Dream I was scuba diving with friends and we had stayed underwater so long that our eyes had adjusted to the dark and our skin had adjusted to the cold, and it took someone from above, who had just come down below, to remind us that somewhere else there were bright warm places and we didn’t have to sit on the sea floor, holding our parties there.
Then of smoking with the same friends on a beach resort at night, and someone offered a drink but I didn’t take it.
And then wanting to leave, being ready to move on, in some ways, but there was a dumpster full of old junk I had forgotten to sort, and visions of my childhood room in Philadelphia, with all my stuff still in it, and more. And everyone was willing to help, but I had all this stuff to go through, old cassettes, VHS tapes, and zillions of scraps of paper with writing on them, that I was going to have to scan and throw away if I would have any chance of moving on, of being able to travel lightly.
Had a dream that you were driving, and the road didn’t go where we thought but it took us instead to a beautiful tundra landscape, with amazing little rocks and lichen and brown grass. And built into the landscape, well-camouflaged and honoring the nature there, was an airport…
Dream my family was on vacation and in the town we were visiting there was this must-see church. We went there and the courtyard was the size of a castle keep. There were ancient ruins, stone statues, incredible architecture from an earlier age. But that part of the church was kept as a museum. They didn’t use it for their worship. Even though the sanctuary had beautiful stained glass and the weight of time behind it, they kept it roped off and gave tours before and after their worship. And their worship was farce. It was pretend, it was chaotic, it was speaking in tongues. The ritual was confusing. The bulletin was incredibly complex, such that when you opened it multiple inserts fell out, and within the scope of a single reading you had to refer to multiple pieces of paper. The locals thought this was all normal. Even the seats we sat in, in their newly-constructed, cheap sanctuary, were metal folding chairs. Some of my family were able to follow along with the service and some were not.
This (with help from a wise advisor) is about seeking god in the world, about seeking light. About being able to see the beauty in an imperfect past, a family past, a personal past, that has the weight of time and is indisputably part of the present even though it lies in ruins. About my need to not throw away the past completely, and to deal with it before pretending to move on—even though some of those in my past are unwilling to do this with me. And about not being able to—even though I want to—worship with some of those friends and family and collaborators who have built their present upon a foundation that denies the past. That I am someone who not only seeks the light, but wants other people to find it. And about how, even though I wish no ill to those who have chosen a cheaper and more barren path, that the reality is that we can no longer worship together.
And even though, to everyone’s opinion, the pictures were coming out great, the bride wanted to argue that someone like me (who washed his hair with a certain type of grease, who shaved in a certain way, etc.) wasn’t the person who would think like she wanted her wedding photographer to think. We took some indoor pictures, then she decided she wanted to take some outdoor pictures. Instead of simply moving outside, however, she wanted to argue about why I hadn’t started us taking pictures outside. Even my assistant joined in the bickering, and photographic progress stopped.
And, previously, that I responded to a friend’s call for help on a project, and that I responded to the broad requirement of the situation with a product (it was writing in this case, for a service). My product was good…it was better than this friend could have done on his own. But his response was, not to use what I’d done, not to collaborate, not even to steal what I had given him…but rather to stop talking to me, to close his door and vainly attempt to, by himself, best what I had done…which given this particular person, at this particular task, I knew was futile. The thing that I didn’t like about the situation didn’t have anything to do (from my point of view) with skill and shame and sensibility…I didn’t like that he stopped talking to me, because I was trying to be his friend. But I could do that and he couldn’t…and it has to go both ways.
Then I had gone out shopping, and was still wearing my lifejacket from the pool, with a tshirt over it. I didn’t know whether to wear the tshirt or the lifejacket. And then it started snowing, a blizzard. Who needs a lifejacket in a snowstorm?
That’s what I am. I’m a lifejacket in a snowstorm. That’s how I feel sometimes. And no one needs a lifejacket in a snowstorm. Except, to me, this isn’t a snowstorm. In my life, to my perception, we’re at the pool, we’re at the beach, we’re in the warm ocean. And I’m dressed for that. I bring, in myself, what is appropriate for that. But some of these people I think I’m at the beach with…to them, we’re in a snowstorm. That’s why our approaches are mismatched.
Felt comfortable, natural. If people wanted to talk to me, they had to pull me down momentarily, then we could speak. Then I would float back up to my normal elevation.
Thank you to people who have given me comments on my book. I’m appreciative for the feedback and it’s encouraging to me. I haven’t been writing. I’ve been watching Olympics and playing Wii golf and making things in C. I’m not sure what I’m going to keep doing. I’m feeling pretty reflective tonight. I’m cultivating a certain mood. One day aside, this last month has been extremely balanced, which is no accident and does not come easily to me. I’m going to be an uncle in a few months. I want to be a good uncle. I want to be loving and present but only in ways that are desired. I’m tired of being angry with people. I think that I’m at a place in my life where I still think that, if people are to be measured, that there is a lot of suckage going on, in me and others. But I’m tired of measuring it because I don’t like the way it makes me feel. That doesn’t mean that stuff doesn’t suck when measured, it doesn’t mean that. All it means is I’m no longer measuring. Is this the fatality of growing older? I don’t think it is exactly. This is a release, and a surrender. You could call it a sadness except it without the emotion of sadness…it is a loss, an intented loss, a desired loss, a calculated loss. What I want now—what I want in a day—is balance, simplicity, and, essentially, art. I want the art of washing dishes, the art of shoveling snow. I want the art of writing and reading and reflecting and programming and building and creating things, and talking with the people who make sense to me, who are cut from the same fabric as me. I’m not sincerely interested in impressing other people, I have found, at 32. Psychologically, that’s not my real need. In domains where I have made half-steps because I was only in it up to the point where I proved that I could accomplish whatever end, that was about showing myself that my belief in me was well-founded. I don’t have to do that now…because I have over and over successfully proven to myself that I can do x,y,z…and I have over and over found that proof to be ultimately unassuaging. It doesn’t mean what I thought it would mean. I think I am now free to play. Everything I said was shit, was shit. I was as right about all that stuff as it’s possible for a person to be right. But it doesn’t make me feel good. This doesn’t fix anything. The world really is in a terrible shape. Parts of it are in wonderful shape. A lot of it is in terrible shape. That is all true. But I don’t feel like I will try to fix it. That is not, before anyone suggests it, some attitude that represents maturation or mellowing or growing up. There is a distinction between pessimism, apathy, defeatism, and yet still between self-care. I will never give up on the world. I also won’t delude myself about its state. What I will do, what I am doing, is—while I’m adding to it in the couple of ways I know how—I am drawing inward, letting a shore buffer me from that crazy world that I love and that, as best I can, I make things for. I have dreams that dogs I love are biting me. That imagery fits here. For some, the advice is not to bite the hand that feeds you. Right now, for me, it’s to protect your hand from the mouth of the dog you love.