In the dreaming… wandering large, sprawling old university grounds, come across research display of work done with animals, melding them to robot AIs and other things. Horrific. But as I turn to flee, unable to stand it, catch the gaze of dog who’s been made half-robot thing and go to comfort him instead. As I stroke the space between his eyes, feeling his pain and fear, we start to breathe together; a cat and another dog come and lean against him with me, all of us breathing together, as, gradually, his pain and fear lessen into comfort, in and from the breath.
Last night's dreaming contained an element frequent to my dreams, a strong sadness, near desperation, in the search for a place to live in the world where there will be support and comraderie. This has been amped up lately as I've been thinking about how I'd like to move to Portland, Or. Except there's no dayjobs there and I have to have a dayjob, and moving is scary when you're alone.
Austin's been a good place for me. I love my loft. I know a lot of folks. But they're all paired off and many have kids and they're just busy with their own lives, not really very there, in that supportive, community-feeling way. I reach out, invite people to go to dinner, movies, etc., but they just have too much already going on.
A lot of the time, that's okay; but also quite regularly, it is not so okay.
Enter this Mary Oliver poem, excerpted on Terri Windling's blogpost today (*you know about the amazing auction raising money for the amazing Terri, currently in need, right? Glittering scads of remarkable items and services on offer there.)
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
© Mary Oliver
This is, btw, one of the elements that contributed to my becoming a writer at an early age, the desire to participate in this offering of the world, the vast and inspiring natural world, to my imagination.
I guess it was romantic comedy night. Sort of. It was all very entertaining.
Pulmonary function test yesterday; according to the tech, at least, I haven't lost too much more additional capacity since the last test (due to scarring and tissue thickening from the scleroderma). So, uh, yay! It's a weird series of tests, if you've never had a PFT, and makes me dizzy and my lungs ache.
Three things I recced made it onto the final Nebula ballot, so I'm pretty pleased about that.
Finished Kathe Koje's Under the Poppy and really enjoyed it; her writing is so very fine, and the characters move into good places from hard ones, and puppets! Puppets are love. It's apparently being adapted for the stage, a show I want to see.
Then, for an abrupt change of pace, I read Ben Aaronovitch's Midnight Riot, after a 50 page preview online hooked me; a fun, fast read.
Now: Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death.
This, what matociquala says here.
And from Nancy Springer's twitterfeed, ...how many of you writers struggle with depression? I think creativity and depression go together... once you learn to spin it, depression need not be depressing. I mean, embrace it, use it, and it can be a friend. ...Art to me is turning pain into beauty. So cherish your depressing thoughts, welcome them in, and write.
Camille Alexa‘s story "Particular Friends," gender roles-bendy future steampunkish pulpy awesomeness, is being serialized at Red Penny Papers. Episode 1 has been up for a week or so, and Episode 2 will go live sometime today. "Mystery! Scandal! Secret messages! Tea cakes! Fall into the charming world of Camille Alexa's headstrong Mr. Jonathan deWinter and see what all the fuss is about..." With gorgeous art!
In part of the dreaming last night, riding in passenger side of car on epic journeying (that had included airship and water vessel and being hunted by bad dudes earlier), just looking out window at passing landscape and soaking in the beauty--of the light, the trees, colors and heft of the world, breathing it in and getting intoxicated.
ETA: Paperback books; I actually prefer them to hardbacks and the oversized paperbacks, lighter and easier for me to hold and read (I'm not afraid to crack a few spines).
My reaction was so strong that when I woke up, I had to talk to make sure I still had my voice.
Symbology, you say? Nah...
I also dreamt briefly that I was preparing an essay on the disitinctions between covert vs. overt learning, and how there is so much more covert learning, and some of it we are so unaware of until it comes to the surface, than overt.
Another follow-up for Sula Pironimous Rex this morning; holding steady--meaning no improvment in her blood count numbers, but no lost ground either. The doc reiterated that recovery time for pure red cell aplasia can be months. She (Sula, not the vet) did come to sit in my lap and rub her scent all over me this morning; I'll take that as a good sign, despite the appearance of every illiminatory option in her carrier between the trip to the vet and the trip home.
My brain maundered on about this for awhile after waking, on the way in which we use writing to conjure the simple magic of the everyday--food, touching--that another thing one could do in such a challenge would be to take liberties that would be too intimate outside the bounds of words, go around kissing people on their bellies, for instance, or tickling the backs of their necks. Writing a story, bringing a person into a narrative is, thereby, a very intimate act (my half-asleep brain said).
I think I'm feeling the lack of green, of rain, of windows in my loft, and of any significant outside time. At least I get some beach and canyon time in a couple of weeks. I may sleep out on my mom's porch.
And at the end of the day, potluck dinner with the employees, and it rains outside, and the story is glorious.
Really didn't want to wake up.
More than enough said, perhaps.
I mean, really.
I am home today; skeleton holiday at work and mine is not the skeleton in the office. These bones are dem happy to be home. Oh yeah. Writing is happening. And I can do anything I want, all day, the day is mine! Mine, I tell you! *maniacal laughter* ... *coughing fit*
This Pablo Defendini post on Tor.com, Skynet, The Early Years, gives good video.
