Thursday, March 28, 2013

Books, Dreams, and Other Things


Boy, this has been a tough week! Everything has been crazy and out of order. My car is dead in the yard. The battery keeps losing power. We tried to jump it off, but the following morning it was dead again. We don't think it's actually the battery. It looks like it's the wiring. Hubby's going to look at it for me, but he started his new job on Monday, and we're still adjusting to his new schedule. I have a paper due tomorrow, and I just settled on my thesis statement this afternoon. I also have a short story to finish asap. I started revising it last night, but didn't get very far before I had to call it off and go to bed. Thankfully, today was the last day of the school week for Mini. He's out of school until Tuesday, which will make it easier for me to catch up on some stuff I need to do, and to catch some much needed Zzz's.

[Takes a deep breath]

I read today that Amazon has acquired Goodreads. Amazon acquired Shelfari in 2008. I'm curious to see how the Goodreads transition changes the site. I hope they don't change the terms of service so authors can't review books. If that's the case, I really don't have much need to go over there anymore. We'll see. I guess if things go south there I'll simply do reading updates and add bookish updates here. Why not?

I'm currently reading Daniel Coyle's The Talent Code. I picked it up for the course I'm taking. This is actually the kind of book I read for leisure, so it's been a pleasant read. A very interesting book that looks at how talent is actually learned skill, and that the human body is wired for it.

I'm also reading Kat Cantrell's The Things She Says (Harlequin Desire, March 2013). I haven't read very far into this one, but  I can already tell this book is going to be unique. The heroine is much more forward toward the hero than you typically find in these books. I'm curious to see how it plays out.

The Desire books for April should be on the shelves any day now. I'm waiting to see if my local store stocks them, or if I have to drive to Ruston to pick them up. I'll be blogging about the books I pick out, and when I get time, I'll be backtracking a bit to review Joan Hohl's Beguiling the Boss (Harlequin Desire, March 2013). I really liked that one.

Moving along from all the bookish stuff...to dreams. I haven't been sleeping well, and when I do sleep, I'm having strange, very intense dreams. The night before last, I dreamed I was at an assembly at a school that looked like a mish-mash of both Louisiana Tech and Ruston High School. We were leaving the assembly to go to our buses, and I found myself lost in a maze of unfamiliar stairwells. [a recurring theme for me]

After wandering around for a while, I saw someone I recognized, Mary Jo from my old cheer squad. I was relieved because I figured she knew where to go. And since no one had given me any instructions on the layout of the school, I decided to follow her to the bus ramps. I tracked her down a winding staircase with these wide, flat landings. It went round and round for several floors. Toward the end of the line, the staircases became escalators.

She got quite far ahead of me on the escalators, and I lost her for a little while, but then I emerged from the school to a bus loading zone. I could see the bus parked near a curb that fell away to a forested area that looked like the old driver's ed parking lot behind Louisiana Tech. The waiting bus was numbered 42, which I recognized as my bus. [In waking life, that was my bus number from elementary school.]

As I started toward the bus, I heard someone calling my name. I turned around and it was my mom and dad. They were heading toward me, looking fearful, like they had been frantically running around campus searching for me.

Surprised to see them, I met them half way, and asked them what they were doing at the school. They said I shouldn't get on the bus. I had to go with them instead. I glanced back to see Mary Jo get in line to step onto the bus. For a moment, I was torn over what to do. I worried I might make the wrong decision, but of course, I went with my parents. My mother was so frantic, she had me by the sleeve of my hoodie and was dragging me along through the crowds down this white sidewalk that led across campus.

I didn't know my way around campus very well at all, but I knew if I went all the way across the campus with them and realized I was wrong, I wouldn't be able to make it back to the bus. Then I caught myself thinking, what difference did it make if I missed that bus, because my parents were obviously driving. I'd be riding home, to their house, with them. I'd figure out what to do from there. However, as we started down this slight hill, dad, who was in the lead, stopped suddenly and looked around.

The campus was bright and sunny. It was roughly noon, and there were students wandering about at every turn. I can't even begin to tell you how large this campus was. To call it enormous is to be conservative. You couldn't see all the way across it. You couldn't even seen half way across it. I knew instinctively that campus stretched all the way across midtown.

Dad suddenly said, "I can't remember where I parked the car." The moment he said it, I felt an overwhelming sense of fear. I distinctly remember the feeling of a panic attack coming on. It was too late to go back to the bus. We would have to hunt for the car, which could be anywhere, and I didn't even know where to start looking.

I woke up feeling anxious. My blood pressure was up, and I had a headache. I'm not sure if the dream caused the stress [it was a very stressful dream], or if my blood pressure being over the norm caused the dream. Either way, it wasn't pleasant to wake up to.

Then this morning, since I didn't sleep well last night, I went back to bed after I put Mini on the school bus. I slept for about three hours, and right before I woke up, I had this dream that I was back in the same area as in the previous dream, only my parents weren't there, and it was night time.

