by j-a

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February 2006

My Life as an Astronaut
a dime-store novel


It's pretty sad when your goals for the day (I actually wrote these down onto a mini-list) are: get out of bed, heat up the house with the wood stove, get the mail and e-mail, surf the net. This has been pretty much my life since New Year's Day: I sleep, I awaken, I write on my laptop in bed, I get up to fix a meal to carry back to bed, I write a little more, I read or watch tv, I go back to sleep. Every few days I take a bath (as opposed to a shower, to let the warmth seep into my aching body) and wash the dishes to break the monotony.

Sleep, I find, even when I don't remember my dreams, recharges my "content" battery and restores for a while the necessary mental energy/motivation to push on with my novel/writing. (Well, duh!) I sleep in four to five hour sessions, rotating/drifting around the clock, sometimes awakening unable to decide whether the time on the clock is morning or evening, afternoon or middle of the night. I've become unfettered to a circadian rhythm, which is a nebulous attachment for me in any case. I'm passing time this way, awaiting the spring/warm weather when I can escape back into the real world, when nature becomes hospitable again.

Meanwhile, this is all I do, this is all I want to do, I feel guilty and not guilty about it, it's who I am. I have a number of serious maintenance projects (car repairs, roof repairs, wood cutting) I have to take care of that haunt my waking mind and dreams, but spring is soon enough to tackle them, always, spring is soon enough, for anything, except for emergency situations, that's my philosophy, I defer everything I want/need to do until the spring.

When I get restless working in the bedroom, I go out into the house, feel its chill announce the freeze outside, look out onto the street and see the snow, see neighbors out in it going to or coming home from work or wherever, rejoice at not having to be out there, retreat back into the bedroom content again to remain warm and inwardly productive, a behavior pattern I will repeat until the spring or until it warms up enough or I stir myself up enough to go outside for the few minutes it takes to do what I am determined to get done before the hermitage of my inner nature catches me up again.

Once every day or two I venture out briefly to get the mail. That's more than enough of a chill for me. Once a month or so I go out and stock up on food. I eat down all the food supplies I accumulated over the other three seasons. I live on things like pasta, spaghetti sauce, and Parmesan cheese for weeks at a time. But I'm not complaining. I like living this way. I'd prefer being outdoors, but if it must be cold outside, exclude me, please. I'm perfectly content in here alone. But if you're female, fairly attractive, and pleasant, I wouldn't much mind if you came in to join me. [There. I said it, sweetie. That was an invitation. Will you come over now?]

brief interlude

Everything I've been writing lately, or most of it, is going straight into my novel. And sometimes I even end up posting it and then turning around later and removing some of it to use in novels; or I'll post it and then remove it before I even get it uploaded because I see how it might instead fit into the book. After all of this, there's not a whole lot left for the website any more. This may be my future method, a morph away from journals toward books. And the rest of the time, well... My bed is so warm and cozy. Get it? 'Nuf said; I want to get back to the novel. [No. Really. That's more than just a euphemism.]

another day, another dream

It's the antipodes of my sun-born solar sojourn; it's all downhill from here until I reach the summer summit. But this isn't true; like the metaphor's up/down conflict, it's just a brief self-deception. The negative affect will deepen, I realize, after I think a while: So. Here I am again. Each year around this time I begin to become affected in this way, and each day around this time of year I think "it's finally here," and each new day I realize that the day before it wasn't, that this new day is worse; well, not each new day, but often, frequently enough, and in between, when I don't realize it's worse, it's just the same, maybe a bit slightly better, but not very, but usually just pretty much the same, more or less. It's like a recurrent dream happening over a period of a few months at the same time every year; except that it isn't a dream, I'm very much awake.

It's another cold day and I'm cowering inside my warm bedroom hidden from the frozen winter hell. I have another dream about the secondary intersection at the corner and the front street, coming home. What does it mean, what's its purpose, its basic message? I can't figure it out, I haven't a clue. I have an old truck, a combination of my old Toyota pickup and an SUV hybrid, that is parked on the street a few doors down. It's not functional, it's way past its prime, but I love it and care for it, hoping one day to be able to use it again. [I am a combination of my old truck and a new one; but I am non-functional.] My neighbor, the chief surgeon on "Grey's Anatomy," comes home, pulls into his driveway, and comments on the truck in a positive way as I'm out on the street attending to it. I appreciate the attention he and his wife give it/me. I get my mail and go into my house; people are there, friends and relatives, awaiting me. I'd rather not deal with them and I stand off and wait for them to go home. There are lots of messages on the phone machine in the back room. My mother hits the 'on' button without me realizing what she's doing. I hear the messages begin to play. I rush back into the room to turn it off as she asks, What's that? It's porno, sound messages that are the equivalent of naked pics of women. The only guests left, on the porch preparing to leave, are Mom and Woody Allen. Woody engages in a serious discussion with my mother. They're talking about me, about some social faux pas I've made. While my mother agrees with Woody, still she defends me; all of the others who left were here for the same reason, to try to (convince influence manipulate me to) make amends and straighten out the situation (whatever it is). As I exit the house, the conversation, which is more like a monologue from one of Woody's films, becomes increasingly bitter and his criticisms of me get more vociferous. I don't understand what he's talking about or why he's so upset. But in the middle of his discourse, he does a one-eighty, throws his arms around me and hugs me, apologizing profusely in a way that indicates that he hasn't changed his mind about the mistake I've made, but it's wrong of him not to forgive me, since I am such a good guy. Yeah, I am, ain't I? This is the basic problem I'm trying to work out in my current novel: How does such an obviously good guy reconcile himself with all of the fucked-up things he's done in his past? I don't know. One of these days one of these books I finish will have the answer.

more novel crap

Kathy Acker's "twitchy genius lies in the realm of half-remembered dreams... Pussy reads and sounds like the work of people who know exactly what they're doing, even if part of their mission is to keep you from making easy categorizations. You can't easily categorize dreams, either, but when they're this provocative, you hope you have them again."
back cover book blurb for
Pussy, King of the Pirates
Having finally learned how to put together and finish a book (as opposed to starting one and patching it together and abandoning it, which is what I usually do, finishing one out of twenty or so), I'm getting the same boost now that I got when I started to post to this website so many years ago. It's all finally coming together after so many years of struggling, and I don't want to stop working at it. I can see now how I can easily finish at least two or three books a year. I could become the next goddamn Steven King--except nobody would ever want to read the crap I write, not that I think it's crap, I don't; but they will, because the public, by and large, are stupid cunts that want to read shit, if they want to read at all. (With this attitude, do you wonder why I think I'll never develop a readership?)

