Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dreams and Downtime

Good morning friends and writers,

Yesterday we had a whopper of a snowstorm. It was glorious, mostly because I arranged to work from home all day and didn't have to worry about the awful driving conditions. Well over a foot fell and it's a good thing we covered up the woodpile on the porch, because it got buried! The drifts are several feet high in most areas.

We ended up having all three grandkids with us (imagine me trying to work on data with those monkeys around. It wasn't easy!) I threw together a crockpot beef stew early in the morning, and it was perfect for a snowy day's dinner.

I think I'm getting a bit burned out (who isn't these days?). I need to be home more, stoking the woodstove, or playing in the snow with the boys. I need to cook a good chowder, take some luscious photos, or go cross country skiing. And it's coming soon, because after this Wednesday I have eleven days off! Woo Hoo!

And I need to write. God, how I need to write.

I'm not talking about the painstaking edits I've been doing on Healey's Cave. I'm talking about creating scenes, the stuff that gets your heart pounding and gives you that unbelievable high. I'm talking about giving birth to new events in worlds over which I have control, with people I can manipulate behind the scenes to do just the right thing at the right time. That's what I need. A few nice chase scenes. Maybe a tender family moment. And definately some kid humor. Oh yeah.

I don't want to leave you short handed, of course. So I've dug up a piece I wrote long ago that most of you probably haven't read. It's about dreams, and how we sometimes cope with life through them.

So as you enjoy your own downtime and hopefully fulfill some of your own dreams, let me wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all. And remember to take pleasure in the little things!

Feel free to share your own dreams below - we'd love to hear about them.


Aaron Paul Lazar 2008

I overslept this morning. And it was lovely.

Usually, on Saturday mornings, I rise at 5:30 or 6:00 to write this article, review the early Writing Essential submissions, and prepare for the long morning of chair deliveries, errands, breakfast at George's Diner with my wife and grandsons, gardening, cooking the family feast, chair caning and - last but not least - a few hours of soul satisfying writing.

I needed the extra sleep this morning, having missed out the night before due to emotions aroused after attending a funeral of a friend's mom. I'm sure those of you who have lost loved ones know exactly what I mean. You may have gone to the funeral of someone you hardly knew. Perhaps you went to support a dear friend, as I did on Thursday. Did memories pour into your psyche as familiar hymns were sung and heartfelt stories were delivered? In this case, images of my father, grandparents, and departed friends flooded my brain. The funeral of my boss's daughter came to mind. His strength. His deep sorrow. The flow of memories was endless.
As these thoughts persisted throughout the day and evening, I tossed and turned Thursday night, and was exhausted all day Friday. But I slept until almost 8:00 (!) this morning, and woke feeling most rested after a night full of wild dreams.

The most vivid and overwhelming was that of a flood. Perhaps it was driven by images in the news of the floods that have ravaged several communities in recent weeks. Or maybe it was the overwhelming flood of emotions triggered by the funeral. Either way, the dream felt incredibly real.

In my twenties again, I floated into the scene at my wife's home in the country. I stood near the house, looking down to the barn. My first thought was to check on the horses. I raced (in that miraculous dream-like speed) to the stalls and found one horse. Oddly, I reconized Maggie, the mare I feature in my LeGarde Mysteries series. But her chestnut gelding companion, Diablo, was missing. Panic rose in my throat. Strangers appeared, asking me what was wrong. I searched the flooded fields and finally found him lying on his side in a shallow spot. I froze, then saw his ribs rise and fall. He was alive! Miraculously, I got him up and into the stall with Maggie. Questions filled my brain - how would I feed them? Where was the hay? The grain? Was it ruined by the water? In a flash, the scene switched.

Same locale. Same barn. Same flood. But now it was winter and most of the field was covered in ice. There! In the distance! A fellow I recognized as my cousin Dave flailed in the water. He'd broken through the ice and was drowning. I searched desperately for something to throw to him, something long and strong. I spotted the hose (why it was left out in winter, I'll never know!) and struggled in molasses like motion - as if held back by mysterious forces - toward the hose. I pulled and pulled on the green monstrosity, trying hard to free it from the ice. Dave was drowning, and I couldn't get the darned hose out of the ice pack.

Another flash, and suddenly someone else had rescued him. Even as relief washed through me, I remained rooted to the spot, feeling like a failure.

