Tag Archives: dreams

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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Filed under Cotulla, dreaming, dreams, humor, kids, Paffooney, teaching

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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How Pirates Make Money

This is a continuation of my cartoon series The Atlas of Fantastica that can be found at Mickey’s House of Fiction (my cartoon vault).  It is an adventure from a dream about pirates and money and bankers and finance.

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To be continued soon…

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The Secrets in the Vault

Today I want to direct your attention to my vault.  It is a new blog page where I keep cartoon stories that I intend to continually edit and update with new ‘toons.  It is called Mickey’s House of Fiction.  You can find it here;

Mickey’s House of Fiction

The Paffooney’s I offer today as a sample are merely the title page and introduction of a new cartoon project.

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Mickey intro 2

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Monday With The Daughter

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Mondays are usually blue and difficult days.  It is hard to get out of bed.  And if they are hard for me, a retired old graybeard with few responsibilities beyond getting the kids out of bed and cooking breakfast and walking the dog and waking the kids up again and keeping the dog from eating the breakfast on the table and waking the kids up again and getting them out of bed for real and …  well, they must be harder for kids, right?

So, I had the dog walked and breakfast served and the table cleared and we were getting ready to go to school and drop off beloved daughter at her middle school.

“I had a bad dream last night,” said the Princess.  “A zombie was chasing me in a Minecraft landscape.”

“Ooh, sounds terrible.  Were you by any chance playing computer games way too late last night?  Maybe Minecraft?”

“Dad!  It was a terrible nightmare.  It made me lose sleep!”

“Did I ever tell you about my duck dream?”

“Aw, Dad!  This was a scary dream, not funny.”

“Well, you know, sometimes you can have a dream and take control of it.  It is called a lucid dream.  If you just realize that you are dreaming, you can direct what happens.  You can make a sword appear in your hand and cut the zombies’ heads off.”

“What happens when that doesn’t stop the zombie’s body from chasing you?”

“Well… look at the time.  We are going to be late for school.”

“Oh, uh… I don’t have any money left in my lunch account at school.”

“You couldn’t have told me this Friday after school?  I don’t have any money on me.  We need to hurry and stop by the ATM at the bank on the way to school.”

So, we hurried to the bank.  I handed her the twenty dollar bill.

“Um, Dad…  I forgot my school I.D. at home.”

“Ah, yes… Monday.”

Clarkes

She made it to school at least five minutes before the late bell with money for lunch and her I.D. on so that she wouldn’t forget during the day who she actually was…  well, if she did, she could at least remind herself with the I.D .  Whether the zombie apocalypse happens and her dream comes true and my advice about nightmares actually saves her… I have my doubts.   But with daughters, there is always hope.  You hope that if you continue to feed them and get them to school on time, and talk about their fears, and address their numerous shortcomings with humor and understanding, they will turn out all right.  And maybe, just maybe, they will pick a reasonably good nursing home to stick you in when you get so old and forgetful that you are too goofy to wear pants in public.

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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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Dippy Duck Dreams

The hardest dream-to-reality connection to make is my duck nightmare.  I know I bummed the world out yesterday with unfunny dream deliberations.  But in this post I explore the lighter side of nightmares.  It all began when I was about four years old and we went to the Deer Park Zoo in Mason City, Iowa.

Truthfully, when you look at it from the proper point of view, at four you are small and all animals look like monsters.  The three ostriches they had in a chicken-wire pen were at least several hundred feet tall.  The deer were huge with giant Bambi-eyes.  I was little and still very much in a touchy-feely stage of life.  And the goose-pen had a large hole in the front, just large enough for a goose head and neck to fit through at high speed.  That is exactly what happened when one wide-eyed nerd-child wandered close enough to give a gander a premium chance at a beak-first goosing.  Whether my pants had to be changed immediately afterwards is something I have yet to work up the courage to ask my parents about.  No rush.  They are only in their eighties now.

