Category Archives: dreams

The Curse of Being Creative

“Oh, I just hate you, you can draw so well!  I always wished I could draw like that.”

Yes, the perfect thing to hear when you are a twelve year old boy in the sixth grade, and you are hearing it from the girl in your class whom you most want to have a chance to see naked when you grow up.  Being smart, creative, and according to Alicia when we were twelve, “You’re so funny,” is not really as fun and wonderful as you might imagine.  There’s a downside to being highly creative.

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First of all, there’s that.  Yes, the naked part of the illustration above.  An artist, especially one who also writes and knows how to write from the heart, makes himself or herself naked all the time.  The secret parts on the inside come out constantly.  You can’t have a private, embarrassing, or secret thought without it being obviously discernible somewhere in the artworks you create.  Even the perverted ones like the one about wanting to see Alicia naked when I was twelve.  If nakedness is one of things that is on your creative little mind even though it is the one thing that you wish really wasn’t there at all, guess which of the many things on your creative little mind is going to come out first.   Artists walk around naked in front of the world all the time, no matter how many clothes they put on.

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Secondly, you don’t seem to be able to think like normal people do.  Normal people are not divergent thinkers.  They are not constantly trying to stand on their head before looking at the world, connecting bizarre things together and seeing the world in constantly shifting and highly exotic colors.  I imagine normal people probably walk around all the time with Elton John tunes playing in their head, thinking only about what they ate for lunch and then posted pictures of on Facebook.  The lights are not always on in their attic, and they certainly don’t have ghost dogs and booger-men named Douglas playing noisy games of full contact tackle Parcheesi in there during the middle of the night.  They don’t have wake-up-sweating nightmares about being attacked by ducks with gigantic white dentures.

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There are no Clowntown Kops throwing pies at them in their daydreams about rescuing naked Alicias from sinister bald villains with trained seals for evil minions.  Their minds go round and round on a single railroad track on an ordinary oval path.  Unlike my mind that is a multi-tracked switch yard where you have to approach going at least ninety miles and hour, losing a single car at every switch, nearly careening sideways off the track at least three times, and having to come together as a train on the other side, collecting all the cars again at high speed and chugging down the tracks to destinations unknown.

And it is all too easy to see the future when you are both creative and at least mildly perceptive.  I knew the Cubs were going to win the World Series.  I knew Trump would become our leader.  I still pray that I am wrong about the whole world-ending thing.

Being creative is not easy.  Sometimes it hurts more than it makes you laugh.  It leaves you naked and vulnerable.  It makes you think in abnormal ways that are studied by abnormal psychiatrists.  And it makes you see and understand things that you really wish you were still ignorant of.  But would I trade it for anything else?  Hmm… let me think about that one for a few more years.20161112_205317

 

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, clowns, dreams, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Bubble People

I was recently gifted with the eye-opening event of having my own personal soap bubble of beliefs, dreams, and hopes popped by an angry, dyspeptic orangutan.  Yes, he got elected to the most powerful position of leadership on the planet Earth.  And, as I was hurt in the fall from my rudely popped bubble, I began to think about the nature of the bubbles we live in and plot my evil revenge.

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You see, people all live in bubbles of perception.  There are limits to what you can see, hear, learn, accept, believe, and understand.  Those limits are the walls of the soap bubble we create for ourselves in the empty warehouse of our own mind.  I know I have just revealed that what I am talking about is completely metaphorical, but all you people out there who live in literal-minded, practically impenetrable bubbles need to be reminded that metaphorical truth is still truth.

In politics, there now seem to be two main classes of bubble that exist separately and prevent many people from seeing and understanding the perceptions of many other people.  There are conservative bubble people.  There are also liberal bubble people.

Conservative is supposed to mean that they like what they currently have and want to preserve it.  I include here not just possessions, but values, goals, religions, hopes, and dreams.  Liberal traditionally means that they are dissatisfied with what they currently have and want change.  Looking at this construct carefully reveals that anyone who is liberal should be seeking change, but once they have it, should then become satisfied and change into a conservative.  Similarly, if they are conservative, but things change into a new set of things that they don’t like, they should become liberals.  But in our political system, these labels have become set in stone.  And I should warn you, putting stone letters on a soap bubble will invariably pop it.  Conservative bubble people have added concrete mix to the walls of their bubbles to harden it, so that it won’t pop.  Liberals have done the same.  Though, I believe Republican conservative bubble people have somehow found a concrete mix that, when it hardens, makes it impenetrable by facts, science, and logic.  Not to be outdone, though, liberals have added bizarre chemicals to their mix that makes their bubbles impenetrable by feelings, emotion, and religion.  The collective effect of all this bubble-fixing is that all bubble people’s bubbles have become dark and no longer transparent.  You cannot see through them.

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It is no wonder that when liberals look at conservative bubbles they think, “These people are just selfish, money-hungry, and evil, and will do anything for a profit.  They don’t care what’s best for everybody.”

