A disembodied array of small yellow lights five across and six down, mounted on a metal framework follow me through a dense fog. Sometimes they are in front of me, sometimes behind. Always too close; always threatening. It was a recurrent nightmare when I a young child. I can't explain how menacing those lights were, only that I woke up drenched in sweat, terrified.

the present moment

Listening Notes:

Carrerras, Domingo and Pavarotti

Abby Newton (Crossing to Scotland)


Books in the Queue:

A Life Worth Living: A Doctor's Reflections on Illness in a High-Tech Era by Robert Martensen (recommended by a writing mentor and friend)

From Where You Dream: the process of writing fiction by Robert Olen Butler

Writing Fiction: a guide to narrative craft by Janet Burroway and Elizabeth Stuckey-French

The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura

The Methodist Hymnal (from our summers in Rice Cove in the Beaverdam Community, Canton, North Carolina)




Walks the great labyrinthine night by the light of a three-quarter moon, accompanied by owls; lays a path of antique carved wood dominoes end to end. Their purloined, forbidden ivory dots flash a holographic image; a map. Words were the way in. Words are the way out.


11 thoughts on “Map

  1. For the longest time, I wondered amd fretted about my dreams of spiked fences. These dreams occurred after I was struck by a car near Ramstein, Germany in 1968. My brother kept telling me that the spikes represented punjee (sp?) stakes that were placed in Vietnam to sabotage US soldiers.


  2. I often find myself not being able to get back to where I started…never the same place twice, though…and I don’t know the people in the dream, either.
    Thanks, Beth, for your recent comment on my blog…you are so perceptive, one of the reasons we all love you.
    And your book queue rocks! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on The Book of Tea in particular…^-^


  3. You said as a child. Any such dreams as an adult?
    To me dreams are mysterious and miraculous evidence of the creative power of our minds. It’s much easier for me to interpret other people’s dreams than my own, except when I try to recount a dream verbally.
    I’m puzzled that in 40 years, I’ve never dreamed of Vietnam once. Given what happened to me there.
    But I have other recurring dreams based on life experiences. Over 100 variations of the same dream, more dreary than horrible. Never one that makes me wake up in a sweat.
    The next time you look up at the three-quarter moon, try to really see it for what it is. That might unburden your heart a little.


  4. For years I had reoccurring dreams about not finding my way home. They were about a house I lived in when I was a kid, one of my favorites, but we moved way just after Kennedy was shot in 1963. Then in the 1980s I went back to that neighborhood and found the house. It was a surreal experience. I never had those can’t find my way home dreams again.
    Do you still have your dreams?


  5. I still have vivid dreams, Jim. (See the category Dreamworld where a couple of them are written). Its interesting that you stopped that recurring uncomfortable dream about not being able to find your way home by going back and finding the actual house.


  6. No such dreams as an adult, Denny. Lots of strange and wondrous ones, though, and occasionally the mundane. On those rare occasions when I have a really thrilling, complex dream that is very vivid, I try to scribble it out immediately. If I do, it stays with me and never goes away. I “think” we can train our brains to remember our dreams. Some seem to be a symbolic working out of a creative question; others seem to be the infelicitous result of too much pizza and chocolate!


  7. That’s very interesting, Dick. I don’t have that nightmare about lights anymore, but I still think about it and think that one day, I’ll say, “Aha! Now I know what those lights were. . .” How about you? Did you ever figure out if there was something in your house that triggered the nightmares?


  8. The nightmare vanished around the age of 10, Beth, and I’ve never had it since. As to its provenance, no clear ideas, but it occurred at a time of deep insecurities.


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