This is the story of a snake, a bear, and a little girl. Three great friends living together on the forested slopes beneath a mountain. There is a glade within the forest. Evergreens surround the meadow-grass, fireweed, and bee balm. The mountain’s snowcap is visible on clear days. Warmed by the sun, the three friends lay in a lazy pile near a broad, flat boulder. The bear licks the bottoms of the girl’s bare feet. The coiled snake dozes on the boulder. Summer is over but the days remain pleasant.
Last night I dreamed a production of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”. In regulation dream-fashion, it wasn’t really “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”. Best of all, there was a great zoo scene in it. With a hippo. In a wading pool.
“Fix me something to eat.”
“What do you want?” Read more
I wish I could say it was a Merry Christmas. I wish I could tell you everything worked out all right. Okay, I’ll go ahead and play it like this: yes, in the end, everyone was fine and nobody got what they didn’t deserve.
For years, I’d been listening to that dog across the street. Most of the homes around here are spread out; there’s plenty of wide open space and not a lot of trees, owing mostly to the fact this is all “improved” former pastureland. Everywhere except on the side of the road opposite my own driveway.
I don’t hang out with those folks—not that I’m all that social with anyone around here. I smile and wave at the majority of my neighbors but also wonder if they’re going to line me up with a scoped rifle someday soon. Anyway, about the family across the street, we didn’t even make a bad attempt at being friendly. I can’t recall a single specific incident that could have caused a rift, but it just seemed as if our wiring was out of phase or something.
The last of the collections is leather scraps. It smells the best. If you burrow into the bins, you don’t want to touch bottom—damp, mulch-like, maggoty. Stay close to the surface and you’ll be fine. Soak up the scent of soap, bay leaves, and fresh-cut softwood.
Someone rolled gray enamel over the windows. Who would paint a window? Nothing inside this warehouse has borne daylight in a decade or more. This isn’t completely correct; a million billion holes permeate the roof and walls. Matrices of light stand out against the dust that is suspended perpetually. That’s a lot of exposition, so let’s move on.
We had no idea our hosts were evangelical Christians with a sinister agenda. But when we arrived at their compound, the look of it was bad enough to give us pause. Each detached “unit” was brand-new, but they were all made to look like crackers’ shacks. I made a sneering remark alluding to “Tobacco Road”.
It wasn’t long before they invited us to leave. At the farewell dinner, I annoyed our hosts by singing a parodic hymn of praise and thanksgiving, “Swirling in the Service of the Lord.” Then we helped ourselves to macaroons and bagels “for the road”.
Before I set off walking for the car, I went down to the basement and scooped up a boxload of drugs, also “for the road”. Waiting for the freight elevator, I spied a pair of shoes in a bin of items collected for a fundraising sale. I nicked them. “Like walking on peas,” they were.
At some point during the night, I had to wear a badge indicating that I was a Woman Who’d Had One or More Abortions. But that was a different story, I think.
Kansas City. Or more rightly Leawood, Kansas. 119th St. A street fair of sorts. Jazz and barbecue. White tents. A billion people swarmed it seemed. Overwhelming. Overwhelmed. I was in the deepest basement of a store storing display props. A mannequin on a stand. A woman horizontal. Shaped like a dolphin. The leg came off. I had to wrestle to carry it with the rest. Awkward, wobbley, moving through dim-lit aisles. Found a good spot, threw the extension cord over. The added weight started it leaning forward. It wasn’t going to stand. Fukkit I thought. Picked up my phone. Went upstairs. Outside. Street was crazy. Growing bright. Noisy in the dusk. My phone rang. It wasn’t my ring. It wasn’t my phone. Had a coiled expansion cord with three loose wires. I tried to call its number to find the owner, realized I had the owner’s phone. I think I remembered where I left my phone. It was on a shelf in the society department of the store where I worked. I went into a store-front. There were refreshments. Gordon Lish followed me in. White hair wisping like his white hair does. I said Gordon! What are you doing here? Getting my boat fixed was his reply. He head-gestured toward the drive out front where sat a long, long cigarette boat. Black. Shiny. I said what’s that on the back? Jet engine he said. He was gone. Sheila walked up wearing layers of clothes. She said the outer layer was her on-the-lam-bswool vest. She asked if I wanted to go out for a smoke. I said oh, hon, I stopped smoking….Back in March she finished. I nodded. She looked disappointed. I said you want to sit a minute? We sat. I couldn’t stay seated. I needed my phone. I said you want to walk with me? She nodded. We started up the street.
— Heather McCormack (@HuisceBeatha) November 15, 2012
This is so cool I can’t hardly stand it.
I’ve been way way down lately, so when India’s and Lucy’s friend Heather commenced live-tweeting about Elmore Leonard from the National Book Awards, I got all excited. She and I got going back and forth, and I told her about my crush on Leonard. And we got talking about one of Leonard’s minor gifts — how he never strikes a false note when he writes about music. Anyway . . .
She said she’d try and get me a photo. And she did.
A friend and I are planning a road trip for August 2013: a drive from Chicago to New Orleans, where he’ll be speaking on a panel at the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists.
The other night I dreamt about this trip, dreamt a dream that offered guidance worth sharing with my friend. Here is what I wrote him.
