today I chased a
dream to ground
it was none too grand
a simple longing more
I should have known
the result would be
less than thrilling
the dream I caught
it turned to dust
on touch and so
it left me feeling
of the emptiness
within me and how
with a certain irony
I suffer this urge to go
hunt another vision.
Tag Archives: dreams
today I chased a
an ode to the field of broken dreams
when a field once filled with
dreams has gone to seed
what happens to those dreams
does hope survive amongst the weeds
or are all our dreams destined to
be laid to rest in faded chalk and dust
while empty bleachers buckle and rust
bereft of cheer for either the eyes or ears
—family and friends having long disappeared
and what of the champions of such dreams
what of the home team long disheartened
have they too retreated defeated to their houses or
does each fight on alone to keep the dream alive
waiting only for that triumphant day to arrive
when (refusing to let all that’s been dreamt slowly
fade and die) once more as one will they take to the
fields of vision and defend the everyday dreams of the
common dreamer in us all.
it’s a sacrificial tendency to
want to save pillows/people
from their feather-down fates
for what is it worse to be? the first
or last of one’s kind who retreats
into sleep, perchance to dream
so as to feel the teeth of the felt prowl
wolf pack who feed their master while
they eat their young or to rather be
the god that failed or its creature
that lives with its head in the clouds
of nostradamus’s oily scrying bowl
prophesying the future harvest
of souls right before the very eyes of
our disbelieving four-shadowed race.
It’s days like this
I wish I’d studied law
like I was meant to
rather than scratching
out an existence as
an anonymous poet bum
there is no retirement fund
for self-funded scribblers and
the perks of sleeping in
are wearing thin, as is
the fact no one will look me
in the eye when I say I’ve
had a good year again
and now even my own dreams
conspire against me telling
me I’ve chosen the wrong path
I should have studied law they say
but I threw it all away to study
the whispers of clouds and
the daydreams that keep
piling up inside my head
not to mention the view.
I’ve decided to name Coleridge’s infamous person from Porlock Bennett Channing. By way of background, for those of you who are unsure of whom I speak, the mysterious Mr Channing is that inconsiderate (and previously anonymous) personage responsible for rousing Samuel Taylor Coleridge (STC) from his slumber, at the exact moment the great Romantic poet had been busily composing his masterwork Kubla Khan, while under the influence of an opium-induced reverie.
Immediately upon waking (or so the story goes) STC had next promptly forgotten the greater part of what would go on to become one of the most revered poems within English literature. For evidently the poem as we know it is but a mere fragment of a supposedly more complete work of genius lost due to said misfortune.
Likewise, I too have experienced my very own “Bennett Channing”-moment this very morning. Hence, my obvious eagerness to “name and shame” that oafish interloper who would banish nocturnal poetic invention by visiting unbidden on business unspecified.
In my own case, I had been blissfully dreaming of my writing the perfect blog post, when I was awoken rudely mid-dream by the sound of the bedroom door creaking inward, as though opening of its own accord. Immediately whereupon all knowledge of the “perfect post” in question’s topic and content were completely lost to me, receding after the manner of mist being met by the first rays of the rising dawn sun.
With no logical explanation to account for why the bedroom door should have acted in such a way, I have since been forced to infer that I have fallen prey to the ghost of Coleridge’s selfsame person from Porlock, still roaming the land and looking for dreams of unusual genius to dispel.
There seems to be no other suitable conclusion that I can reach to account for my tragic loss. Which is why I wish to identify both Coleridge’s and my intellectual assailant, for evermore, as being none other than one Mr Bennett Channing. So that you too, who read this, should not suffer the same sorry fate.
But what of the “perfect post”, to which I have alluded earlier, I hear you ask? Alas, I remember nothing more about it other than, maddeningly, that it was truly perfect…
So, damn you, Mr Bennett Channing! Ghost or no ghost, you have no right barging your way into the sleeping sanctity of an inventive writer’s dream-life. Damn you, back to hell, sirrah, I say! For on the honeydew of the perfect blog post [I] hath fed, only to be next awoken and left with nothing but the taste of ashes remaining in my mouth! Good day, to you, most foul fiend!
From its branches
Hangs every answer
To those questions
So want answered
The bat-winged queries
And owl-hooted theories
As well as Nightwood
From deep within
Its bark of darkness
The Tree of Dreams
Sends forth roots of starless
Meaning to set the minds
Of dreamers’ reeling
Until daylight hours
Should dispel the shades
Of our soul’s truth
“Follow your dreams” is a phrase we hear all the time. But how often do any of us actually take this advice to heart?
Well, anyhow, for the last few days I’ve been doing exactly just that — following a dream. And by dream I mean a literal dream. In other words the kind of dream we experience when we are asleep.