Anyway, I was left with a recurring nightmare, always involving a duck or very similar waterfowl with big, massive, white dentures.  Yes, you heard right, a duck with teeth.  It’s all right for you to laugh now, but I woke up in cold sweat every single time I had that nightmare.  Right from the moment when I realize that the evil little duck-mind has fixed its wishes on taking a nice, big bite, to the split second where the toothy duck-head zips towards me, I am gripped with total existential terror.  And it wakes me up.

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So what does this doozy of a dream mean?  Do dreams have to have a meaning?  All two-hundred-plus times?  (I lost count, so sue me.)  I do believe, however that it must be some kind of anxiety dream.  And the last occurrence was now four years ago, so the possibility of duck-dream remission is very real to me.

If my last post chilled your innards, then hopefully this one lit them up with laughing gas.

Leap of FaithThis closing Paffooney from yesterday is entitled “The Leap of Faith”.  I’m not sure why that is important to know, but it is.

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Tornado Dreaming

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This post won’t be funny.  So if you come seeking humor, be warned, every writer has a dark side, and this is about mine.

I have learned the hard way that there is a very special power to be gained from the Dreamlands.  But it is a dark and ominous power.  When H.P. Lovecraft wrote his nightmare horror stories about the Cthulhu Mythos and journeys in the Dreamlands seeking Unknown Kadath and other forbidden horrors, he may have been writing from real experience.  While dreams are couched in metaphor and must be interpreted, they also touch the physical contours of our reality.  And not just a light touch, either.  Dreams can be made of concrete and stone.  Further, I believe the dreaming mind is no longer bound by perceptual tricks we identify as “present time” in our waking lives.  The existence of every man is eternal.  Existence is beyond the control of the relative dimension in space we know as “time”.  In dreams you can actually reach out and touch both the distant past and the future.  Does this mean  I think I can foretell the future?  Of course not.  Are you daft?  If I could I would be a millionaire and far removed from health problems and dark depressions that define my inner, darker self.

But dreams shape and define my actual day-to-day existence, and not always for the better.

1966 was the year I turned ten, and the year the skies of my dreams turned dark.  My best friend at the time lived next door.  My best friend had an older brother who was five years older than me.  One day that older brother trapped me behind a pile of tractor tires in the neighbors’ back yard.  He pulled off my pants and my underpants.  He wasn’t gentle.  He twisted my most sensitive parts and forbid me to scream by threatening worse torture.  He introduced me to pain I never knew could exist before that day.  He forced me to endure torture for his personal pleasure.  He told me the incident was my own fault and he made me believe it.  I lost a part of my soul that day, and I would not remember what had happened for another twelve years, two-and-a-half emotional breakdowns later that school counselors and parents could never explain.  I never told anybody about it for years.  I could not have even written this paragraph until the summer before last… when he died of a heart attack.  He had power over me until I was 56 years old.

1966 was also the year of the tornado in Belmond, Iowa.  Both of my parents worked in Belmond.  When we were in school that day, we were studying weather in science.  The topic of nimbus clouds and storms came up.  Mrs, Mennenga, our teacher, pointed out the north window of the 4th grade classroom and said a cumulonimbus cloud was just like the one we could all see in the sky over Belmond, ten miles to the north.  She said that was the kind of cloud from which tornadoes would form.  It was ironic that that was exactly what was happening.  I spent that night at Uncle Larry’s farm knowing that a tornado had devastated Belmond, and not knowing if my mother and father were alive or dead.  (My father’s business was leveled, but he made it to the basement just as the building exploded and only had a deep scalp laceration.  My mother was a nurse at the hospital, and she, along with the rest of the hospital were miraculously spared.  Only six people were killed in the devastation.)  Needless to say, I know where my tornado nightmares come from.

