Thursday, July 25, 2013

Objects in your dreams may seem more weird than they really are

Sometimes it happens over coffee, but more often a few bottles of wine or several bottles of beer.  Perhaps it even comes with coffee and cognac after a splendid meal where at least one of the servings was comfort food.

The "it" that happens is the recollection of a past time or times, of a past person or persons, quite possibly a cherished animal friend.  There's been just enough companionability to bring nostalgia and remembrance into the collective mind of the conversation.  With this companionability comes the awareness that this moment, too, will be evoked one day, under similar circumstances.

Remember the times we used to...remember when...remember.

The "it" can also happen when you are driving somewhere, for instance taking the Garden Street on ramp onto 101 southbound, a frequent if not daily point of entry for you.  Up the entry ramp, watching ahead of you, through the rear view and side view mirrors to secure smooth entry into the traffic stream, needing to be alert to merge left in order to be free of the approaching exit strategies that will take traffic off the 101 and onto either north or south Milpas Street.

Safely positioned now, at optimal speed, southward toward Montecito, then beyond to Summnerland, you've done in actuality what you do so often during the course of the day.  You're focusing directly into the present, checking the rear view mirror of the past, using the side view for hints and orientation and a form of triangulation where you are now merged with the reality of now, a direct part of its process.

The "it" can also happen in your dreams, your imagination and memory and your individualized sense of imagery having direct effect on the visions that present themselves to you.  At times, you expect to see signs that read "Objects in your dreams may seem more weird than they really are."

Remembrance comes upon us as much without invitation as with, sending images and emotions almost as wary as you when, for instance, you are trying to merge with the southbound traffic on 101, or, miles north, when you've sheared off the 101 to 217, westbound to the campus of the University, then need to cope with the left turn that will take you past a triple opportunity for merging vehicles as you settle  along your way to Ucen (for University Center) Way, and your own destination.  Because of your past experiences, at this latter place before turning onto Ucen Way, you think of UCLA, which is where so much began for you and so much ended.  

You think of how being at UCLA ended whimsical thoughts that you might teach and sent you roaring off the grid, convinced you'd pretty much burned any bridges behind you that did not have to do directly with writing.  You think of how you were distracted from a job at a newspaper, southward toward the approximate venue of the current new television series on FX, The Bridge,  and how, instead, you went to follow the Foley and Burke Shows, which were carnival concessions.  

You did not think it in so many words, but you were aware of how your resume, if you were being accurate, would include experience at being a shill, running a baseball throw booth, a dart-throwing (at balloons) booth, a guess-your-age booth, and experience with a booth called add-pans, cupcake pans with numbers on each depression for an about-to-become cupcake.  Customers tried to toss tennis balls into numbered chambers whose aggregate total would be under nine or over nineteen.

When you are at Ucen Way, having thought of UCLA and then into the present moment again, you are aware you are there to do something you'd never thought you would do, but have in fact been doing nearly half your life.  You are there, at the College of Creative Studies, UCSB, as a visiting professor.

Some times the "it" of recollection can be a particular bit of recorded music, which sends you back to times when you heard the same or nearly same material being played live.  In a sense, you've outgrown Tschaikovsky's 1812 Overture, but you are presented the memory of when it was presented to you by your mentor and her husband, complete with a firing cannon and university carillons on their hi-fi stereo with the enormous loudspeakers.  

Nor can you forget the first time you saw/heard it live at the Hollywood Bowl, with puffs of smoke from the firing cannons hovering in the Summer evening mist,  and an even more spectacular display of ringing bells, the chime replaying in your ears and subsequent dreams.

The 1812 is a splendid example because you've outgrown the music, but you still rejoice in the memories of Rachel and King playing for you and sense of absolute power and mischief when you heard the Hollywood Bowl version.  You turned impulsively to your date to tell her, "I want to write books like that."  This was a fine thing to say to anyone but her; your relationship was already beyond saving, but it was your good fortune to have similar things to say to the cosmos about you and your increased good fortune (and occasional embarrassment) to remember having felt such power and mischief and given voice to them.

Remembrance has become for you an improvised connective device, using some event or object or person to send your gaze upward to the rear view mirror, in which you see then feel the effects of something from the past.  

You've made no attempt to catalogue such things.  You reckon the remembrances are about half pleasant, which may account for your frequent smile.  The other half of the remembrances tend toward the bitter-sweet, thus you are, in a way similar to the fact of you teaching after thinking you'd foreclosed that option, at least even with the cosmos, your most informed calculus being that you have at least a fifty percent chance of experiencing something of pleasant nature  in the present or in remembrance.

Even if you encounter the bittersweet or the entirely bitter, nearly any composition of Maurice Ravel (except for The Bolero) can turn things around, or those first four string quartets of Mozart, or pretty much anything by John Coltrane.

So what then if you happen to catch a sour rememberance.  There's always a good chance the next will take you back somewhere you once enjoyed.