Since my sleep cycle has had a flat tire for the last three or four months, my dreams have been a little disjointed and out of time. The other night I dreamed I was driving down the road in Moultrie Georgia trying to shake cooked brown rice out of a can of Pepsi.
Now when I’m asleep I am assuming my brain is running on autopilot, keeping the blood and breath going, making sure I don’t pee on myself, and at worst, insuring me against sleep driving to the Awfull House nude to get breakfast. A dream of driving down the road in Moultrie Georgia could as easily been a dream where I’m rescuing Ellen Page from a burning building, or flying across the mountain tops without a plane, but no. I get a can of Pepsi with cooked brown rice in it.
So there I am holding the can out of the window, shaking it to get the rice out of it, and a State Patrol car goes past me, and sure enough I drop the can right there in front of him. He hits his lights, but he doesn’t turn around, but I stop and look for the can, just in case he comes back. So there I am, while someone else is getting Ellen Page’s undying gratitude for heroism, I’m walking along the road in Moultrie Georgia, looking for a Pepsi can with cooked brown rice in it. Oh, the dreamscape was new, I’ve never seen the buildings or that railroad track before, and I was amazed at how much weirdness was involved in the stuff beside the road, but really…
Oh, and then there was the dream that I was writing. Let’s just ruin it all right up front and I’ll tell you I don’t remember what I was writing, but as I stood up in the dream I woke up and it felt like I fell onto the bed. I’ve had that dream twice and both times it’s woke me up enough so I cannot go back to sleep. Yeah, the nightmare factory is running twenty-four seven when you dream you’re standing up and that’s what scares you awake. Do you think I’ve broken my subconscious? I mean, is this the best it can do, truly?
I’m willing to work with it here. Why don’t we start out small, something easily managed, like a milk carton on the side of the road, while I’m looking for a Pepsi can with cooked brown rice in it, with Ellen Page’s face on it? You know, I would settle for there being someone else in the dream that was simply memorable. There were other people there but they were just background figures, like the people in the scene from The Matrix where they freeze the scene and everyone stops but the two main characters. There’s a really nice looking woman with auburn hair in the background who looks like a woman I once dated, and I would settle for that. I would settle for someone who looked like someone I once knew, so I could wonder why my subconscious was bring that person up again, but no, I get vague figures that bring into mind silhouettes.
Oh, yeah, it’s the scene where Neo and Morpheus are walking down a crowded street and Neo gets distracted by the woman in the red dress. Right after Morpheus freezes the scene, look over the left shoulder of Agent Smith and there is a woman there, in black, with auburn hair. If you’re going to have a background to things, at least make the background something that catches the eye in some small way.
Lately my dreams have been nearly as boring as being awake. It’s like all the writing I’ve done has drained off the pool of resources used to generate any sort of excitement. When you can say you’ve had a dream that you stood up, twice, and that was enough to awaken you, and when you stood up you weren’t rising from the dinner table with Ellen Page, that’s a sign that something isn’t running well.
But come to think of it, there has to be some sort of reason I’ve developed a fixation on an actress that was born after I got out of the Army. After seeing what Claire Danes did to her own face, it’s enough to give anyone nightmares, and wish for something a lot more simple. Danes was once a lot like Page in that her beauty was more of a natural kind, a sort of girl next door thing, and you’d never see either of them take a role in a film where all they needed was a pretty face attached to ten pounds of silicone and a million bucks worth of surgery. Odds are, if you’re shopping for a woman and are looking for someone who might fit in with the Hollywood Ideal of what a woman should look like, you’re going to find a woman who has bought into it, and maybe you’ll both be very happy. But if you have to pay someone good money to butcher your body in order to fit in some Barbie mold that women are supposed to fit into, what sort of man are you going to wake up to every morning?
Maybe this is the lesson of my subconscious. Maybe it’s showing me bland and boring in order for me to dial down the action and excitement in my writing, and fill in the tiny details with interesting stuff. The Matrix didn’t fill in a lot of details but then again, that’s a movie and a movie doesn’t have to work as hard as writing does. Writing has to jump start the human mind to form a scene out of words, and it has to flow like a movie, but instead of lighting you use grammar.
So, that was it all along, wasn’t it? That’s why you sent me there with that damn can of rice to begin with, isn’t it?
Never doubt your mind when it feeds you creativity. There is a lesson to be learn in even a can of Pepsi, with cooked brown rice in it.