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Even now, I persist in believing that these black marks on white paper bear the greatest significance, that if I keep writing I might be able to catch the rainbow of consciousness in a jar.

Jeffrey Eugenides

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Friday, August 8th, 2008

🦋 Dream is essentially poetry

Today, I added a new quotation to the list of epigraphs for this site.

Dream is not a revelation. If a dream affords the dreamer some light on himself, it is not the person with closed eyes who makes the discovery but the person with open eyes lucid enough to fit thoughts together. Dream -- a scintillating mirage surrounded by shadows -- is essentially poetry.

This seems like a beautiful description of what dreams are and how we can make use of them. I found it at deborahb's LiveJournal -- she had taken it from quoteworld, which rather bizarrely attributes it to Jesse Jackson. I believe the correct attribution is to Michel Leiris.

posted afternoon of August 8th, 2008: Respond

Monday, May 19th, 2008

🦋 Dream blogging

Last night I was reading Thomas Pynchon's new novel (!), Stockton (!!), out loud to Sylvia (!!!). Alas I cannot remember any of the content. The curious thing about the book was that it had these metallic spinners embedded in it with a word or words on each side; but no explicit direction for how to use them. The reader needed to experiment with each one as he came to it, and see how its words could be integrated into the surrounding text. The largest of these spinners contained the entire final sentence of the book, with several possible ways of constructing it.

posted morning of May 19th, 2008: Respond

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

🦋 Dream blogging

So last night I was maintaining code for a program which loaded a helper program for handling data files. Before it executed the helper program it would check the sum of the binary, I think because certain instances of the helper needed special handling; if the sum was not on a list of recognized values, the program would log an error and exit. Unfortunately the helper program was not stable and was being recompiled frequently; every time this happened I needed to edit the list of recognized sums, which was hard-coded into the main program, and recompile the main program. I was embarrassed about such a stupid bit of code being in the program so I was editing, compiling, and distributing the main program without mentioning it to anybody. What a stressful dream that was!

(Sort of ties everything together in a way, that I woke up humming Bessie Smith's "Gimme Pigfoot", which was in Gertrude Sturdley's post this week and which I was working on a fiddle version of last night.)

posted morning of May 7th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Programming

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

🦋 Dream blogging

Wild -- I dreamt last night that the print edition of The Nation had a column of reader comment about blogs, and that someone using the handle "erms" (a sneaky pseud for Emerson? was my first thought) had written in to say READIN was "the second Google hit for anything book-related" and "the most consistently boring blog on the Internet". And I'm such a publicity hound, I was lapping it up! In the dream I was posting something here to the effect of "should I feel flattered or consider packing it in?" as an excuse for linking to the article.

posted morning of March 16th, 2008: Respond

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

🦋 Dream blogging

So I'm sitting at a desk with a couple of notebooks lying open on it, and with many drawers. Each drawer, when I open it, contains a jumble of books I am reading or have read or am planning to read, papers with partial paragraphs written in my hand -- mostly excerpts from stuff I have actually written or have actually intended to write -- and random junk like seashells, paperclips, lint, etc. I am trying to write, and I scribble a line here and there on a paper at the top of one of these piles, or on one of the notebooks open on top of the desk; but I can't bring myself to disturb the disorder in the drawers. (Rarely do I have a dream so amenable to interpretation.)

posted morning of November 23rd, 2007: Respond

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

🦋 Tying some threads together

(Well, or tangling them up at least.)

I woke up this morning with an image from my dream fully formed.

A man about my age is at a family gathering -- the crowd includes his parents, brothers and sisters and their families, and his child or children. Maybe some of his aunts and uncles as well. He is stoned and is scribbling random-seeming lines on a large piece of blank paper as he narrates in a kind of vindictive, complaining way. A few people are listening to him, others are involved in their own conversations. He moves on to something else and his son (perhaps nephew), 4 or 5 years old, starts coloring in the scribbles, eventually coming out with a very nice picture of a scene from the fairy-tale "The Frog King".
Thinking about this brought to mind Shekure's observations about dreaming from My Name is Red; and that made me suddenly realize that my insight on Friday about bragging and complaining is exactly parallel to Shekure's thoughts -- with the added clarification that what I was talking about was not "ways of thinking" but "ways of narrating" my thoughts, talking about what I am thinking. And that Shekure was not saying she wouldn't tell a dream; she was just pointing out that the relation would be a lie in fundamental ways.

posted morning of September 11th, 2007: Respond

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

🦋 The dreams we recount

Here is what Shekure has to say about dreaming, in Chapter 26:

Dreams are good for three things:

ا :  You want something but you just can't ask for it. So you'll say that you've dreamed about it. In this manner, you can ask for what you want without actually asking for it.
ب :  You want to harm someone. For example, you want to slander a woman. So, you'll say that such-and-such woman is committing adultery or that such-and-such pasha is pilfering wine by the jug. I dreamed it, you'll say. In this fashion, even if they don't believe you, the mere mention of the sinful deed is almost never forgotten.
ج :  You want something, but you don't even know what it is. So, you'll describe a confusing dream. Your friends or family will immediately interpret the dream and tell you what you need or what they can do for you. For example, they'll say: You need a husband, a child, a house...