Conversely, conservatives look at liberal bubbles and think, “They are unfeeling control freaks who want to take away our freedom to do what we believe in.  They want to tell us what we can do.  They are trying to take away our rights.”

So, humorist and crack-brained nitwit that I am, I have come up with an evil plan to undo this opaque-bubble nightmare.  I intend to look inside lots of bubbles and find ways to make them more transparent again.  I also intend to invite everyone I know, and everyone who reads this, to do the same.  That should help.

But I should warn you, I am not the only one looking to manipulate bubble people.  There are a bunch of rich and cynical folks out there too who are busy playing billiard games with a majority of the fossilized opaque bubbles .  Once bubbles start popping, more people will be hurt.

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Of Nightmares and Publishing

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Okay, I don’t mean to mislead you with the title.  My nightmares last night were not caused by publishing a book.  But there is a connection.  So be patient with me and let me explain.

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Last night I kept waking up to the smell of something burning… the smell of pine wood smouldering, the acrid smell of plastic on fire, the nose-offending smell of human hair on fire…  So I get up multiple times in the night, searching the house in my underwear, sniffing about to try to detect where in the walls or under the furniture the smell is coming from.  I scared my wife at least once in the kitchen… sometime around 2:00 a.m.  And the more awake I became the less I could smell the something that was burning.  It turns out that was because it was only in a nightmare that I smelled it.  The house was burning down around me in a dream, and the dream lingered after I awoke, even though I had forgotten about the dream entirely as I woke.   It was a classic anxiety dream.

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What, though, do I actually have going on that causes me this kind of nightmare?  I mean, besides Donald Trump being elected President of the United States, the impending end of life on Earth, and Bank of America suing me with hopes of wiping out my personal finances completely?

I am, foolishly, trying to publish another novel.

I promise to tell you a bit more about this novel in the near future.  But let me tell you first why publishing it is causing anxiety dreams.

Magical Miss Morgan is a novel about being a school teacher.  It is based on real experiences in my teaching life.  I used the time my teaching methods were opposed by a school board candidate.  I also used the time a principal told me that school shouldn’t teach kids to think because that didn’t turn them into good citizens.  I used real kids I once taught as characters.  I even used the time that fairies invaded my classroom.  Oh, but that last one might be slightly fictionalized.

So, even though the main character, Miss Francis Morgan, is not actually me, this novel is a distillation of my entire struggle to be a worthy teacher and accomplish something good as an educator.  My goal during my teaching career was to teach kids to think for themselves, to guide their own lifelong learning, and feel like they were valuable enough as individuals that somebody could actually care about them individually… even the hardest ones to like.  One would think there was nothing controversial at all in this goal.  But this novel tells how I fought that battle.  It is a story that I owe it to everyone I ever taught to tell.

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I have turned to Page Publishing to put this novel into print.  Not just digital, online copies, but into real print-on-pages books.  I have no talent or luck when it comes to marketing, but I am determined to make this book real even though this is a vanity press sort of publisher that makes their money by taking advantage of dewy-eyed writing fools like me.  Yes, I am buying the services of their editorial staff and design staff and there will be no money flowing my way any time soon.  This is the way publishing has been changing.  Publishers are still the farmers and writers have become the milk cows.  I just have to hope the milk won’t be sour.

So, I am having nightmares of burning the house down because I am following my dream of making a book.  But it is an important book… at least it is to me.

 

 

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Filed under dreaming, dreams, education, fairies, foolishness, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, publishing

Teacher Dreams

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Last night I dreamed I was standing in front  of a classroom again.  But it wasn’t a nightmare.  I had clothes on.  It wasn’t a comfortable situation either.  It was a new teaching assignment with a new classroom and new students I had never met before.  And I had been given no time to prepare my classroom or write lesson plans… and I was late.  The students were already there.  Nervously staring at me, their new teacher, a total goofball-looking goon with a gray beard and goofy Mickey grin on his silly-stupid face.

But the crazy thing is, I could’ve done the job.  I have faced the first day of classes 31 times.  I know how to do the job and do it well… from memory.  I know first-day procedures better than any other lesson type I have ever done.  And I got good at it over time.  In fact, I reached a point in the 1990’s where I told a colleague, “You know, if I had to pay the school money to let me be a teacher, I would do it.  But please don’t tell them that.”  And I worried for real a few years later when she became a guidance counselor, because that is only a step away from administrator, and in Texas they would definitely pay you nothing if they could legally get away with it.

Teacher

But the dream wasn’t totally a regret dream or filled with sadness over having to retire.  I have been in the situation of that dream before.  I started my teaching career in a poor South Texas school district.  The junior high supply budget was basically the money from the Coke machine and whatever the principal had in his pocket (which was usually lint).  I have taught classes with more students in them than there were desks to sit in.  I have taught classes with no textbooks.  I routinely bought things to use for lessons with my own money and made things with my goofy-cartoony art skills.  I have taught a number of times directly out of my memory and imagination with no books or notes to turn to.  An experienced teacher has got skills.  So I woke up from my dream feeling good and satisfied.  It was the feeling you get from a job well done.  The kind of satisfaction you get from thinking on your feet and still managing to come up with the right answer.

