Friday, March 5, 2010


Another dream where I woke up before resolution and I can't remember the main plot now. But two sets of symbols stand out.

One is that I had a study full of desks and worktables, but also with a spare bed in it. Every surface was cluttered, all the drawers were full, and I couldn't get around in it because I was definitely mobility impaired in this dream. (In some dreams I'm a crip, in some dreams I'm not.)

I was living with my family again. For some reason to do with the plot I can't remember, I needed to go around the house and gather up all the kukris that were stashed in various places. Kukris are curved knives indigenous to Nepal, used as tools and weapons, and when I was a child we had an assortment of leather-handled ones on our walls, a relic of our years in India.

In the dream, as in real life, the kukris ranged in size from massive to tiny pocket versions. All of them had dulled, rusting blades and dried-out leather. I needed to get them in good shape, and I began struggling to run hot water in the tub to soak them first. I was struck by the curve of the blade, and in the dream (a la Richard Dreyfus in Close Encounters of the Third Kind), I realized the matching curves "meant something" -- but I can't remember that revelation now.

I needed a rasp and saddle soap to finish the rehabilitation of the knives, and I knew I had both somewhere in my study, but I despaired of being able to find it. Neverthless, as the water ran in the tub I laboriously made my way to the other end of the house, to my study, and began searching.

On the piled end table next to the spare bed, under magazines, I found two handguns, one a large gleaming Colt .45 revolver and the other a blue-black .32 automatic. I realized my parents must have slept in the room and left the guns behind. (Yes, my parents each routinely slept with a handgun until each of them died, it was a fact of life in our family,)

As I searched, I kept finding more pistols, but not the items I was looking for. I was feeling pressured by the water running at the other end of the house. I woke up then.

I know the knives as a symbol are connected to an online conversation I had yesterday, but the India connection is/must be significant. As is the presence of disability, my parents' guns...The clutter I think is a symbol from the conversation about writing that Jesse and I had right before I went to sleep. I began rereading Ginny Bates this week, and while I'm sucked back into that world, I'm a very different writer than I was 4 years ago and for the first time, I have a dim inkling of how it must be edited.

In Pya, I'm writing with the same technique -- character driven, character developed through conversation, family based in the midst of cultural revolution -- but I know now how to do it much more succinctly. It will be brutal to take a scalpel to the delicious conversations of Ginny Bates, but that is what is in my future. At some point. If I can find the rasp and saddle soap.

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