Thursday, May 30, 2013

Busy Weekend

This weekend was filled with writing, visiting friends, and harping for the ordaining service for my high school friend, the Reverend Amy Beltaine.   Probably one of the funniest moments was "The Dirt Monologue" (which I think you had to be there to appreciate)....  Although, "The Re-telling of The Krumpacker  Family Library Religious Experience" was a close second.

Lots of strange and active dreams lately.  Last night I dreamed that I was laying on a slope of quartz crystals in very bright moonlight.  I think the dream wanted to be a cross between an Arcosanti dream and a camping at the Lillines Farmstead dream. I think I might have started off hiking with Mark... 

 After a while I slid down the slope to where a throne was in a not-quite-a-cave in the side of the hill.  It was a high backed chair of wood, vaugely arts-and-crafts; it was plainer than the thrones at the Krumpacker Family Library.  Somewhere around this point, the sun started to shine.  

Of course there was a priestess of some sort there.  After some sort of "if you want to sit on the throne, you must perform this complicated Indian/Asian dance/bow," I was sitting on the throne.  Suddenly, I was reading an old Roman treatis on how to sit in thrones with advice like, "don't fidget your hands too much," and "remember to sit so that you aren't exposing your genitals" (those darn togas--wait, how did I get into a toga?)

Then the day became murkier.  There was a kind of SCA or Renn Faire gathering in front of me.  My chair was lifted and I was carried at the head of a procession.  At some point I started making proclamations, like, "Let lithesome men dance before me."  None that I recall actually appeared, but there was a kind of dance in a tent which I suddenly found myself in--or, rather, my throne was in.  It was sort of like being Motel Kamzoil during the wedding scene again.  (In waking life, this is usually what  I think of as an "Otherworld Dream" because the light usually is some kind of twilight, I usually cross some significant barrier like a stream, and the people in the dream take on a Prerafealite  appearance.)

Then the dance turned into a kind of running procession across the countryside.  Everyone was dressed in flowy robes or armor.  I was still being held aloft in the chair and we would rush up to fences or walls.  The first was a wire fence across a meadow.  We'd rush up and somehow rushing up to the fence with my throne would cause it to open and the people on the fence facing us to join in the running.  We did this at least once more, each time the fence or wall becoming more substantial.  The last one was sort of across Reed College.

The runners caried me over a brick road and set the throne down in the entry hall of a brick building.  This was some sort of hotel or inn, and ghosts or zombies were the servitors.  I don't remember too much about this part of the dream, other than I had somehow left my throne and returned to it a little later on.

I'm sure there was some more....

Must Wake Up...

I'm blaming the pollen for making me feel tired. OK, and I'm failing to transition to a Morning Lark (Be strong, there's a heart of a night owl calling...)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Dreams and Writing

Crazy dreams lately.  Two nights ago I had a matchmaking dream for one of our friends... before that there was the hypnogogic mesh image that floated behind my eyelids before I fell asleep.  The other night I must have come out to at least two dream people.  I'm guessing that explaining to someone that some stories I write have gay characters because I'm gay might have something to do with that.

Last night I dreamed I was walking somewhere very icy and I had to watch out for cars sliding over an embankment and into me.  Then I was in a magic dream garden someone had decorated with lights and cut-out dioramas -- I think it was winter and spring in the garden at the same time, because I have a strong recollection of twiggy branches in the snow (lit up with small strings of lights) and verdant leaves and spring flowers (also lit up with lights).   I'm going to blame recent paper cutout art  projects for last night.


On the writing front, during a recent writing excersice, I managed to crank out about 600 words in about 30 minutes.  I'm reminding myself about that when I notice that I "only have a half hour to write."    

Writing in the mornings this week hasn't worked out so well... except for the morning when I woke up sore, decided to take a bath, and floated with my ears underwater and the fawcet dribbling and the bathroom fan on and asked myself what the characters were going to do and worked out story problems.  (Yes, it's true, my joints are officially barometers, and if I wake up with my feet hurting then it probably rained over night.)

And, in my mind, Chris Hadfield is standing over my bed as I squint at the clock to see if I can sleep for just five more minutes, and he says, "...don't let life kick you into becoming the adult you don't want to be."  Ug.  I think becoming a Morning Lark would be easier in microgravity.  

And now, to the Day Jobbe.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Just Ten More Minutes...

Well, let's see.  First there was a the dying cell phone tone--an electronic plea for recharging that sort of sounds like a quiet but insistent snooze alarm that chimes semi-randomly for a half hour while you lie in bed wondering if you're awake enough to actually get up and plug the phone in assuming that you can find it.

Then there was the dream where I dreamed I was telling someone an earlier dream.  For the record, I was having a conversation with Lori Carroll and we were touring new Arcosanti construction and I said to her, "Wait... are we in a Paolo Soleri concrete staircase inside a re-purposed chimney? There were also old cruise vessels being salvaged on the edge of the Aqua Freya River.  Which I lived in.  Over a gun shop.