I think I know why this sense of powerless came through a dream. It has something to do with the inability to control events in my life. My friend's loss and deep sorrow. My daughter's neurological evaluation this week that has (hopefully) ruled out the MS from which my wife suffers. My own issues struggling with asthma. Life is full of these challenges, and sometimes our inability to "fix" them translates to a feeling of failure. Of course, in reality, the ability to withstand and face these ailments with grace translates to success. Success is not the right word, exactly, but I think you know what I mean.

The dream continued and I was able to join a posse of sorts on a floating barge. We searched and rescued many victims floating in the ocean of floodwaters that had overtaken their homes.


I don't know. But when it was all over and I woke to the sound of the birds and the luscious feeling of sun on my face, I felt satisfied. Really good inside. I guess I needed these imaginary acts of heroism to help me through the week to come. Who knows?

But it's fun to disect and analyze dreams, isn't it?

Okay, it's late now. I'm already off schedule for the chair deliveries, and the family is milling around me with impatience, ready to go. Thanks for the wonderful submissions this morning! I'll check back later to add in the new pieces.

Enjoy your weekend, be a hero to someone you love, and write like the wind!

- Aaron


Every Day Bloggers said...

We have only a few inches of snow. The thermometer outside doesn't show the temperature. The mercury is as low as it goes. Yes, I'm freezing.

It's bizarre that you should mention dreams because I had a dream last night that still has me reeling.

I was transported back to the farm I grew up on. I was sitting at the kitchen table talking to my dad, who's been gone since 1983. I explained to him that I had returned from the future. My dad never failed to give me 100% of his attention when I was relaying something I felt was important. He asked me some questions.

He was astonished when I told him his grandson was also a soldier, and he was fighting a war in the Middle East in a place called Afghanistan. In my dad's day, it was called The Soviet Union.

He was doubly shocked when I told him how much gas was, what we paid for a bottle of Crown Royal, and how much a new 4x4 went for.

He laughed when I said I was fifteen years older than him now.

When I told him I was married and lived on a lovely lake in central B.C., his beautiful blue eyes glazed over; I knew he was picturing himself sitting on our deck or fishing in our lake.

Then he asked me what I had hoped he wouldn't. "If you're 55, then I must be 81?"

At that point, I forced myself to wake up.

Every Day Bloggers said...

sorry, forgot I was signed in as Everyday bloggers. It's me Joylene.

s.w. vaughn said...

Hooray! You get a vacation! :-) I hope you get to write your heart out!

I had several weird and disjointed dreams early this morning and can't remember much of them, except one part where various family members (all of them alive and well) were packed into various sections of a cold food aisle in a grocery store.

That one was probably because it's very cold in my house right now.

orelukjp0 said...

We have a lot of snow. It's -5 outside with a wind chill of -29 degrees. Can we say real cold. My daughter in Las Vegas says she's cold as it will only be a high of 49 there today. I would love to be there. As I sit under two afghans on the chair, I dream of summer and warm temperatures. Maybe even being young and thin again, sitting pool side with a few hunks to admire.
Keep warm and have a Merry Christmas.

Marta Stephens said...

I'm sure I dream but I don't remember them any more--only on very rare occasions and then they fade. Coincidently, tomorrow's blogger draws from her dreams for her plot.

The weather? Oh brother, 45 miles per hour winds with a chill factor of minus 28 degrees below zero. It's been blowing like this since last night and now ... it's snowing. Anyone east of Indiana, it's coming your way.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Joylene - I loved hearing about your dream with your dad. You know, when my dad passed he "visited" me in dreams quite often, comforting me. I wonder if this was a real connection between you and your father. How detailed and rich it was. I loved reading about it, and picturing that discussion! Thank you so much for sharing, and God Bless!

SW - a cold food aisle?? LOL! That's too funny! Our house was freezing this morning, too. I let the woodstove die down at night on the mornings I need to clean it and it gets down to about 55 on the very coldest, windiest nights. It was about 10 outside when I got up.

Oreluk - good idea and nice dreams!!! Loved it!

Marta - I think part of the reason some folks don't remember their dreams is they don't get enough sleep, and you fall into that camp! I've known you to stay up til 1 in the morning when you had work early the next day. That's gotta be it!