I study how to write by applying what I learn from reading, the best teachers doing the most difficult writing. For example, it takes a while and a bit of consideration before the "sense" of an Acker book begins to sink in: the first time you read one of her books, you think, This is interesting, but it sure seems disjointed and amateurish; then, after a while, you think, Okay, she seems to know what she's doing, she's definitely in command of her material, but it still seems like it's a disorganized and artificial patchwork; then, a little later, as you begin to glean the techniques she's using, you begin to see the genius behind them; and finally, when you finish and begin to reread a few of the early passages that left you a bit baffled but you pushed on through them, you see how it was quite intelligible all along, only you didn't have the insight at the beginning to understand how it all fit together.

The key to understanding Acker is to study her technique and reread. This is what I want my books to be, but they're not so much because I go to greater lengths to explain what's going on within the text and within my mind. But I would like my readers to be a bit perplexed, to have to work a little bit to understand the real meaning and purpose behind the words, to have to reread and study what I'm doing in order to get to the meat of the material. My stuff is just as complex and layered as Acker's is, but the style with which I write is a bit less obtuse, so that the reader is not so motivated to try to understand it at a deeper level, but can read it once, think it's been completely understood, and leave it, much the same as with most writers of complex but understandable material. I would rather readers stick around a bit longer and dwell on what I've accomplished.

Acker's work disturbs me in that it stirs up my mind as I try to comprehend it and forces me to re-classify beliefs I maintain about how I should be writing; it prods me to write out my ideas in the act of attempting to comprehend. And it makes me want to write like she does, which I cannot, not quite; but I write anyway, conforming how I interpret her style to fit my own; so her work is a motivation for my own. She uses (and maybe invented) techniques that I try to incorporate into my novels, always with only the most minimal success:

Feeling motivated by my recent prolific success at having finished two novels in a row, I re-establish my writing goals:

  1. To express myself (of course), so that the ideas don't build up and overload my brain with feelings of confusion and inadequacy at dealing with the reality of experience; and so that I may investigate my psychology.
  2. To process this expression into books and online posts, so that it doesn't end up being just a lot of dissipated cathartic time and energy.
  3. To utilize all past writings in this way: previous computer journals, abandoned projects, previous paper journals (that sure feels like a long time ago now), and old notes.
  4. To finish and publish the stories and books thusly created.
  5. To convert more of my dreams into a more conventional artform.
But I don't want it to be generally known that, in my (novel) writing, the material, when it is, is dream-generated; or, rather, I don't care if it's known, but I don't want it to be at all obvious, I want the dream material to read like that of real, if a different kind of, life. I used to be very good at this transformation, but I stopped doing it years ago, and now I think I should get back to it. But will I?

just a dog

This would be a good dream to transform into a short story; but I'm focusing on other things now and just don't have the time (but which I mean the motivation): The dog wanted to go out, but I was too tired and went to bed. So he crawled up onto the bed and cuddled at my feet. He was so charming that it made me feel guilty, so I got up and took him out. He ran out ahead to the far end of the property near the old road where he found another dog, a female probably, judging by the way he sniffed around her as she stood slightly hunched. I watched him mount her and decided I could do nothing about it anyway; he was too far away, so I allowed it to happen, as if it were my choice. I might as well let the dog get a little bit of enjoyment out of life. It didn't take very long before he rolled off onto his back in the waning throes of ecstasy, while the female recovered more quickly, if she had been affected in the first place by the act, which she apparently had since she hung around with a seemingly affectionate concern for the male she sniffed around; and then she did an odd thing, I thought as I approached: she looked as if she rolled over onto her hindquarters and took the male into her lap. I picked up my pace, wanting to get closer to observe this strange behavior and, when at last the closing distance dispelled my faulty perception, a horror filled my chest like none I had even known, and I have known quite a bit. I stopped dead on the spot. The female dog was not a dog at all, but a little girl, only as large as the dog itself. As the dog began to rouse, the girl petted it affectionately. I whistled one short, barely audible tone, the dog's ears perked and, well trained, he was heading off toward me. I turned as he sped passed me and circled around me as he accompanied me back to the house. I didn't want to look back, I didn't want to know. Actually, I did want to know, but only from a vantage point of safety. I took the dog inside and I watched from the front window, drapes half-drawn, with binoculars. The girl's mother came out of her house and called her. The girl ran toward her. The mother took her up into her arms and walked toward the house. But her neighbor in the house immediately beyond came out, and with the girl in her arms she went over to speak to her. I surveyed the scene of the crime from every imagined vantage point: there was no way anyone could have seen what I had seen; hedges and distance hid the act. I felt as if I were responsible, and I was: I owned the dog. But it felt worse that just that kind of social responsibility: I felt like I had done the act myself. How horrible! The girl had been wearing shorts and not a dress, and underwear, I assumed. So no real violation had occurred; and the girl seemed not to have been negatively affected, she did pet the dog afterwards, she felt no horror, hurt, or shame. But what about stains left on her clothing? Might her mother not notice later when she undressed her or when she did the laundry? I was in the clear, though, I believed. The worse that could be done to me, probably, if the truth were ever discovered, if the truth ever could be known, which I doubted, was that I would receive a fine; and the dog would have to be destroyed, which probably wouldn't be a bad idea anyway. I love that dog, but, well, what can you do when anything, man or beast, crosses that inviolable line? A painless death is a mercy in these kinds of cases. If anyone concerned had witnessed the event, it well might have been far worse.

dreaming my life away

I'm on my front porch with all kinds of art pieces laid out, projects I'm working on, scattered everywhere, on and off the porch. A guy who lives next door is talking to me as I work. A guy comes over from across the street. He's an artist too. He's learned that I'm also an artist, so he's brought some of his work, a hybrid art-photography method, to show me. They're very good, a lot better than the stuff I have there, although I like my stuff too, which method he praises. [I can't remember the details of it all, I should have paid closer attention.] The guy leaves and I go out to the end of the driveway and start organizing trash that I'd previously put out for pick-up. I notice that people have dumped a lot of their own trash out there on my property in a very disorganized fashion. I'm mildly pissed, but not so much as I might otherwise be because there's a lot of good stuff among the crap that I start to gather up before the neighbors find out what's here and scarf it all up themselves: pennies scattered around, a lot of them old Indian head ones; a kind of shallow "light" box (sections of which are illuminated from behind by an aquarium-like light) that isn't worth keeping because it's ruined from water damage, but I keep it anyway because I want to make a new one by copying its design; lots of good pots, containers, etc. I haul a lot of the stuff up inside my house, deciding just to get the bulk of it out of the public domain where I can go through it at my leisure. Now my entryway and living room is cluttered with junk I must sort through.