I instantly recognized that my current situation was somehow related to missing the bus and getting lost with my mom and dad, only this time I was wandering alone on a dark road. The sky was purple-y black, and I had no idea where I was going. There was a lot of tall brush growing right up to the edges of the hard packed dirt road, almost like corn stalks. I was afraid someone would come along and find me, and...well, I don't know. Hurt me I guess. Murder me, maybe. There was this fear of the unknown, of being lost, but also I was afraid that if no one ever came along, I'd stay lost.

I passed this trail cutting through the corn stalks, and about a quarter of a mile down the road, out of nowhere, this man who I thought at first was my hubby stopped me and said, "You need to go back and take that trail." I hesitated, because I realized this guy was not someone I knew. He seemed harmless, but he was also a total stranger.

Nevertheless, I went back, and stood paralyzed at the mouth of the trail. Unless you were walking, or someone pointed it out, you'd never see it. It was dark, narrow, and there were no lights ahead. Again, the man appeared a few feet away, and he seemed somewhat younger this time. It was very dark outside, no moonlight, and hardly any stars out. I could see the gleam of his eyes, though, and I noticed he had dark, kind of shaggy-curly hair. He was quite attractive, not that I was eyeing him sexually. It was one of those observations you make in passing. I wanted to trust him, but didn't know if I should. He pointed out the trail and told me I needed to go that way.

I spent a long time just staring at the trail, hesitating, and by the time I'd made up my mind to go through it, the stranger was gone. The dream kind of skipped ahead from there, and I found myself on a different road. I kept looking over my shoulder to see if the stranger had followed me, but although I felt him nearby, I didn't see him again. I had come off the trail into a rural area with no houses that I could see. I stood in the middle of a rough, paved road. One side of the road was corn fields with stalks so tall, it looked like a forest. The other side had lots of scrub brush, like a pine forest that had been cleared out. There were stubby pine tress coming up. Stubby oaks with few leaves. New growth, all of it quite rough. I could see over the top of it, because that side of the road dipped down into this huge crater-like valley, or maybe it was a gorge, filled with short, scruffy saplings.

Thinking back on it, the area reminds me of my godfather's pond out in the peach orchard - a real life place. At one time he had used the back acreage to grow corn. When I was about three or so, he'd taken me out there on a tractor while he did some harvesting. I thought the corn leaves were pretty, so I reached for one. It sliced my finger open. I didn't cry thanks to the shock, but it hurt like crazy. A few minutes after I cut myself, my godfather cut down an ear of corn and peeled open the husk so I could see the corn inside. I was surprised by the potent smell of the corn, and the pale yellow silk that looked like stringy doll hair clinging to it. But I digress...

Back to the dream. I stopped to look across the deepest point of the crater, because with the trees cut out, the sky seemed lighter somehow. The purples were a dark gradient, that faded to a pale gray that ended with stark dark silhouettes of trees along the horizon. I walked along the gorge-side of the road for a while, now and again casting my eyes out over the deep, bowl-shaped valley. I stopped when I reached an area where the brush thinned out to almost nothing, and I could see distant lights.

Across the gorge, the crater area, whatever you want to call it, I could see buildings. They had flat roofs and lights on strings that stretched from building to building. At first glance the buildings looked like a row of gas stations. I thought it must be part of the campus. At any rate, I knew I needed to find a way to the other side. I needed to get to those buildings.

I studied the landscape, but I couldn't find way across. I was starting to worry, when I glanced off to the far north of the crater, several yards past the lighted buildings where the trees were tallest, and I saw what looked like an abandoned suspension bridge. It was clearly not being used, and there was lots of kudzu vines covering it. I began to wonder how long I'd have to walk to reach it. If it was reachable. If I did reach it, would I be able to cross it?  Was there a shorter path somewhere?

I kept looking at the bridge, then at the gorge, which looked rugged and had extremely steep sides. If I somehow slid down into the gorge, it was probable that I wouldn't be able to climb out. Grumbling under my breath, I started walking again, looking for a way to get to the old bridge. That's when I woke up.

I can see a lot of my waking anxieties reflected in these dreams. Feeling lost. Fear of mistakes. Anxiety that I'll take the wrong path to get to the other side. At least, in the second dream I could actually see the other side. In the first dream, I couldn't even do that. Maybe it's a subliminal message to keep walking. To use my head and eventually I'll "get there". To the other side. Wherever that's supposed to.

All that aside, I hope next week will be more calm, more settled, so I can rest better. When I have intense dreams like that, it's almost like I don't get any sleep at all. I end up going through the day very tired.

Anyway, that's all for now. This is a very mix-and-match post, but at least I managed to jot everything down. That said, happy Thursday. Hang in there. The weekend is almost here!

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