I do hope there’s been no misunderstanding over the business with the rifle. My insistence on retaining it was not motivated by a desire to “teach you a lesson” nor exact a petty bit of payback. Please know that I was not especially upset over your having hustled me onto that express bus at a moment when I was concerned over the fate of my missing wallet. Under the circumstances, your having opted to take the express to the conference hotel made sense, as you had a session you needed to get to, and my negligence, wallet-wise, could scarcely have been a concern of yours. Mildly hesitant though I was about the bus, I did not protest, as I counted on having an opportunity to hop off near that subterranean restaurant where I suspected I’d left the article, claim it, then join up with you later on. Whether or not you were aware that the bus would make no intermediate stops and that it would take us so very far from the restaurant is no longer at issue, being what you might call a “moot point.”
You are caramel and hot wax. I am a new wool sweater with a bull’s eye on its back. The ladder in the yard climbs high into the air and I go up, up, up. I’m afraid to look down. The ladder stands unsupported as if it’s a flagpole. I remove bandages until the fabric coils like snakes, but nothing within is wrapped except old air. A woman in line at the deli complains: “My feet are killing me and I can’t stand for very long because it hurts my back.” I suggest she should wait instead for service at the shoe store. Strangers don’t appreciate it when you’re trying to be helpful.
Rust. Irony can be found in iron itself. The carpet is not made of felt; the gray fibers are compressed years of fur, soil, and traffic. We organize a backyard BBQ and everyone brings potato salad. All of the potato salad is contaminated with e coli. What are the odds of that happening? You negotiated a 30% discount for your new tattoos but the artist used beige ink exclusively. Beyond normal expectations, we got it right! Unfortunately we are unable to locate, recognize, or analyze the data.
Midnight. One more night without sleepin’.
Watchin’. ‘Til the mornin’ comes creepin’.
Green door, what’s that secret you’re keepin’?
It’s true. AND: I did it in a dream the premise of which was: THIS IS NOT A DREAM.
You know how you have those dreams? Those other dreams? You realize, “Wait! This is a DREAM!”
This was not like that. THIS IS NOT A DREAM was the foundation of the dream.
The teak is carved and then formed around the skiff’s bulkheads and stringers. It has borne hours upon the pond, and sun-bleached months resting against the potting shed. Across the yard, the gambrel-roofed barn is filled with corn and alfalfa. The hayloft’s floor sags beneath its load of square bales. An oak rocking chair nods on the farmhouse’s back porch; the constant breeze sets the chair in nearly perpetual motion. Behind the rocker, a hunter’s longbow leans on clapboard siding.
Posted to Dubuque Freecycle list:
Offer: Dried hops flowers. For beer or pillows.
I built a house all around this day. I inspected the lumber piled in the lean-to, pulled stacks of boards from the moist blackness, planed and trimmed quarter-sawn planks, and checked decades-old Southern yellow pine for squareness and warp. No less than one hundred spiders perished on account of my actions, and for that I’m sorry. Read more
You’d think if I were going to dream about me and my friends being persecuted by Christians, I’d have set my dream where I grew up. Dallas, Texas. But I transferred it to an England I made up out of movies.
It’s a non-anecdote, really, as most dreams are.
This was over ten years ago, this dream, and I think what triggered it was a Vanity Fair cover featuring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Steerpike in a staged scene promoting a 2000 BBC serial based on Titus Groan, the first of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast books. The photograph annoyed me out of all proportion, as when I was a kitten of fifteen or so, my friends and I (the Gang of Six who are all still friends) were on a great Mervyn Peake kick, and I had clear notions, based largely on the Peake sketches, of how characters in any dramatization should look. When we were kids, we thought that if Dick Cavett were younger, he could play Steerpike in a Gormenghast film.
This alone is kind of funny. Imagine a group of kids at a Texas high school in 1969, avidly reading Mervyn Peake and sitting together in the school lunchroom to talk Gormenghast.
So: In the dream my friend Allen and I, together with Cooper Renner, were roving about England (generic, bucolic rural England) scouting locations for our own film based on Peake’s Gormenghast books.
Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, the directors of the documentary Jesus Camp, produced a short video at The New York Times about the dismantling of Detroit.
One freezing evening we happened upon the young men in this film, who were illegally dismantling a former Cadillac repair shop. They worked recklessly to tear down the steel beams and copper fasteners. They were in a hurry to make it to the scrap yard before it closed at 10 p.m., sell their spoils and head to the bar.
Surprisingly, these guys, who all lacked high school diplomas, seemed to have a better understanding of their place in the global food chain than many educated American 20-somethings. The young men regularly checked the fluctuating price of metals before they determined their next scrap hunt, and they had a clear view of where these resources were going and why.
that a long-time amour was a barn owl.
4. Walk with the devil
Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the “devil box.” And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you’re bringing over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.
(From WFMU’s Beware of the Blog. Via Brian Beatty.)
because to now I have posted 1964 posts. So this will be 1965. And that was a beautiful year. I was just old enough to know that I wanted to be a grown-up woman. In 1965.
At least one of those grown-up women in the movies. Or to have a hit record.
I stumbled across this website when i saw the title “Neglected Pet Dreams”. I just wanted to say what a relief it is to know that other people suffer from this weird syndrome? as well. I have horrific nightmares about my cats (still alive) and a rabbit that died over 15 yrs ago!! Why is this haunting me?? Does anybody have a clue!
The young man, the photographer hired by the insurance company, said his name was Keith. Keith Carradine. I thought that was a pretty odd choice on the part of his parents, even by dream logic.
On waking, I recalled that our neighbors the next street over from Dutton Drive had named their daughters after movie stars. Lana. And Rita. But their last names were not Turner. Nor Hayworth.