It isn't too hard for me to interpret this dream. It's fairly straightforward. I know exactly what it means. It's kind of the way I live, taking advantage of the perfectly good discards of disgusting, wasteful, affluent Americans. And I copy others' art in the same way, if not directly, which I try not to do, then by incorporating it unconsciously into my dream images and then reworking that material.

If it weren't for my dreams, I might be really bored with life. It's the way I engage life, understanding, even though I often don't remember it, that life determines dreams that further determine life. It's all one big ball of wax, and sometimes, in the heat of the deep summer, when I have the hardest time getting enough quality sleep, it starts to melt. But, for now, it is still quite congealed.

consolidating my work (ideas)

Thomas Edison was a prodigious power-napper. He would sit in a comfortable spot, holding a spoon or other metal object. As he drifted off to sleep, his hand relaxed, dropping the spoon--and when he heard the clatter of metal on the hardwood floor, he would arise refreshed!
book blurb for
Change Your Life in Seven Days,
by Paul McKenna, Ph.D.
If you feel like you need, or feel like you would benefit from, a "power-nap" like Edison did, then just maybe you're pushing yourself too hard and not getting enough sleep in the first place. Or maybe Edison had a sleep disorder and had to grab sleep whenever and wherever he could. But, no. If that were the case, why would he go to such great lengths to wake himself up after so short a time. He was an "industrious" (i.e., inherently greedy) person who felt that sleep was wasted time (whereas I treasure it).

However, if I had the stamina and work ethic of Edison, I'd have completed all of the projects and goals that I now have listed in my daytimer and expanded in other notebooks. I could do this, at least in spurts. And I do, but the spurts are short and interrupted by far longer bouts of physical ennui, where my "activity" turns inward and, in addition to writing (the documentation of my life/ideas), documents my goals and plans instead of actually acting toward accomplishing them. This is what I consider my "work":

I use a mini-clipboard (8.5" x 5.5") to capture my ideas, which data I process daily into my journal (or to other places, when appropriate; my daytimer or projects and goals binder, for example. When I'm on the internet, I transfer ideas/info directly into my journal, because it's immediately at hand, being digital). Next, I "edit" the journal's past entries, mostly for the purpose of correcting/polishing the text and for transferring non-journal material to the places it should go. Then, I process the previous month's journal entries into material for my various developing projects (novels, websites, etc.) I do all of this as much to keep my head clear of debris as I do it to plan my future activity, should I ever find the opportunity and/or motivation.

This has been my basic "writing" procedure, with the random plans, goals, etc. that were not related to writing projects extracted out and put elsewhere, and usually left to stagnate. But I'm beginning to understand that I can incorporate my whole life into this system and maybe actually head off some of that stagnation. I can (and often do) use my clipboard to "stage" my activities; so yesterday I moved my daily schedule out of my daytimer and onto my clipboard, so that I can cross the items off as I complete them or else leave them on past pages where they must be processed in some way at some near point in time (or else the extra partially processed pages will begin to accumulate). Okay so far. Not much difference here; just a matter of changing formats--except that I realize that I can more adequately (i.e., exhaustively; this is really just another neurotic obsession I'm developing/expanding here) deal with the material of my life in this way: the clipboard becomes the sole initial focus of my "work" (i.e., my life), I'm no longer (initially) so spread out across multiple formats, the diversity of life that frequently confuses me has taken a major hit here, I am just a little bit more consolidated.

This is a partial solution to the nagging idea that Harvey Pekar put into my head several months ago: I modified his more negative "What do I have to do today? What do I have to worry about?" into "What am I going to do today? What's going to happen today?" Now I'm adding "Maybe today's the day I finally... [insert anything you want here, any item, task, plan, goal, etc.] This creates a sense of expectation: maybe it will happen, after all, maybe I'll finally get of my ass and avail myself of the opportunities I have that are continually passing me by. Who knows? It could happen.

But I have another way of doing work, and it's also somewhat effective, and a lot more pleasant: I call it "sleep working":

Writing a novel is a sustained exercise in problem solving. Each step along the way requires decisions to be made. What's next, and will that take us (author and characters) where we need/want to go? When this process will not flow along naturally, which often it will not, I do this problem solving via sleep: when presented with a particularly obstinate problem of what to write next (this can also work for the non-writing areas of my life, which is why I'm documenting it here, to try to develop this as standard operating procedure), I take a long nap, three to four hours, and sometimes five to six (I don't sleep at night, usually), and when I awaken, I usually have the answer; although it may not be immediately consciously available, as soon as I start to write, it jumps right out at me (along with any other number of ideas related to differing matters). I'm not necessarily talking about dreaming here, but sometimes that is also involved. It's more like an "energy" becomes available that wasn't there before, combined with new material that my sleeping brain generated and stored in my subconscious--or sometimes made consciously available to me immediately upon awakening. My unconscious mind directs the course of the novel I'm writing in this way, and the more I try to influence that direction consciously, the more problems I encounter.

Sleep generates and stores creative energy and ideas as if my mind were charging a battery. I awaken and begin to use that storage capacity, and when I drain it, I sleep again.

conventional wisdom

If all else fails and you think you've lost, pretend you've won. Works for our president.
William Shatner, "Boston Legal"
Today, I awaken with a long list of memories and insights that I try to juggle in my brain, memorized mnemonically and repeated aloud mantra-like until I can get a cup of coffee made and get the computer booted:

Yesterday, my brother called to ask me something about his computer, about how to make it go onto stand-by automatically, I think. (Or was that some other call I'm remembering, superimposed onto this timeframe by my still-groggy brain?) Then, after I told him whatever I told him, he asked me if I'd heard from our sister recently. I told him, no, not since I talked to her on the phone at his house on New Year's Day. Then I said, "But I know she called you."

He said, "How do you know that?"
I said, "Joyce told me."
He said, "Oh, you heard it from the town crier."

[That doesn't apply to anything I've been thinking. I just thought it was funny and I had to get it written down somewhere.]

And here's another memory, from a very long time ago:

"I always feel like I'm missing out on a lot of things in life. You know what I mean?"

"Um. Yeah. That's a tough attitude to deal with. It's that old risk versus security issue. You want things, maybe you even feel like you need them, but you don't want to take the chance of ruining your life to get them; but if you would take the chance, your life might become a whole lot better. But you never know. It might get a whole lot worse."