Had my echo cardiogram last week; always cool to see the ultrasound of my heart.
Things in the dreaming last night included two tiny kittens I was watching for a friend, which turned out to be the nymph stage of a strange bug, when they suddenly began splitting again and again by process of mitosis into even tinier bugs, bugs with more than a passing resemblance to insect-sized kittens, but with insectoid accoutrement. I was mostly worried how I was going to explain to my friend what had happened to the kittens.
I blame this on planetalyx's picture post of baby globe spiders and our conversation in the comments about the snuggliness of same.
In a long seeming dream about going to a rather fabulous and endless amusement park, while touring a grand hall/mall/palace in the park, I and a companion are let through a secret folding screen panel into a very grand hall given over to beer making, which involves the use of swans, including a very large Zeusian swan with three necks and heads, as well as an interesting assortment of other zoological oddities. We didn't stay to sample the beer as we were on our way to meet some friends for dinner, though I did take a piece of "dusky mousse cheesecake" from a table of desserts, on the old theory that it's best to have dessert first.
On the cusp of the three-day Memorial Day weekend here; Pirate movie this weekend—which, while hardly as edifying or wonderful as, say, WisCon, still, yay! And I believe I'll take myself by dillo to the downtown Farmer's Market tomorrow morning. And, as usual, dinner and food shopping with N tonight; I've made a list of restuarants we might try that we haven't tried before.
Rain, rain, rain! In the night, walking to the bus stop. Me love.
What is dream, what is reality... Last night Aristotle threw up during the night, on one of the rugs. I heard the noise, looked over the bed loft edge, and saw the puddle of vom. This morning, down off the loft, grab the paper towels and wet a rag--to find that there is no vom, anywhere. Nor traces of vom having been anywhere. So now I’m dreaming about the cats throwing up and thinking it’s real.
Whereas a couple of weeks ago, I was lucid dreaming about finding a well hidden person known as The Icon who was going to tell me the secret of fixing everything. All over the map much? I also think I see big spiders in bed and then find I wasn't really awake, even though it really seemed like I was...
Had weird prolonged dreamage last night, too, in which an evil fay had gotten into the house where I was staying with my sister/not really my real, but sort of my real sister and my mother and her husband (sort of). In order to contain the evil fay being—a wizened, nasty man-thing with lascivious wiles and agenda—at bay/contained, sister/notsister and I had to wet our hands in the rain outside repeatedly and go around touching all the doorknobs (there were a lot of them) on doors while saying a little spell in our heads on each one. Which we did, but somehow the fay still managed to get into my sister’s room and affect a changeling switch with her/me (it wasn’t clear which one of us, or, rather, it kept switching off between us)…vaguely disturbing, that.
And I’m sleepy and I don’t want to be here and I’m tired of editing the endless ass document I’m currently editing.
And I feel weird, did I say?
Now, the day is quite dark with the system from the southwest, raining raining raining. Lovely. Except for how I’m stuck inside with only little mirrors giving me my view of the stormy day.
In the night I dreamed I was driving in the rain with Aristotle on my shoulder and woke to the sound and smell of the rain through the screen door and open window, one black and white cat snugged against my side.
This is only the beginning of the art of this mysterious man (he looks like a skinny santa in soberly-toned day off clothes); in the trailer we also see all these clothes he's handmade, in fashions as strange and strangely beautiful as the frozen art. Then we discover that the trailer is only the front of a large, rambling complex, rather like an ultra expensive hotel in another, somewhat grotty and freakish, dimension. There is a ladies room, large and tiled in small square blue tiles, peeling, and distressed, giving the feeling that the room once used to be a pool, long ago. The light sconces are half submerged in the walls. What seems an automaton of a woman rests in a crab like position at one wall; she looks exotic and barbaric, and seems to have a malfunction, as she periodically shudders and jerks as if her servos were fucked. Then she crabs across the floor to a large round divan. As she does, her toe rings get caught in my pinky ring and in the process of getting us seperated, she reveals herself to be, in fact, a performer pretending to be a messed up automaton. She smiles, somewhat abashedly and conspiratorially at me and my companions.
Then there is a hall at the end of which is a set of windows, that appear to be very small because a parrot perches on the sill and fills the window, but as we get closer, we see it is a giant parrot, giant and green and part of a flock of other giant parrots. There are other performers, all very artfully made up as strange beings and things.
In the course of all of this I am thinking about how I will write about if for lj (as I sometimes do when out in the actual world seeing actual things); I even do a series of illustrations of all of the above, which come out very well, considering I can't draw at all.
Last, we return to the trailer where the artist has tables set up with materials similar to those he uses (soggy breads, soaking and unidentifed bits of sealife, crystals, pigments made from god knows what...) and we all attempt some art. I very intently squish balls of softened sealife of some sort into a paste/pigment and work them onto a rough peach and gold crystal, but it's not a success...
However, it was a hugely entertaining dream.