Monday, December 05, 2005

That's it, this is my rhyme. Let's take it to the street!

Not long enough for its own post, but whatever.

I love dreams and dreaming. I don't dream enough any more, or at least I can't remember them. I'm probably down to about three or four dreams a year now. When I get one, I treasure it.

It was probably a combination of (1) a tiring schedule, (2) seeing high school friends twice in a few weeks, and (3) messing up my sleep patterns, but whatever the cause, I had a good (as in interesting) dream last night. It was set back in Wheaton North, where for an English-type class I had to write and direct a play.

It wasn't an ordinary play, with three acts and a small cast of characters. It was pretty experimental, though I think this was more because I wanted to write it that way than because it was required. The tone of the play was very similar to some stories I'd read the prevoius days in "Best American Non-Required Reading 2004." It was just slightly sinister, with very precise dialog that seemed perfectly ordinary but peppered with odd gestures and glances that infused everything with a sense of unease and dread. Ooh, a better analogy might be the second act of "The Courier's Tragedy" (courtesy "The Crying of Lot 49"), in which the audience is presented with a Presence that infuses the dialog but is never named.

Anyways. The structure involved me writing a lot of little roles. Each of my classmates played a part, with each person having just a few responsibilities but each part was also indispensible. I went through the dress rehearsal and made some adjustments, switching some roles between actors and making some changes to the blocking. I don't remember many details, except that I made a change so at one point Josh and Nate both stood on small platforms, parellel to each other, speaking out to the audience; each character was only aware of what he himself was saying, but each only made sense with the participation of the other; it was essentially a monologue with each delivering alternating lines.

Jennie and at least one other girl were mad at me. Well, more upset than mad, though I don't remember why; they played their parts but weren't happy about it. I wanted to fix it for them but knew that the play wouldn't make sense unless they were in it, and there weren't enough extra people to take over their parts.

There was going to be a performance that night at the school, and while going to class I was worrying about the performance. I was taking notes and sketching out diagrams for the stage, seeing if I could make it any better. It occurred to me that I wasn't in the play; I'd been happy to only be the writer and director, but I wondered if maybe I should give myself a part.

When I started writing this post I had no idea what the dream meant. Now I have a few ideas, though nothing's solid. Part of it definitely has to do with the way I construct realities within my own mind. I think all people do this to some degree, but probably more than most I have a tendency to turn the world and my life into a story, projecting motivation and design where there probably is none. In the same way, I think, it's probably significant that in my dream I can't interact with high school memories as they occurred, I need to create a narrative to place people inside.

Another possibility is that the dream is showing my unease at my creative drought. Part of the reason I started this blog was despair over how long it had been since I had written anything besides emails and code; I would much rather be writing fiction, but I've felt it's better for me to write something, even if only rambling reflection on random events, than risk whatever skill I might have had slipping entirely away. I can't say I'm that pleased with the results here, but it is making me confront my desire for creation. Back to the dream: a lot (not all, but probably most) of my dreams are driven by anxiety, and my creativity or lack thereof is therefore a worthy topic.

A darker interpretation has more to do with relationships. The people I'm closest to in my life are now far away from me. I try to keep in touch as best I can, but I'm naturally reticent (well, when it comes to actually talking, anyways) and I worry I'm slipping away from them. I try to keep appraised of what's happening in their lives, but as time goes on, the reality of who they are will slip further and further away from my memories of who they were. Can I maintain true friendships in these circumstances? Or will my interactions with them be surface-level only, "acting" out our connection instead of actually having it?

Of course, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a dream is just that polish sausage you ate in the airport. Either way, it's interesting, and I like to think about it.

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