Sunday, September 30, 2012

Unwrapping a foil-covered pony

I've been having wild dreams for months now, with surges of dream activity that last about a week. I'm in one now. Last night, it was like dreams were fighting for attention. I'd shake one off and another would immediately form. I woke up at one point in the night and became conscious enough to remember about a dozen dreams. I thought by thinking about them for a moment, I might remember them all.

Nah. Most of them faded back to wherever it is forgotten dreams go (and I bet it's crowded there), but I do recall a few dreams and snippets of dreams. In one, there was a pony wrapped in aluminum foil nuzzling my hand. I could feel the warmth and moisture from his mouth somehow, even through the foil. He seemed content, but I couldn't help think that being covered in foil would harm him (duh!), so I decided to unwrap him right away. He was very trusting as I did so, and I wondered if he'd trusted the person who did this to him as well, and that made me angry and a little sad.

Then in one long dream, a psychotic Asian man entered my house through a window and was forcing me to make stew. ??? Yeah, figure that one out. I can't remember what it was he threatened to do if I didn't make the stew, but he looked like he meant business. As scary as this dude was to begin with, he mellowed throughout the dream and ended up teaching me to make stew instead of forcing me to do it. And no, I don't remember the recipe.

I've mentioned on this blog that I rarely have nightmares where I'm in danger or scared, but I had a good and creepy one last night. It started with a very odd situation and got worse. Our dog Tripp had a tongue like a frog's, and I watched as he caught flies that were buzzing against a wall. He kept shooting out that tongue, stabbing and stabbing at the flies, but then they congregated near an electrical outlet, and I became afraid that long, thin, wet tongue would hit an outlet and electrocute Tripp.

I went to stop him and felt something all over my face and head. I'd walked into an enormous spider web, and it was loaded with spiders and their prey. I reached up and found the web was all tangled in (what there is of) my hair. I pulled basketball-sized globs of web (with little black, squirming things in it) off my head, but I could still feel it, and I'd pull off more and more. I glanced in a mirror, and it looked like I had a thick wild mane of hair that hung past my shoulders, but it was all spider webs.

Then my father came around a corner. His eyes got wide at seeing me, but then I remembered he was dead, and the dream evaporated.

Actually, my father made several appearances last night. I don't remember all the details this morning, but his appearance kept breaking apart the dreams. I was certainly glad to see him during the spider web dream. More than ten years after his death, and he's still helping me out. Thanks, Dad.

A nice benefit of having all these dreams is that, with my imagination so engaged during the night, I woke with an idea for a little Halloween story I need to write about a pumpkin lady. And now I'm off to check Tripp's tongue, and you got to know I'll be watching for spider webs today.

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Final Vision" on the near horizon

I put some finishing touches on a short story this past week, sent it off to Casa de Snapdragon Publishing, and look forward to seeing it in print soon. "Final Vision" is about an electrician who can see the future, longs for the past, and needs the present. I wrote it especially for a collection of short stories by Janet K. Brennan, because...wait for it...I'm the guest author in her upcoming collection. WooHoo!

Janet is a prominent writer, poet, publisher, and reviewer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We knew each other casually when I lived in Albuquerque, and the power of the internet allowed us to stay in touch after I moved to Tucson. Early this year, Janet had just finished reading my novel Above Haldis Notch, and I was engrossed in her autobiographical novel A Dance in the Woods, when I had a dream about a picture of a cottonwood tree proudly wearing its fall colors. In the dream, the picture created a bond between Janet and I. I wrote Janet about the dream. One thing led to another, which led to this short story being included in her upcoming collection, Tango Sunday. And yes, there's a significant scene involving a cottonwood tree wearing fall colors in my story.

The picture in my recent dream was a real one from my distant past. I took it at Lake Tanglewood, outside of Amarillo, Texas, back in the mid 70s. I remember it clearly. One crisp fall day on my morning drive into town, I saw the tree glowing gold in the morning sun, and I actually pulled over to appreciate the scene. I've never been a shutterbug, but the next morning, I had a camera beside me in the car, and when I rounded the corner, the early morning sunlight was making the cottonwood tree glow even brighter than before. I pulled over again and took a picture. It came out great, and I kept it for many years.

I should point out that the picture posted is of a cottonwood showing off its fall colors, but it isn't that picture or that tree or that setting. That picture's gone now. I looked and looked for it, but I just don't have it any longer. Durn. That's a shame, but it clearly made a strong impression on me to be popping up in my dreams 37 years later.

Thanks tree. And thanks Janet Brennan for suggesting I turn that dream into a story and for publishing it in the fine company of her stories.

Hmm. That old cottonwood tree made an impression, which resulted in a picture, which strengthened a memory, which worked its way into a dream, and now it's making another transformation into a short story that's about to be released for public consumption. Maybe I should have titled this post "Recycling Your Inspiration."