"Yeah. That's it exactly. What are you supposed to do when you feel like that?"

"Hmm. I don't think I'm the person to ask that. I haven't been all that wise in that regard. I guess you try to find a fairly safe way to get what you want without upsetting what you already have."

Or did I dream that? I can't quite remember. It may not even have happened to me, in a dream or otherwise. For years I used to re-tell stories that others told me, but as if they actually happened to me, when they were appropriate to one or another point I was making. What did it matter if they were not my own stories if they served the purpose? ...Until one day I ended up telling one of those stories back to the guy who told it to me, and he called me on it. That was an embarrassing moment; but I still believe in the practice, although I don't use it any more, except in novels. In novels, it's okay to lie, because that's the whole point.

Anyway, whether I write about my own experiences or those of others doesn't matter, I theorize, because when I interact with others, whether the experience is direct or whether it's secondary, once or several times removed, my brain short-circuits in some way and I record the experience as if it were my own, even to the point where I will disappear and assume another identity, that of one (or more) of the participant(s), a dream-like mechanism that seeps into my waking life, occasionally profoundly, but usually in so subtle a manner as to go unnoticed in the moment and only become obvious in recall, and usually only then after much analysis.

When I talk to someone, or even when I merely look at someone, I am not me. I didn't realize this phenomenon until very late in life; and even after I began to understand how it was that I related to others, how I "empathized" with them in this way, still, I never fully felt the profundity of the experience: I see someone and in my mind I am them, not me. Their image becomes my self-image, for the time I am with them, for as long as they remain in my sight and maybe for a while thereafter if someone else doesn't come along to interrupt the image/mentality that I have introjected. Thereafter, when I think of them, especially when I am alone, and when they begin subsequently to confide things to me (such as over the phone), as I learn more about who they really are, to a certain relative degree I become them. It's difficult to know, then, who "I" really am, what part of "myself" is actually me and what has been introjected from others; because these others with whom I have shared this intimacy of identity (probably on their parts unconsciously; and mostly in my past unconscious in myself) are a big part of me, all the way back to when I began to look at people and share their spaces; that is, all the way back to when I was an infant who first looked at his mother, or whomever it was I first looked at.

In a very real sense I identify with others so much that I have no choice, I realize, but to label the process "communion." I theorize that, to some degree, we all do this, for the most part unconsciously; but I don't know that for sure. Only you can look into yourself and decide, if you are capable of looking honestly, at yourself, at others, and at me. All I know is that when this happens, and it happens often when I am out in society (which is not all that often any more, because it tends to overwhelm me the more conscious the process becomes), it results in others thinking that I am becoming something special to them (or maybe in general), because they are becoming something special to me, they are becoming me and I am becoming them [here language meaning begins to break down: which of the two former statements refers to me becoming them and them becoming me? I can't even qualify the idea without confusing it further. Think about it: does "they are becoming me" mean that I am introjecting them or they are introjecting me? Ditto re the reverse], we are heading toward becoming one person. This is my religion, my spirituality, and it has been for a long time; even way back when I never understood it consciously, I felt it: I am not me; I never have been. Yet I am not you either, nor are you me. Nevertheless, there is an exchange (or sharing) of identities, for a while, and sometimes permanently when it goes on for long enough, especially during critical times. Without this sense of my spirituality, I am just another person; with it, I am "in touch" with others.

A long time ago, I wrote out a very long and complicated hypothesis (never published) about how the human race might act out, at first unconsciously, but with increasing degrees of developing consciousness, to bring about the return of the Messiah. I wish I knew where that material was now, but let me try to summarize it here (as) briefly (as I possibly can, if that is ever a possibility with me): Jesus empathized with people by, I theorize, giving over a large part of his conscious (to him) personality and/or consciousness so that it became available to others while he related in person to them--and, consequently, via this same phenomenon, it made available both to Jesus and to those he empathized with, mutually, a sense of shared mentality, a psychic connection, if you will (or an intuitive one, if you won't), an involvement in a temporary formation of a meta-personality, often a dyad, but occasionally involving others also, such as that among Jesus and the apostles in their best moments, or that among the crowd when they believed that they could shared a limited number of loaves and fishes among five thousand people, kind of like the process involved in mass hypnosis or crowd dynamic mentality, except with far more of a conscious nature.

Now, if we establish an ideal whereby we, as a species, strive to become a single personality type {which is what we do when we truly believe in and practice Christianity, or even when we act less cult-like and "evolve" (for lack of a better word) as a species toward a single type, which is the upshot of our very typically human consensus-seeking behavior [although I rail against convention like a banshee sometimes, yet I understand it to be the ultimate goal of physical complexification that expresses itself in the human species as evolution toward one single global (un)consciousness]; and it is only the "unfair" methodology that is utilized in our advancement toward that end that causes me to bristle and rebel against the process: if we get there by leaving billions of disenfranchised and/or marginalized peoples behind, which is what (some of) the Christians would have us do, as evidenced by their very silly and eugenic theory of the rapture, then I object. Either take us all with you or fuck you too}, and we advance toward that ideal, at some point we're going to get very close. Add to that the kinds of pressure we (will) experience as we become more and more intimately involved in each others' lives, finding less and less space in which to express our waning individuality (think of paranoid schizophrenics having to co-exist within an institution as a metaphor, if not an actual example of this phenomenon), and we have the kind of supercharged situation that severely affects mentality via brain (dys)function. Something has to give, and the critical point will come "in the twinkling of an eye," when "we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." [Forget the theology that insists that the dead will rise again; that's a different matter entirely.] Extreme psychological and physiological pressure will carry us over that final threshold of difference that separates us--or else this whole fable is a metaphor for a process that will happen so gradually over such a long time that we will hardly notice it and accept its advancement as normal and inevitable. Myself, I favor the latter explanation, being no longer given over to the possibility of sudden revelatory change. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

If I want to be like you, and I change one single trait to that end, and then I change another, and then another, and so on, all along the lines of hero-worship or George Washington's character building advice that we should act as if we already possess the character traits until finally they take hold, eventually I will become more and more like you; when every single trait that I possess is exactly the same as every single trait that you possess, we will be one and the same person, because it will be impossible for us to react differently to the same stimuli. And if we do react in exactly the same way to the same stimuli, then we will of necessity know what we each are thinking, because it will be the same thing.