So, to elaborate, I had this dream a couple of months ago, in which I was deliberating about where I would most like to live. What was unusual, though, was that the dream next actually also provided me with a specific location, in answer to what represented the ideal place for me to relocate to.
Okay, let’s fast forward two months to now and cue music for a “road trip” montage. Because that’s what I’m currently doing, in fact. You see, I’m on a road trip to check out this prophesied land of milk and honey, as named in my dream.
It’s a 1500 kilometer round trip. And I’m not sure what it is I’m expecting to find at the end of the rainbow. But I’m following my dream just the same.
It’s a long shot, sure. But after spending all day driving and thinking about how I wanted to write today’s blog about following your dreams I randomly stopped in at a small, country cafe.
And guess what the first thing my eyes fell upon as I entered said cafe, hungry from spending all day searching for a sign I wasn’t on some sort of wild goose chase?
If you want to know what it was, take a look at the photo I took with my iPhone, below…
In an earlier post I gave a description of what I (along with many others) term spiritual alchemy — see here for that previous article.
Anyway, today what I wanted to focus on was how my own personal approach to spiritual alchemy informs and helps shape what I create as an artist.
For this purpose, I will be talking today in this context, in particular, about the novel I have written called Missing Zero. The subtitle of which reads thus, “an alchemical account of one man’s dissent from madness”.
A work of satire primarily, the novel incorporates many of the techniques of spiritual alchemy within its pages. And I will set about now trying to throw some light on what exactly some of those are, as well as what they entail.
First off, the most prevalent technique I use is one that is most widely known as dialoguing. My experience with this idea comes from what Jung called “active imagination” exercises. The basic gist is that you take a dream figure or absent party and you talk with them. The only twist is that you also supply the other person’s responses, by imagining what they would say if they were actually physically present.
So, you see, as an adjunct to the creative process of writing itself, I then took this technique of dialoguing to the next level and started having conversations with my novel, just as if it were another person in real life. In my imagination, therefore, I would picture myself, sitting on a beach talking to my book, only my book had the form of a woman, and I would ask it questions.
“But why on Earth would you do that?” I hear you asking incredulously. “Are you crazy?”
Well, crazy is as crazy does. Although what I really mean to say is that within a discipline like spiritual alchemy the division between sane and crazy often becomes quite fuzzy. But there is nearly always a benefit to be had from blurring the line in this fashion, believe me.
Let me explain further. The exact reason why I wished to talk to my novel was so I could ask for its help whenever I came to an impasse in the writing of it. For instance, by way of my asking the novel (it obviously still being in the form of a woman) what it wanted to be or why I couldn’t finish a certain section of the story, I was able to get unexpected insights into whatever it was I was currently struggling with.
Of course, the key to this process rests entirely in any given person’s ability to suspend his or her disbelief. And, I suppose, it’s equally obvious to say, like anything, it gets easier the more you do it. But most importantly of all, does it actually work?
Well, yes, in my case, I would have to say it worked for me. Not because I now have an option with Hollywood for a three-film deal against the novel’s book rights. But rather instead because I got through the process of writing my debut novel relatively in one piece.
Take a quick tour of other people’s blogs and one of the first things you’ll see is how many of them have bucket lists. And so, then, let me tell you, I’m not really all that different to anybody else. I’ve got my own version of one of these lists. Moreover, guess what, writing a novel pretty much headed my list.
For some people it’s bungee jumping, while for others it’s climbing to the base camp at Everest. But we spiritual alchemists are mountaineers of the soul, and so therefore my bucket list was always going to be about internal challenges and triumphs.
Whatever. Ultimately what all of this means is that I am am now free to move onto the next entry on my list, namely “securing an option with Hollywood for a three-film deal against the novel’s book rights”…hey, you’ve got to remember alchemy has always been about turning stuff into gold, right? So why not a little Oscar gold, awarded for Best Adapted Screenplay created from an original story, as well?
So, anyway, check this out, soon after I finished writing my novel I dreamt that Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi played two key roles in the dream version of just such a film of my book. It was a brilliant piece of casting, and one that I would never have been able to come up with on my own.
Portia played the role of Dualia, a much-maligned and misunderstood hermaphrodite, whereas Ellen played the role of Dr Marie Louise von Auerbach, her “attention-shy but brilliant” superior within the ranks of a clandestine sisterhood of political anarchists. The “urst” between them was palpable.
I know, I know, you don’t care about that, because what you’re still really itching to find out (from earlier on) is what my novel said she wanted to be when I asked her that very question. Ok, I’ll tell you. In essence, then, just like everybody else, she said she felt a need to make a connection with other people. And the exact words she spoke to express this feeling were these…”I want to be understood”.