Next, over the weekend I activated my Night Owl Tendencies.  Which makes being a Morning Lark on Monday kind of hard.  Add to that the weather, which can't decide what it wants to do, so I'm feeling it in my joints.  Feeling the rain in my broken right hand wasn't so bad compared to having barometer balls of my feet.

So... um... no.  I didn't spring out of bed at 5:30 to write.

And now, tea.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

May Pollen

This morning as I was waking up, I somehow managed to splice "Let a Woman In Your Life" from My Fair Lady with another song from the musical and a third one from "Annie Get Your Gun." Something like, "I'm a very gentle man / I can drink my liquor faster than a flicker / with the milk of human kindness by the quart in every vein." Only it was more back-and-forth.

Pollen season is here. The car has a light yellow dusting on it from the pine trees. It affects Mark more strongly than it does me. May and June are the months when Mark is "taken by the faeries" and I say things like, "oh, it's the pollen talking." The pollen season may be shorter this year--we're getting our summer weather earlier than usual. I'm hoping we get more rain soon, because the ground and some of the plants are already looking dry.

On the plus side, I unrolled the outdoor carpet for Café John. This makes pretending I'm in a French Tea Salon much easier as it covers up the growing cracks in the patio. I'm sure there's a metaphor in there somewhere....

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Sanctificetur Nomen Tuum

I just got back from a workshop on Russian sacred choral music. It was fun and interesting, and it wasn't what I expected.

I misunderstood who would be teaching. I thought it would be Eastern Orthodox Christian monks, so I imagined a cross between Rasputin, the pictures of the the monks who raise German Shepherds, and Jedi Knights. They'd wear long dark brown robes, or at the very least have circular, fur-lined hats reminiscent of the Renaissance. I imagined they lived and sang in a monastery that only recently acquired electricity and indoor plumbing. Oh yes, and there would be a hint of frankincense and myrrh wherever they walked.

One of the reasons I went was story research. Sacred music and its effects play a major role in the fantasy world I tend to write about, and my understanding of Eastern Orthodox Christian monks is that they eschew musical instruments because the human voice, which is something fashioned by God, is the holiest way to sing hymns. And here was an opportunity to learn Secret Chants from foreign holy singing people! With monastic vestments and accents and everything!!

I even thought there might be a discussion of the symbolic means of various musical key signatures, and maybe even Secret Names of God. Or they'd pull out Sir Arthur Sullivan's Lost Chord with a small smile, a shrug, and a "Oh, this? It was discovered in St. Petersburg... we use it every day to get in touch with The Almighty." And maybe they'd have a musical monk's version of a lightsaber.

As a writer of fantasy stories where song, spell and prayer are supposed to the same thing, you can imagine my excitement.

It turned out the instructor, Sergey, wasn't a Orthodox Russian Ninja-Monk. He wasn't even a monk. He _was_ Russian, and he was the leader of a touring vocal ensemble. Learning a Russian Pater Noster was interesting, but the most useful thing from a writing a story-world point of view was when he would stop us singing and say something like, "this part means 'bread' and here is where the phrasing should be largo," or "Don't punch the words here, they shouldn't be war-like," or "...and this is 'Maria' and we venerate her."

In my fantasy world, I've been approaching magic and song in a mechanistic way. The story-world's Old Testament creation myth has The Father singing creation, and The Mother taking His Song and fashioning the cosmos. I've been having my spell-casters singing mechanically, which is a mist-step similar to having a B-movie scientist proclaim "E=mc^2!" in order to justify giant nuclear frogs. (Pause to imagine Bill Nye the Science Guy singing "Doe, a deer, a female deer" as a valid physics lesson....)

When I depict my characters doing magic, I need to have Sergey's memory whispering in my ear, "this is 'Maria' and we venerate her" so that, for the characters--at least some of them--there is no difference between song, spell, and prayer.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Early Morning Writing

This morning I managed to arise and write a little. What I'm finding is that it takes me about twenty minutes to be in a state where I can write, so if I want a full hour from 6 AM - 7 AM to write--less when the family wakes earlier--I have to be standing by 5:30. Or earlier.

On the days where I fail to drag myself out of bed, I kick myself for not being able to write. Feeling like an inadequate writer-wanna-be is not the best way to start the day.

Now I have to start keeping word counts....

In other news, the afternoon temperature is rising. It's OK, although it sounds like this Sunday is going to be unpleasantly hot. Alas, the air conditioning in our car has gone out over the winter, so even relatively nice days like we've been having transform the car into a rolling greenhouse oven. Time to surf the net for Toyota air conditioner tune-up tips.

But first, the Day Jobbe.