Of course, if this should ever totally occur, from the point of our identity, if we do not remain in touch, we will again begin to diverge as new experience heads us in different directions; but once "in touch" in this profoundly intimate way, can we ever lose touch again? Or will we have sparked a change in us that will forever persist, as we commune over distances, never losing the global intimacy? Don't forget that this is not taking place between you and me, but between you and me and him and her, and everyone else alive on earth, all so very gradually that as our mentalities and physicalities (it must be so, because a lot of, perhaps all, psychological traits are physiological) converge, if I end up a far distance from you, yet I will be close to someone, who will be close to someone else, who will be close...who eventually will be close to you.

Theoretically, given enough time, we can, as a species, emulate any character/personality in this way; but why would we want to? It's only the (supposed) perfection of Jesus' personality and character that would cause us to decide that we would all want to be (like) him. In fact, it's the conscious intent of theologians that we should not merely imitate, but emulate Jesus. And if we should so choose, or if we should so choose another character, perhaps Mohammed, or Gandhi, or the Buddha, that would serve. Eventually we would arrive at a point where we would recognize the mutual identity of these ideals beneath the surface of their illusory differences and settle on a type to idealize.

[I kind of explained that hypothesis backwards, put the cart before the horse, and didn't bury the lead far enough to maintain the suspense; but you get the idea, I'm sure. Also, it's a good thing I tried to be brief here, otherwise you would have to buy the book.]

Now, because in any long-winded pastiche I write that incorporates a lot of divergent ideas that I've decided or intuited beforehand are related in some obscure way, which even I might wonder how, I've always got to get in there somewhere at least a little bit of polemical harangue about King George and his neo-con Tory henchmen, let me categorically state that neither George Bush nor anyone close to him, not even Barbara, fills the criteria to stand as a prototype; and neither does Bush's false Christ. But I guess I'd better be careful not to go too far here (or anywhere), or else the privacy scrutinizers will zero in on me and send the FBI out to try to make my life a hell on earth, if they can't get me outright for some "illegal" or quasi-legal act. I don't want to have to go into full-blown survival or danger mode ever again, even if it is only a state-of-mind not well-founded in reality. I've become too accustomed to living a (more or less) sane and sequestered life. [This is the basic theme of my current novel.]

All of this relates (more or less) to the same unconscious strategy I employ that got me laid-off or fired from the various jobs I held: the pressure mounts as I become too well-integrated into the company (or, more generally, social) mindset, too stressed out by the necessity to perform accurately and to be the best I can possibly be and better than everyone else, too involved with the psychologies of everyone who insists upon maintaining the delusion that they are not as equally involved with me, until finally something snaps (in my mind) and a change takes place and all of a sudden (I realize, although the change has been happening for a long time and I was just too overwhelmed and/or overwrought to notice it) someone or more likely a lot of people conclude that I am to blame (for whatever, when it is, always, everyone, together, in concert) for how things have been going, poorly; I unwittingly take on the sins (of the company, or people, or society in general), so that people have someone to blame besides themselves. [This is all a metaphor, of course. There are many parallels here with the end-time scenario I outlined above; but there are many divergences also.] But the rationalization process I engage to save my sad ego-self may be extended to negate the negativity:

If you're fired by a bad company, you may, by definition, have been a good employee: bad companies make bad decisions all the time; therefore, you may be a winner for having been fired. If this is not the case, or if there's any question about whether the company was a bad one, affirm your winner status by assassinating the company's character. The definition of the company's nature is, at least to the extent of your competence at social influence, up to you. But anyone can do at least a little bit of character assassination. The degree to which you are capable of defining a company's "bad" image is the degree to which you make yourself a winner because, by definition, a winner is someone who prevails at the expense of another, despite all of that misguided or intentionally misleading "I'm okay, you're okay" or "win-win" crap. Competition rules, within the species and in life in general, and especially in capitalist Amerika.

This is the Christian (as opposed to the Jesus) agenda: they define themselves as winners when they insist that to be saved, you must believe as they do--or else you are the ultimate loser. This is what we all do in one way or another, because we're human. This is what we (would) strive to prevent by becoming consensual and eventually identical beings, which is the essence of Jesus's message: communion. No one ever again would be fired from a job, or even raped or murdered. The lion will lie down with the lamb. This is very close to treasonable material in this country. We can't have a church that preaches this kind of shit. This is why the false church must succeed in its coup-d'etat. Liberalism has gone too far in the direction of evolutionary complexification toward communion. Political reform had to be rolled back until the corporate monoculture could get a firm grip on the reins again and make certain that, when the time comes for the "rapture" to take place, only "true believers" will be eligible. This is the attempt that elitists are making to assure themselves exclusive admittance to the "communion of the saints." It's a vain attempt, of course. Ultimately, it can never succeed; but it's not without it's negative interim social consequences.

For the purposes of clarification, let me state that, in addition to its more obvious intent(s), this has all been an extended example of the way I write novels, by piecing together a lot of fragments like this when they bubble up through my ego's permafrost during a periodic alluvial global-warming upheaval, fill up the normally more empty space inside my brain, and threaten to crowd out the stuff I need to carry out my otherwise boring ordinary day by pressurizing the "use it or lose it" cells until they have no choice but to discharge in one way or another; and so my exhaustive OCD takes over and forces me to write it all out of me before it discharges as so much wasted energy out into the atmosphere of my psychic environment (if such a thing exists; but it's just another metaphor, so it doesn't matter).

My life, in this sense, is a developing novel: I piece it together as I am motivated to do so by the writer buried deep inside my central core, who would be my ego, except that I am so much more. Writing novels gives the need I have to express myself (which I organize into journals) a purpose, a place to put the material I generate by doing what I would do anyway. It makes my writing life seem like it's not just a lot of wasted time. I still can't get over the fact that, when I write this online journal, although it's very satisfying, I feel like I'm wasting time that should be devoted to writing novels, which are, still, more conventionally accepted formats; and we now know where convention is going to take us. Novelists are mainstream. Online journalists are not only still marginalized by mainstream public opinion, they are also a dime a dozen, which makes this a dime-store novel. Hmm, that's not so bad. I can live with that. Dreams are a dime a dozen too, and I live with them.

it could happen

I'm outside a school, as a young guy, a former, recent student. It's kind of like a party, almost as if a party is superimposed. I'm with a girl, a friend. One of her friends comes up to me, says a few words, leans in toward me, and kisses me. It's hot. She's hot, but not "hot" hot, not clique hot, she's ordinary, but not, a typical teenager, but "cool" like almost a beatnik/hippy type, but not. She's a lot shorter than I am, and thin and petite, and she has to stretch herself up to kiss me, revealing the shape of her tiny breasts against her tightened t-shirt. I like her a lot because she doesn't fit the teenager mold/stereotype and yet she is not at all ugly or homely. This all happens quickly; just a few words and a kiss and she is gone. Then, the girl I'm with, a Susan/Carole combo, says a few words to me about the girl re the kiss, indicating without actually admitting it, that she, in a sense, set it up for me to be kissed; not that she schemed with the girl to do it, but rather that she subtly influenced her earlier by "talking up" my good points, how cool, desirable, etc., I am, etc. And then she also kisses me in the same way. Again, a brief and passing moment containing a whole lot of compacted content. Cut to:

