Dita Parker

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mrs. Rochester goes to town

How are you, sweetie daaarlings? I'm, hmm, getting there. I've spent my days in bed lately, and not in a sexy way. But who said being sick was boring? I've been busy going places and meeting people. The strangest of places and the oddest of people.

I took the scientific approach and did a sensory deprivation experiment while lying in the throes of fever. OK, I didn't set out to to do an experiment but that's what I ended up doing. Hey, gotta take what you can get out of every experience, right? So. Silence, darkness, and an immobile, piping hot Dita, and not in a sexy way. Unless women down with influenza are your thing in which case I was It.

I soon lost track of time. An army of ants marched under my skin as if all my veins had been slashed open and my blood flowed freely, sloshing around. I sank into a state where I couldn't distinguish between sleep and wakefulness. Things I saw and heard while thinking I was awake were just a dream. And I did things I thought were just a dream but weren't. How do I know? I'd made notes.

That's what I found in my notebook, the one I keep next to the bed. My mind roaming freely albeit feverishly, I'd made notes. I found snippets of dialogue and descriptions. For what story? Hell if I know. But. My subconscious was not above hitting way below the belt. I'd also written down lines for stories I've already written and published. Lines that would have been awesome had they come to me months, years ago. Pieces that would have fit perfectly but were hopelessly late for the party.

The price of being a pantser? That vague feeling that maybe the story isn't done, that something, something you can't put your finger on is missing, you know it is, but you have to stop writing at some point and call it done The End. And it is done. The story is accepted and edited and published and congratulations you did it again moving on what else?

Obviously that vague, nagging feeling never leaves you. Or me. I haven't gone in search of those missing bits no one else seems to long for, but my subconscious has obviously been hard at work. Hard at work, my hot buns, and not in a sexy way. Unless women with hot-to-the-touch cheeks are your thing in which case I was It. More like slow at work because it sure took For-Frickin'-Ever and some serious sick days to finish certain stories. Too little too late too bad moving on what else?

What else? I got to meet someone I lost long ago, someone whose visit I've been looking forward to but they never had the time. They still had none. "I can't stay." I knew that. We met at some airport, late afternoon, sun hanging low, the light dusty yellow. They only said a few things, left me with something and then just left, but in that moment...happiness, pure and clean. I was light as a leaf, floating, swirling.

And then the bus went off the bridge. Always the same bus, always the same bridge. Bye-bye purse. Shoes off, coat off, anything that could pull me under, off with it. How do I manage it in seconds in a bus that's taken flight and is about to collide with water? It's a dream, hell if I know, but our dreams seem to know us.

The madwoman in the attic finds the door unlocked and goes on a cleaning spree to purge whatever 'filthy burden' weighs you down. Best not to stand in her way or dissect it too much. She knows what she's doing so let her work her magic and be done with it. How kind of your mind to heal and guide you when you need it the most so just let it, even if the method feels like a punishment, not a prize.

[If you know your Jung you know that he believed dreams were doors to the unconscious. Not a mask for but a mirror of your true self and your honest feelings and being open to whatever your dreams were telegraphing could help solve and resolve real life, waking life issues. Yeah, I know. I used to write off dreams as maudlin mumbo jumbo. I paid them no mind.

Then I went through a patch fraught with physical and emotional stress fringing on overload. Voluntarily but still. Sleep brought no relief. Sleep tossed me unarmed into knife fights. I got stabbed, without exception. I hid. Got stabbed. Fought back. Got stabbed. Attacked. Got stabbed. The pain was real and searing and you don't register it the second you get hurt but the second after when the wound opens and the blood flows.

The violence culminated one night as I lay face down on the ground while a man approached me, hand raised, holding a gun. This is usually the point where your mind yells cut and you wake up. Those stabbings hadn't killed me but as surely as I knew they were coming, that this would be one of those dreams, I knew the man with the gun wasn't stopping. And he didn't. He shot me in the head. He shot me dead. The one and only time I've died in my dreams.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger? Cliché? More like touché because after that final face-off the dreams changed. I became indestructible. A maudlin mess on the inside, perhaps, but a maudlin mess with superpowers. I'd pulled through. For all the violence, in some warped way, those recurrent dreams helped me survive something I thought would kill me. Congratulations you made it moving on what else?]

What else? Recurrent themes. My feverish self and I had debated whether you ever really get to choose your stories or do they choose you, make a mess upstairs, scream and stomp around, that madwoman in the attic, until you're forced to let her out and be done with it. Do you own up to any in your writing or favorite reads? Are they conscious choices on your part? We say we read for pleasure. And nothing else? Would we write or read a story if it wasn't up our alley? How often do we pick up a book/theme/genre off our alley? Honestly. What's behind our choices? Better not dissect it too much lest it stop working its magic?

Because it is pure magic, isn't it, the power of stories. As with dreams, the best are vivid but very few are lucid. We may not know the mechanism behind it all, the triggers and buttons, the hows and whys, but those stories, those fantasies, they know us or else the effect they have on us wouldn't be real, and it is, isn't it, whether that effect is physical, intellectual or emotional. Fear, lust, love, loathing, anger, pain, pride, envy. As with dreams they are real reactions. Real life reactions to fabricated worlds.

I find the power of stories and myths simply astounding. I find our fascination with them super interesting. I find people fascinating period. If there's no arguing about taste, why call anything a 'guilty pleasure' (an ontological oddity that makes my brain sprain)? What are we ashamed or afraid of? What our tastes reveal about us? Too much? Everything? What we love, hate, fear, despise, hope and lust for? Or are we just trying to understand what it all means to others? Better not dissect it too much lest you lose your ability to enjoy your filthy fix?

All guilt no pleasure and labels like filthy make many a therapist a boatload of money and the pharmacy industry very happy. Not making light of anyone's real plight or calling either mental health care professionals or pill makers pushers, just saying that the madwoman in the attic may, in all her primal intensity, be wiser and smarter and saner than we give her credit for. She knows it's all about myths and symbols and fantasies and dreams. We're the ones who insist there is a real world, a real life, that reigns supreme over the invisible, and that we are in control. She knows it's all one and the same and that we are in denial.

That's what the notebook said, how the scrawlings read. Told you I dove off the deep end while I drenched the sheets, and not in a sexy way, unless a woman coming down from a severe fever is your thing in which case I was It. And what does that tell us about you, hmm? Now if I could only decipher what that bus dream means...

Oh well. Time for another primal scream if there ever was one, a time to let it all hang out: carnival season. Too bad I'm still recovering. Doesn't mean there won't be a party, a party where the madwoman in the attic is queen, a party where myths and symbols and fantasies and dreams live in perfect cacophonic harmony with the 'real world' and 'real life' and hell yes in a sexy way. Unless a good time including but not limited to music, dancing, tipple and nibbles isn't your thing in which case you're not invited. Nah. Of course you are. The price of admission? That for once you trust your dreams not your thoughts.

No comments: