really mean what he said in the way that he said it? How should I interpret that look? Did I say that or only think it?  Most of the time, I really don’t have too much of a problem with this; just when I start thinking too much. My training and natural proclivity toward analyzing text and language tends to throw me back into conversations or interactions I have been in, where I immediately begin to parse meaning out of air. I go through as many possible interpretations as I can come up with, often forgetting if what I think could or might have been said or done, actually was said or done.
Yet, to return to where I thought I was going with this bit of chatter, lately I have been writing about dreams, both the kind I wake up from in the morning, wisps of their world still hanging about me as I head downstairs to make coffee; and, the more delusional kind, where I think something is happening because my imagination makes meaning out of situations and conversations where no meaning exist. “Just my imagination, running away with me.” La-la-la-la. Of course I am as aware as one can be that it is just a delusion, or a dream that I am writing into, but I am interested at present to see what rises out of the mist of dreams. Writing about the world I am enmeshed in creates and changes that world. I am better able to see, and discover, the world I enter each day by writing it, and myself, into being. Or at least that is my current dream.

(January 2013)

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