An old workplace: Having become completely overwhelmed with the complexity of the problems of the work process, all of the things that can and do go wrong, and recognizing how futile and meaningless it all is, I feel an extreme state of depression [unlike any I've ever felt while awake, but often felt asleep, so that I conclude that I repress my depression; but if depression is repressed so that you don't feel it, can it really be (called) depression? Isn't depression something you feel, by definition? Everyone has "problems" they successfully repress. We're all walking around oblivious to the crap in our unconscious minds. Unless it or the effects of it becomes conscious, we do not, by definition, have a problem]. I tell Rita I can no longer continue to do this, that I have to quit my job, today, right now. She goes off, and a short while later, after I exist in a limbo of depression, unable to move but simply stand in one place merely existing and feeling extremely bad, Roger shows up, indicating to me that Rita went off and informed him of my decision. He cajoles me, trying to improve my "attitude," which he cannot. So he "convinces" me to at least stay on until the end of the week (it's Thursday), which I realize is a ploy to give him time to change my mind. I agree, but I secretly plan not to return to work the following day. We're standing next to the SP office. Roger leaves and I walk over to a place between the end of the last two production lines. [Later, awake, I realize that this is the same place, superimposed, where I was outside the school where the girls kissed me; if I hadn't had this second section of the dream, I wouldn't have known of the "identity" of that place with this content. I don't remember in the dream if I am still depressed at this point; but I assume I am not, because the feeling was so profound that I think I would remember if I were. So, I conclude that I walked over to this place to be free of the depression, which fits because of the identity of the place with the school/party, which was a pleasant experience. I further conclude that the depression is lifted by personal contact with women who "appeal" to me; which is definitely true; not re actual depression, but re general malaise.] I get a phone call and to answer it have to go over to a table next to Cindy's desk (where there was no phone or table in reality, from which I conclude that the contact that is about to occur proceeds from no real world device or ability). It's Linda from the art dept., thanking me for the 'Xmas' [that was the "word" (see later) in the dream] card. I picture the card in my mind, an image with the accompanying words. [In the dream, I knew the image, which I've since forgotten; and I had a sense of the meaning of the words, but not the actual literal words. The image was sort of (this is my impression, not the literal image) like a boat on the sea with a cartoonish boat captain who looked like one of the Mario Bros.] Linda "quotes" the words for my benefit--yet still the words escape me; the literalness is not there. And she tells me she appreciates the card and the sentiment, which had something to do with sex, innuendoed in a way that was obvious, yet subtle and in good taste. We have a brief conversation that I keep extending by making additional comments that are really merely a repetition of what I've already said (thus replaying this moment over and over in the dream), saying them only to keep her on the phone and maintain contact with her. I like the "contact" we have, and so does she, but she warns me early on that, although she appreciates the sentiments, that she can't do anything about them because she's "taken." I say I know, but that shouldn't stop me from expressing myself anyway, should it? She agrees, and we continue on, each of us enjoying the contact while it lasts. It persists after I hang up the phone, and it persists after I awaken. I treasure the experience and feel that she's in the room with me. Since the "depression" in the dream immediately and permanently lifted when I got the phone call (the experience at the end of the production lines being a nearly instantaneous event; I was there only for the briefest instant until I got the phone call, but the superimposition of the other part of the dream made it seem like an extended time), can it then be said that it was caused by the fact that I am "cut off," that I am "depressed" when I cannot feel the contact? This is a logical analysis, and not at all an intuitive one.

I realize that dreams [at least my dreams; but I hypothesize (assume) everyone's] do not "say" anything (in words), but I merely "know" what would have been said if there were words. When words are actually spoken in dreams, they stand out as such and I tend to remember them, or not, but remember that there were actually words that were said; and usually, if I do remember them, they are strange, or even nonsense, and/or oddly constructed grammatically. Otherwise, "conversations" take place as if they are spoken, but the words are more like mental exchanges between dream characters, not needing to be composed of actual formed words. From this I "intuit" the idea of psychic [i.e., within the mind] exchange between mental images, correlations between mental content, from which I next intuit a correlation with "psychic" [i.e., psi] exchange of material, which seems to be the case re Linda in the dream.

How would this psi exchange take place? [I've written of this before elsewhere several times. It's a pet hypothesis of mine.] We, our physical bodies, are bombarded every day with trillions of cosmic particles (specifically neutrinos, but there are other possibilities also that might fit into this conjecture) that pass through us and speed on forever. The astronomical number of them that pass through us is staggering; billions or possibly even trillions per second! Suppose that a bunch of them, while passing through our brains, are able in some way as yet unknown to us [don't give me that crap about it being scientifically impossible; that's what they say about all new scientific theory before it becomes proven and established as the truth] to pick up brain patterns, perhaps in a way analogous to (or identical with) how neutrinos change "flavors" (electron, muon, and tau) during their timeless1 journey through space. A group of, say, millions of neutrinos traveling together and passing through a brain changes their flavors to correspond to a certain brain pattern and then travels on through another person's brain and imparts that pattern onto it, thereby transmitting content from one brain to another "psychically." Hey, it could happen.

But we live in a real world, not a psychic one and not a dream one. Or, rather, we live in a world that we have consensually constructed so as to appear to be "real"; that is, we agree that the real world is what it is, and it may only be my obstinate defiance that makes me want to believe that the world is something other than it appears to be--because, as Groucho Marx sang, "Whatever it is, I'm against it."

right here

Do the best you can with what you have where you are.
Teddy Roosevelt
What comes is acceptable.
Ursula LeQuin, The Lathe of Heaven
I'm right here. I always have been. I've never been anywhere else. (Neither have you.) 'Here' is pretty much irrelevant to what you have to do. If what you feel you have to do demands that you need to be somewhere else, go there; if you can't, maybe that should be telling you something. But even if you can manage to go there, you'll still be right where you are.

What I have is Asperger's. This pretty much limits my options; not really, but... Whatever I get done, I get done despite it, or as a consequence of having altered my goals and expectations in order to accommodate it, tending to prefer tasks and projects that allow me to work apart from the mainstream society.

