Call It What It Is(n’t)

Essay in Embryo #5

The dialogue between my waking and dreaming mind seems to have moved from calling across canyons to chatting at a coffee shop. As in, my dream-stuff often sheds direct light on what I’m puzzling over when I’m awake (or, more likely, while I’m trying to sleep). Perhaps the mania of mild insomnia over the last three years has been building a bridge between the two worlds. Or, maybe it’s like I’ve written the word create, and then smudged it with a dirty eraser until text and abstraction are a leaden swath of existence.

Ex.: I’ve been trying to think of a new idea for a short story for a fiction workshop. I contemplated writing something about someone (read: me) who has never punched anyone before. That night, in a dream, I somehow wrote a first line, and when I woke up, I decided it was actually worth pursuing. The line: “Tracy Billideaux swings and misses.”

Your sons and daughters will prophesy

A common phrase I often heard in church was, “I felt the LORD telling me…” or, “The LORD gave me a vision about…” How were they so sure? What if they were misguided a bit? The consequences for putting words in God’s mouth seemed steep. I also felt guilty, because, why couldn’t I hear/see this stuff/Stuff?

your old men will dream dreams

Last week, at a party where there was much local beer and tea-infused gin, N and I headed upstairs to crash at the host’s house. In a reversal of home-life, I was out in seconds, but N, despite the gin and Malibu, couldn’t drift into dream. Then, amidst her buzz, she felt that she saw a pot in front of her, with maybe-God saying, Fill the pot. Fill the pot. In her state, this seemed logical enough, so she did. And slowly, as the pot filled, she fell asleep. “I don’t know if it was God, or just me being drunk,” she said. And in her admission of uncertainty, it seemed like the most believable Sacred Talk instance I’d ever heard of. She couldn’t claim that she was a Holy Receptacle, and it was that humility that felt convincing.

your young men will see visions.*

A few nights later, back home and back to our normal sleep/sleepless roles, I couldn’t make the sleep-leap. I was stuck in the drifting, just a touch too aware of the fact that I was falling asleep, and thus rendering the final nod impossible. Amidst the thought-parade, I saw a pot, and I was like, oh yeah; I guess I’m supposed to fill this. So I started pouring water from what was apparently ‘my’ pot into what was presumably God’s pot (who, as it turns out, has the same copper-bottomed Revere ware as I do. It’s just a lot more polished). But, instead of it staying there, the Pot kept pouring it back into my pot. But it wasn’t water–it was an opaque golden syrup, or, maybe white wine–a sauvignon blanc, perhaps. Sweetening the pot, I thought, for reasons I’m still not clear on. Though, despite the lack of clarity, I felt rested by the whole ordeal. And that maybe going around convincing ourselves, and others, that God is always in the borders of sleep, could be soul-destroying. Something is lost in the telling, the writing, that reduces it to crazy or holy, David Koresh or King David.

*Joel 2:28

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About bp

I'm writing a book. It's called, Wake, Sleeper. My writing revolves around this idea of art: attempts to recover what is lost.
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