Resistance and Dreams #2
Picking up from last week, the dream described in that post has helped a little. But I’m still being hammered by self-doubt about this new book.
The dream below came a few days later:
I was in an open-sided, roofed shelter, somewhere back East. My van had gotten a diagnosis from a mechanic: some serious issue like a transmission (the van was in storage, as if in NY). I knew that as soon as we put the van into the shop, far more serious issues would come to light and I would have to basically rebuild the whole vehicle. This meant (in the dream) that I would have to go back to work full-time to pay for it. This was the phrase I heard and used in the dream, “go back to work full time.” Somehow the dream then cut to a river canyon like a small Grand Canyon with steep rock walls and a river running below, strongly, out of eyeline. The purpose of this location in the dream (somehow I realized this) was to show me classic cuts from three iconic movies (not real movies, just movies in the dream) to inspire me somehow. I think I saw the first two, though not the third. Both had Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne, in their later years, as actors in Westerns. The river itself was decidedly “Western.” In one cut, Stewart delivered some line to John Wayne to the effect of, “Only one person can pull this off …and that’s you.” In the dream this read indeed like a classic movie line, like “Make my day.” I noted particularly, watching John Wayne, that he was soaking wet from the river and dirty, his clothes, his hair. I thought, Wow, they are really committed to making this movie seem real. The suffering is depicted with tremendous authenticity, like in “The Revenant.”
In analyzing a dream, I use Robert Johnson’s technique from his book, Inner Work. Dr. Johnson is a renowned Jungian therapist. One of the principles he employs is to write down all the associations you have with a particular character or image in the dream. Even if you have twenty of these, one will “click,” he says. This will give you an idea of what that image means for you (even if it might mean something completely different for someone else).
My ’65 Chevy van is a recurring image in my dreams. In real life, it was the vehicle I lived in during the period that I’d call my “hero’s journey”—when I was broke and on the road, running away from writing. In dreams, my van seems to represent the wellspring of creativity for me. It’s the “pure” time, the deep struggle.
Water in my dreams almost always represents creative flow. A river, a gushing spring … those are always good.
My interpretation: I have not, in real life, been working full-time on GOVT CHEESE. I’ve been stealing snatches of time, an hour here and there. The result is my van (the soul source of my creativity) is revealing mechanical issues and is going to reveal more. Something is wrong. I have to fix it. This could mean the way I’m doing the book, the POV, the tone of voice, the narrative device. That could be what needs to be addressed. I don’t think it’s the actual “vehicle” itself, i.e. the source of creativity. The river with the fast-flowing water shows there is creative impetus to hand. Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne represent archetypal “sages” that have meaning for me, even if they don’t for young people today. They are modeling for me, in cinematic form, what I need to aspire to in GOVT CHEESE. Classic, old school stuff, whatever that means. Bottom line: I am being called to move to the Sage Archetype and accept this without reservation. This will “rebuild” the vehicle.
I need to “go back to work full-time” on GOVT CHEESE.
This dream helps a lot. I’m still racked with irresolution, but my confidence is growing. I am getting closer to really committing to this book.