In this sense, I always do my best, because this idea is based on another inevitable premise: no one can do otherwise. Whatever I do, it is by definition my best. I never set out to do anything less. I suppose it's possible to work at a job you care nothing about and do shoddy work as a result; but that's not what I'm talking about here, is it? And neither is Teddy. False motivations like working in a corporate world or for any thankless or unconscious taskmaster in order merely to survive, is hardly a venue for self-fulfillment. We're concerned here with personal achievement; at least I am. Maybe Teddy had other ideas in mind, but I doubt it.

Of course, you can advance yourself through your paid day labor, by proving to your bosses that you are worthy of doing more. [And by saving and investing money to use to advance and free yourself; but that too is a separate issue, I think.] But if graduating up through a system of day labor is your idea of advancement, leave me out of it. Been there, done that, dropped out. It's a trap. [I was able to drop out because I saved and invested my money; I think I may be unwittingly disproving my basic point here.] It's really all a matter of how dedicated to capitalism you are; or, more precisely, how motivated you are to get for yourself what other overly ambitious (greedy) people have gotten.

Desire and envy cause people to refuse to accept their limitations. In our capitalist, can-do culture, we "agree" that this as a highly positive value. But is it? I think it should be more a matter of balance. On one hand, our can-do one, we see things we want to own and traits we want to be. This is the desire, which turns into envy when we think we can't have what we desire. But envy can be useful too, when it spurs us on to get what we desire, to transform the envy (i.e., ourselves) back through desire and into motivation. On the other hand, we have the Zen ideal of waiting, just sitting, contentment, being who and what we are and nothing else. Desire (and especially envy) can eat us up. Being content with who we are and what we have can bring us peace.

But it's not all simply a matter of personal desire and motivation, is it? Shoddy workmanship can persist within a system that tolerates it; in other words, it can be systemic: Last year, the local water authority, a private utility, dug up the street out in front of my house to repair their leaking main. They back-filled and repaired the street surface with a large patch, which ended up effectively lowering the street surface at the patch maybe an inch, not much, hardly noticeable in fact, but significant enough to allow water to collect during rains. They came back once to repair a different, minor flaw after the township inspector visited the scene of the crime.

Over the ensuing year, the street surface cracked along the patch, and the crack extended on down the street for a few feet and then across it, a consequence of the stress the shoddily backfilled (they should have brought in more fill) and patched area exerted on the rest of the street's surface. Yesterday, the township Public Works Dept. shows up to apply an asphalt repair along the lengths of the cracks. This is a perfect example of how private businesses profit from public employments and then relegate their ensuing responsibilities to public facilities that must fix the results of their poor performance.

As a public society, we are doing the best we can with what we have where we are, while private enterprise profits at our public expense. (King George's corporate cronyism is a perfect example of this; and that is decidedly not a separate issue.) Teddy's quote is one of those "aphorisms" that ring true but are so general as to negate any real import: we, the public, have done the best we can by repairing my front street, until the next time when the pooled water eats its eventual way through the asphalt and we have to patch it again; the "public" utility (the deception inherent in the name should reveal its true nature) did the best it could with the slipshod, uninterested workmen it employed. The workmen did the best they could given the fact that they probably didn't really give a shit how their work turned out, they just wanted to get home to their dinner and a beer. Everyone's doing the best they can. If they could do better, they would. [We have to consider the psychological (lack of) motivations here: if people are not blessed with positive attitudes and work ethics, what else can they do but what they do? And if they are, ditto.] I'd register an official complaint, but it's not a part of my basic nature. The best I can do is to write about it. What I have is written words, right here. Everything is as it is--for a reason; and we are seldom privy to the fullest scope of that reasoning, which is most often far beyond us.


"Man proposes and God disposes." There are but few important events in the affairs of men brought about by their own choice.
Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant
There are no chance encounters. There are even less chance relationships. I feel no separation when I'm alone with you. I fill up with the essence of everything you are. Seeing others is being others. I've resolved the problem others struggle with: I am not a separate entity when in your presence, or even in your absence.

For a long time I've been saying that I don't relate well to people, not because I don't know how, but because I don't really care to, that it's not a trait that's high on my list of priorities; but now I understand, in light of my awareness of Asperger's syndrome, that it's really the other way around: I don't care because I don't relate well. Most of the time, Asperger's makes me feel distant, disaffected, and unmotivated toward relationships. Whatever others want to do is fine with me, so long as what they do doesn't affect me directly in a negative way. And if it affects me in a positive way, well, usually, I'd prefer if you'd just leave me alone anyway please. Hey, thanks.

You might think it should be either one way or the other, a continual communal presence or social isolation; but it's both, at the same time. Each state proceeds from and produces the other, endlessly; and I become increasingly aware of this condition as time goes by:

I have four levels of awareness: I perceive; I'm aware that I perceive; I'm aware that the universe perceives through me; I'm no longer aware of myself and the universe perceives (in my stead). All that remains of me is an itch I do not scratch.

The light that enters at the top of the head, the shaft of light that extends down through the spine, is the same phenomenon that forms the visual field, the donut that in an intermediate position is the third eye, all one and the same,

which includes the heart, stomach, libido, limbs; the organization of the body is so obvious in this regard that it's hard to comprehend how I missed this awareness for so long; probably the fragmentation of my ego into functions is the cause:

it proceeds from universal (self) through ego (brain), feeling (heart), alimentary (sustenance), and libido (motivation to contact external objects) to limbs (locomotion and grasping abilities, to enable holding onto things, and others);

in other words, from universal awareness to "I" (a single point of awareness) to other "I"s (other points of awareness), the universal point of view collects itself and returns to itself through the expansion of consciousness through people.

I am who I am, so many things, changing. I say this because of all of the things I am not. So what if I am no longer who I am, I used to be, someone I can never be again? I am someone else better worse than before.

A part of me I used to be still functioning within no one realizes. I look like someone else now and in large part I am this other guy. But I have all these past characterizations to live up, or down, to. I am yet still a kid at heart like everyone else who didn't succumb. My identity is intact, disguised, and expressed in fantasy and word. Some people complain, even as they deny, that the past is abusive. Ambient abuse they call it now, but I know it by a different term: human nature. Get over it, for Christ's sake. Or it'll get over you. If you can't deal with it, go off somewhere and die already, please. Let the rest of us get on with surviving. We're happy sublimating. There's a sense in which all your bitching and moaning is abusive. My past and present exists at once inside an expression of myself. I have to draw out one or the other to connect myself to the world. Things need to be done; the maintenance tasks continue to pile up. Coffee convinces me that I want to work to accomplish something. Beer convinces me that I really don't want to work so hard. It's a balance.