So what is the real meaning behind Tornado Dreaming?  I firmly believe nightmares auger something in real life.  Granted it may be past as well as future, but dreams can come true for good or ill.  While I was in college, I dreamed one of my childhood friends was riding in a pickup truck in the back, where no one should ever ride, but farm kids always do.  A black tornado dropped out of the sky and knocked him out of the pickup and split open his head.  Only a week later, in real life, that same friend fell out of the back of a pickup and nearly died.  I had a tornado dream at age twenty-two that preceded remembering the sexual assault by two days.  It all came back to me and floored me like being stepped on by the boot of horrendous Cthulhu.  As a sophomore in high school I had a tornado dream that found me running for shelter into a house I had only entered twice in my life.  It was the house of another of my friends, and everyone there, many of whom were people I didn’t know, were crying over the death of someone.  My friend was there.  His twin brothers and little sister were there.  A woman that I later learned was his aunt was there.  His mother was there too.  Who were they all weeping for?  The following Monday I found out that my friend’s stepfather had been killed on his motorcycle by a drunk driver the same night that I had the dream.  Dreams can warn what the future holds.  But you cannot do anything to change the outcome.  Any attempts I made to change anything may have done more to cause the event than prevent it.  So, I am left wondering if this “gift of prophecy” is not merely a curse.

I have a novel or two to write about this if God grants me enough time to write them.  I am burdened by the very insight I am sharing with you here.  Why am I even talking about it at all, you ask?  Especially when I warned you from the start this wouldn’t be funny and practically no one will actually read this far?  I must confess.  Friday night I had another tornado dream.  In the dream, I was in Grandpa Aldrich’s farmhouse, the place where my mother and father now live.  My mother and I looked out the south window on the back porch.  There, swirling in dark gray-green, was a funnel cloud dancing against an ominous electric-green sky.  We were only steps away from the door to the storm cellar.  But before we reached safety, the dream ended.  What is about to happen?  Will talking about it cause something to happen?  Is Cthulhu knocking at the door?  Only time will tell.

Leap of Faith

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The Stag of Prophecy

The Stag of Prophecy

I painted this oil painting of Bambi-esques from a dream I had long before I met my wife. I admit, I didn’t actually finish it until a couple of years after we were married, but I have always felt it predicted what my family would be like. We now have two boys and a girl, two bucks and a doe. I am certainly not as majestic as poppa deer in the picture, but he is in general very like me in his cartoonish mildness and Disney-like gaze. It is a weird thing to feel you have to live up to a painting, but it is also weird to paint from a dream and then have it be a prophecy come true.

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April 7, 2014 · 11:45 pm

Why Sci-Fi?

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In 1969, the summer after I had to travel to a new school in another town, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon.   I stayed up and awake that entire summer night, as did my whole family, watching everything the TV was able to show.  I vowed to myself that summer that I, too, would one day walk on another world.  My fantasy was, as I’m sure most thirteen-year-old boys in the entire world agreed, was to be the first Earth man to set foot on Mars.

I set out to get myself into the Air-Force Academy in Colorado Springs.  We visited there during one of our yearly family tent-camping car trips.  It was an elegant, pristine dream.  But life has a way of putting needle holes in the balloons that make up the loftiest of dreams.  I developed bursitis and eventually arthritis by the time I was eighteen.  My eyes were always too myopic to ever become an astronaut.  Then Challenger blew up.  Reagan, who didn’t believe in the U.S. Government as a way to accomplish important things, or at least, didn’t believe in spending money for such things when that money didn’t go into the pockets of his rich friends, changed young boy’s dreams.  Our trajectory towards Mars was slowed.

So, do you let dreams die?  Never me.  No, not I.  I would still travel there.  But I could not take my physical body.  I would have to go by the ship of imagination.  I would have to rely on the fantastic inner eye.

Some of my junior high English students and I took up role-playing games.  We graduated from Dungeons and Dragons into the space fantasy game called Traveller.   We fought space wars, built space colonies, absorbed Doctor Who, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Last Starfighter.  All things were possible.   With a role of the dice, you could save the universe.  And so my novel Aeroquest was born.

Catch a Falling Star and all the stories I have percolating now continue that plan, that goal, that young boy’s dream of placing his feet on another world.  Today’s Paffooney is a symptom of that illness, not an absolute definition of it.  Young Buster Crabbe, if you can’t tell, is the human boy in the picture. 

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