I wish I was still teaching.  I could not move my achy old body through rows of desks now if my life depended on it, so I can’t go back in a classroom, but I still wish I could.  Maybe I can clone myself and convince a younger me that teaching is not really the totally terrible idea it seems as a career, especially in Texas.  But maybe now it is only the stuff of dreams… and goopy wish-fulfillment posts by a slightly insane former teacher.

Blue and Mike in color

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The Notion That Pictures Are Stories

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There are things that you have in your pointy little head sometimes that can’t be said in words.  They are like the sparks of truth you find in dreams… they make no sense at all if you take them out of the theater that plays in your head and shine the light of actual day upon them.  They only have meaning inside your mind, where it is dark and safe and ideas percolate, breed, and become dangerous.  There is enough magic in dreams to solve the world’s problems.  And yet, if try to take it out into the real world to use it, it evaporates and becomes a pointless silly pile of goofiness.

Case in point, in dreams it is marvelously wonderful to be naked in the jungle.  Nothing between you and the raw nature around you.  It works in dreams.  It works when you read Rudyard Kipling’s The First Jungle Book.  But in real life, the sun will burn you, the rats will chew your bare toes, and the mosquitoes will drink all your blood.

Leap of Faith

What viewed from the outside is irrational and unfathomable, makes perfect sense from the inside looking out.  What do these words even mean?  You must be asleep to really know.  I speak of that inner knowing… that faith that resides deep down inside of all of us that we do have answers to the most terrifying questions of life.  That sense that if you make the leap of faith, you will not fall… you will fly instead.

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Case in point, people are not literally blue.  But when you sleep, perchance to dream, it can seem the whole world is blue, and not just merely literally you.  Blue skin, blue heart, blue eyes…  It hurts to be alive.  But if you are hurting, you have to believe you really are alive.  The pain brings clarity, certainty… it is why you pinch yourself to wake yourself up from dreams.

I know this all sounds witless, rambling, and goofy, but that is the general point.  The truth, if the truth exists, is found in rambling, witless and goofy.

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Dreams Really Do Come True

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Last night a tornado dream, the one I posted about on January 4th, came true.  We had five earthquakes in Carrollton, Texas.  Of course, none of the epicenters were in Carrollton.  They were a few miles away in Irving, Texas.  But tornado dreams always precede some sort of disaster, usually a personal tragedy.  I realized during the final pair of shakes around 8:15 last nigh that the dream truly was about the earthquakes.  Remember, we were looking out the south windows of the farm house, my mother and I, at the funnel cloud, and the south windows are located right next to the storm cellar.  The storm cellar is safety. It has symbolized safety in my mind since the night we spent in the basement in Rowan, Iowa when the tornado ripped the shingles off the roof of our house.  We were safe that night, and we were safe last night because none of the earthquakes were worse than a 3.6 on the Richter Scale.  Earthquakes that are that mild do little or no damage.  My mother was in the tornado dream because she heard about the earthquakes on the news she was watching up in Iowa (at the same farm place where the dream was set),and she emailed me about the earthquakes to make certain my family and I were safe.   So it was another dream of future events, and it did come true… at least in my goofy little mind.

Dreams come true in more than one way.  I finished the initial edit of my contest novel, The Magical Miss Morgan.  I now believe firmly that it is the best novel I have yet written.  It is short.  At 44,500 words it is barely more than the minimum acceptable word-count for the contest.  It is simple.  The main plot is about Francis Morgan having her notions of what constitutes good teaching tested by a parent, a school board member, and an angry principal.  The first subplot is about a group of fairies who recruit Francis to help them save the fairy kingdom of Tellosia from a lack of the vital belief in fairies necessary to overcome evil.  The second subplot is about one of her favorite students undergoing an attack on her belief in herself from another student.  Main plot and two subplots are almost too few for me and my fevered, fertile comic imagination.  I can’t seem to juggle (usually) without twenty balls in the air at once.  But the simplicity of this novel is one of its main charms, and a quality I am hoping may help win the writing contest.  I know from my experiences with the novel Snow Babies that I am not far from reaching the top in a writing contest.

Leap of Faith

The dream may also have signaled an important milestone in my continuing health problems.  I ruled out the things that are most likely to kill me in my recent cardiologist quest.  I do not have heart problems after all.  I only have six incurable diseases, and am still a cancer survivor (the growth removed from the back of my head was infected, but not cancerous.  I only have diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, COPD, psoriasis, and an enlarged prostate.  Nothing is bad enough by itself to be unmanageable and deadly).  So I am probably going to be alive for a few more years and able to draw and write more.  I was forced to retire from teaching by health problems, but now that I am managing my debt with help from a lawyer and do not have the stress from a job, I actually have fewer sick days, more money to spend, and enough time to do the artistic work that I have always wanted to do.

So I close with the Disney song in my head… “A dream is a wish your heart makes… and dreams really do come true.”

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