Some of what I now realize about awareness will not occur to me for months yet. And yet, it is all inherent in that present that will become the past, before the awareness fully sets in; that is, I know it before I actually realize I know it, so that my idea of what awareness actually is is called into question: My online journal dates get mixed up as I try to accomplish more with the format than a strict chronology allows. (The same is true of my novels, but that's more or less normal for a writer who waits for maybe years to publish her or his ideas.) Ideas and thought development defy a strict time line, especially when I fall behind by several months and later insights modify earlier entries, and time works then in my favor to resolve inherent conflicts and evolve my ideas into the more unified kind of work that I want my documents to represent; but also even when I'm "caught up." (I'm never really caught up because I delay posting for a month to allow developing ideas in entries to mature; and I'm never caught up anyway because my life is moving on far faster than I can possibly document it.)

My life is an idea; or, more correctly, a collection of ideas trying to become a unified whole. I keep wanting to think that my life, in addition to being ideas, is experience. But ideas are experience. What I want to mean by experience is "activity" that either I do or that happens to me; but activity is nothing more than ideas actualized, because before the act comes the idea (whether conscious or not) for it. (It doesn't matter whether it's my idea or someone else's; everyone's ideas are my experience if I experience them.)

My physical existence is a mere collection of sub-atomic particles coalesced into an organism that thinks. True, before I thought, I acted, based upon instinctual, developmental responses; but I developed in order to think before I act, otherwise I cannot (continue to) learn. (It's the intelligent way for advanced members of the species to exist. To some degree, we each develop according to this principle; but some of us choose, for whatever reason, to quit learning fairly early on.) If I am a mere form of life that acts out a programmed agenda [which itself is a collection of ideas, though perhaps someone else's, maybe even someone from centuries or millennia past; or at best unconscious ideas developed solely during my own lifetime], then I would rather not be; I must2 be something more than this collective and/or personal heritage. So, I try to create what I want to be, more than I am, by documenting my life, my ideas of life, my life of ideas.

Unfortunately, these ideas do not arrive full-blown in chronological order. They are dispersed in time, as well as in place; and there are so many of them that it is impossible to attend to all but a small portion of them, the ones that seem most significant to me, or the ones that happen when I am most susceptible to influence or have the time available to capture them. And there are so many, and of such a diverse nature, that these novel-journals cannot contain them all, even when I do it properly (in the way I want to do it). I want to do so much more. So, which ideas/experience do I direct toward these journals, and which do I direct into other formats? What are the criteria of separation? I want all of my ideas to go to one place; but then I would only write one thing, and there would be no books, or else no online journal, or else...

I hate the fact that I must even entertain this anti-unity idea. But I must resign myself to the fact that unity can never be achieved via writing. A work of any significant length is never truly unified. Unity in this sense is relative, as in, for example, thematic unity. [I hate the idea that this is true; unity should always be an absolute.] There is no such thing as thematic unity, really; there will always be themes in all but the very shortest pieces of writing that will diverge from the essence. (Maybe in some very perfect short essays and poetry this is not true, but then thematic unity is not a concern because the shortness eclipses its necessity.) A "unified" work is only a symbol for the unity of life; it can never be the fact of it. I can never write out the unity that I am that I deceive myself through the process of the illusion of education not to understand. Art is a poor substitute for life--except perhaps in dreams, where our art, though too highly symbolic to be grasped except in its most rudimentary essence, is more complete:

I'm in a van, behind the driver's seat, setting up a kind of harness, oxygen-feed attachments, and a remote steering mechanism, so that someone else (I) can drive in case the driver dies or passes out. The van becomes a spaceship that I am preparing for take-off, making sure that all of the equipment is in good shape and all of the gear is properly stowed. The launch is only one hour away. Other astronauts begin arriving, bringing aboard their personal belongings, which causes me to realize that in my zeal to make sure that the ship was "shipshape" (I am Tommy Lee Jones, the captain of the ship) I neglected to pack my own personal stuff, clothing, etc., and we will be in space for fifteen days. I go to my boss (Dr. Burke on "Grey's Anatomy") to seek permission to leave the space center (which is in a huge indoor mall) so that I can go to Sears and buy clothes. He doesn't want to let me go but, understanding my dilemma when I tell him I have no clean underwear, he relents and reluctantly agrees. I head off out into the mall. The stores are all small places and I have trouble finding Sears, but finally at the far end of the mall I see the store sign that says "Sears Main Store"; but it's also a little store and is in fact only the men's department. I'm looking around the store, but I can't find what I want. A middle-aged, somewhat dumpy, ordinary-looking woman asks me if she can help me. I ask her if she knows who I am and she tells me that she does. I explain my problem to her and she goes and gets me two packages of size 36 underwear, two packages of white T-shirts, and three pairs of blue nylon pants, which were what I requested. While she's ringing up these purchases, she hands me a pair of compact binoculars and tells me they're on sale for $39.95. I tell her that we have all of that kind of equipment we could possibly use. I tell her, however, that I'm going to need some kind of bag to carry the clothes in. She tells me that she doesn't have any bags at this store, but she calls the Sears Sports Store. They ask her what color I would like. I tell her to tell them blue. A small blue gym bag shows up immediately. There are a lot of women in the store shopping for men. (I'm aware of the double meaning within the dream.) They become aware of who I am and start gathering around me and asking me for my autograph. At first, I think to tell them I'm in a rush and don't have time; but then I decide to take the time and pay attention to them. Meanwhile, the saleslady unwraps the underwear and T-shirts and folds them neatly along with the pants and packs them all inside the bag. To show her my appreciation, I buy the binoculars, because she told me earlier that she gets a large commission on them. I tell her to ring the binoculars up separately. After I leave the store and am walking through the mall back toward the space center, a kid comes up to me and asks me for my autograph. I give it to him, and I give him the binoculars, and I give his mother the receipt, because that's what I imagined I might do from the time that the lady first showed me the binoculars, because at this point the dream starts to become semi-lucid and I begin to analyze and control it to some degree as I'm dreaming it. I walk back to the space center feeling secure, now that I have my personal belongs situation straightened out and am free to devote my full time to writing the story of my life as an astronaut, which I realize is what I'm doing, writing in my head, as I awaken.

Click on footnote number to return to that respective point in the text.
1. Can I really use "during" and "timeless" to describe the same event? (Can I even use the idea of event in this sense?) But it seems to say what I want it to.
2. double meaning: there must be more to life; I demand more from life