The dreams we recount are never the ones we actually see in our sleep. When people say they've "seen it," they simply describe the dream that is "dreamed" during the day, and there's always an underlying purpose. Only an idiot would describe his actual nighttime dreams exactly as he's had them. If you do, everyone will make fun of you or, as always, interpret the dreams as a bad omen. No one takes real dreams seriously, including those who dream them. Or, pray tell, do you?

It is impossible to pick from this cornucopia a signature line -- so much in it that just arrests your thoughts and makes you backtrack, retrace the steps of reason that have brought you to where you are.

posted evening of August 30th, 2007: Respond
➳ More posts about My Name is Red

Monday, January second, 2006

🦋 Dream blogging

Weird dream last night that I think was vaguely related to having read John Quiggin's post on terrorism and cancer* last night. Somebody I did not know except through blogs had ordered a prescription of epinephrine pseudoephedrine from an online prescription counter, and mistakenly had it delivered to my address. Then they realized the whole thing was a mistake since that combination of drugs is illegal. (I don't know if it actually is -- I remember a scandal about that drug combination a year or two ago but not the upshot of it -- in the dream it was definitely illegal.) So they contacted me and asked me to return the drugs, with complicated instructions I was to give to the online pharmacy about modifying the prescription and resending it to their address. I packaged it up and addressed it, but then left it by the front door and forgot about it until a few weeks later, when the other party contacted me with a very urgent message wondering what was going on.

Woke up singing "Ep,inEPHrine, pseudo,ephEDrine" to a square-dancy tune**, and thinking I should go to Crooked Timber and leave a tongue-in-cheek comment to John's post, to the effect that "If we ever needed a regulatory state apparatus like the FDA, that day is certainly past -- with the advent of the internet and world-wide web, the only tool the consumer really needs to find out whether a particular drug is safe and effective, is Google!" but decided against it.

*Just realized the connection may not be immediately clear: propertarians in the comments thread are putting down on the FDA, is why I thought there might be a connection. And for some cognitive dissonance, see this Making Light post, in which Teresa is angry at the FDA, or, well, at Public Citizen for its lobbying of the FDA.

**Aha! the tune was Roly Poly by Fred Rose. "Square-dancy" is probably a poor choice of adjectives, picked it in a hurry and it does not communicate much of relevance here.

posted morning of January second, 2006: Respond

Saturday, December 24th, 2005

🦋 Dream blogging

An odd blog tie-in in last night's dream.

We were in our back yard, and Wayne and Darcy had come over for breakfast. (Approximately; this is where my memory of the dream begins and there are some complexities I'm missing.) In the dream, they lived next door instead of across the street. We went with them to watch the dress rehearsal of a children's theater production, perhaps it was in the auditorium at South Orange Middle School. The first act of the show featured some alphabet-themed singing, with kids holding up letter signs. However they were not holding them up in order or waiting their turn -- I couldn't tell if this was an intentional part of the production. Sasha was playing a role, and Amy Scherber (my one-time employer) was directing. It gradually emerged that I was supposed to be doing something in the production but it was not clear exactly what. I did not have a script and there was some suggestion that my role was not in the script in any case.

As the second act began, Amy suggested that I should read as a voice-over, some of Kevin Drum's posts "from around the time he started writing posts about Jim Henley." This made sense to me (though it does not now) and I gamely started searching Kevin's archives for such posts. The woman seated next to me suggested I should search for woodworking-related posts -- again, not sure why; I remember looking at her laptop and noticing a large key where "Esc" should be, labeled "Sanskrit", and wondering about that.

posted morning of December 24th, 2005: Respond

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

🦋 Dream Blogging

Microdream: As I arrive at work in the morning, an invisible claw closes around me and lifts me cradled into the air, where Ben Wolfson or a hologram of him is standing next to me and reading an announcement from my dentist, instructing me to remember to come to my appointment this morning (which I had forgotten). But the appointment is only minutes away and I, Country Doctor-like, do not see how I can possibly make it in time.

I wake up thinking, "Oh crap, do I have a dentist appointment this morning?" But I do not; the dream must have had something to do with tonight's Unfogged meetup (where Ben will not be) -- not sure what though.

posted morning of December 13th, 2005: Respond

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