Wednesday, July 9, 2014


me: was it all a dream?

Doctor Lysander: no, don't adjust your television sets. full-time score: Germany 7 Brazil 1.

i squirmed around on the ottoman getting into my cat-comfortable position and quickly turning because i didn't want to focus on a four-year fait accompli anymore, i wanted to focus on what was to be, my favorite part of the session, dream analysis.

me: i hate people. they treat me like an experiment, not as a person.

Lysander: people who need people are the luckiest people in the world. i see you're toting around that green notebook everywhere you go.

me: it never leaves my side. but i have so many notebooks now. they're all on a dirty pile in my room. i did what you said, i started a couple of dream journals. i write down everything in them: ideas, sketches, fragments, character bios, place settings, themes, theories, endings. this green notebook is special to me, though, it's where i write my most precious stories. i have so much power as an author. i can turn all the bad stuff happening to me into a setting i control. i make the bad people bad guys in my stories, and they always get shown for who they really are.

Lysander was bored but professional. he tried to spin himself around his chair but his legs were so short he couldn't quite rotate. instead he passed the time by looking at a far-angled mirror next to the hanging fern. was his bald head getting shinier? was that a gray hair on his mutton chops? since when did he grow mutton chops? it must be a trick of the bad lighting in the room.

Lysander: Sylvia Plath once said, "nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing."

me: i love Sylvia, but that was not the appropriate quote for me at this time.

Lysander: oh right, sorry.

Lysander was embarrassed and looked at his notebook, which was also green.

Lysander: pulling up your file here. oh that's right: suicidal depression, feelings of inadequacy when it comes to getting your creativity out there to the world and whatnot. sorry, late night last night. i'll be better prepared next session.

i started to cry.

Lysander: i am sorry for your tears.

me: it's alright, i am an easy crier.

Lysander: i know, knew, a kid just like you. his name was Marcio.

me: hey, you have the same green notebook i do!

Lysander: they may both be green, but yours is very very different.

Lysander started to look very sullen.

me: what? what happened? i can feel you are sad. that is one of the traits, right? extra-sensory empathy of others around you, that's a good side effect of the disease. i'm crazy, but i'm also an Empath like Counselor Troi.

Lysander: great tits on that one. no, no, i'm okay. i've accepted it, i learned how to accept things during my first week of job training when we learned about all the steps. let's move on. tell me about your most recent dream.

me: gladly. my cat was there, and my best friend from grade school was wrapping my cat in brown paper, covering his cute paws. i didn't sense any ill will, he was doing this to protect the cat. i found this particularly amusing because of course my grade-school friend now lives in Italy and has never seen my current cat, so it was nice my brain conceived of such a meeting. it combined my friendships of the past and present purrfectly. see what i did there, purrfectly?

Lysander: very good.

me: and then there's a dutch angle and a strange shift to a show on a stage. i can hear the two commentators commentating about it, but i can't see their faces, much like when i watch tv. it's a chorus on stage, a group of ten boys and girls all dressed in the same black-and-white outfits. when the black kid makes his entrance with the group, i can't hear the exact words of the commentators, but the two of them seem racist to me, they're mocking the poor black kid.

Lysander: FIFA says no to racism, that's good enough for me. obviously the black-and-white outfits stand for the black and white races. i'm sure the commentators were white. many times the words being said by characters in dreams aren't intelligible, but what always is felt by the dreamer are the feelings and emotions that spring forth from the dream scene, the sequence invokes something out of the dreamer, the dreamer senses pain, sadness, Empathy, or that they have a bad feeling about this.

me: Star Wars reference, nice.

Lysander: my nine-year-old. i mean, i'm a nine-year-old at heart. yeah, my college degree is really working out, huh? am i helping you in any way with this?

me: no, it's standard psychology gobbledygook you can read on the stands of any dime-store book shop, but you help but just listening to me and being my father. no one else in the world gives a fuck.

Lysander: i'm everyone's father, aren't i? no kids of my own and yet the world is my kid. let's get back to God.

me: Yes?

Lysander: you wield immense power when you write, especially in that green notebook. you are God with that notebook. you can control the weather of your story, and whether or not your story ends this way or that, the fate of your characters are completely in your hands. they are mice in a cage.

me: despite all my rage i am still just a rat in a cage.

Lysander: don't know what that is. he's nine, not twelve. at any rate, all i'm saying is with great power comes the Spiderman speech...

me: sure, sure, i get you even if you don't get me. oh, one more thing.

Lysander: the session is over. i've got a late night tonight...

me: one more thing, i fear more than anything in this world forgetting my dreams. that would be my nail in the coffin. my dreams are all i've got.

Lysander: they're all anyone's got. do not dread, i'll teach you how to hang onto them next time, once i learn the technique myself. your dream journal is a good start, though. let me read up on using your brain better to remember. i need to remember to do that, to look up one of my old college textbooks. you never really leave college, huh?

me: yeah, i have four in my grasp now, but they're fading: the one about the glass case and the two brown wires, the one about being high up in the air in a box being balanced at the tip of a long stick, the epic one about looking at a list of residents outside an apartment complex and then suddenly being thrust into the battlefield of a war that looks like the American Revolutionary War but is also WWIII, and the prison one.

Lysander: write them down! write them down before you forget! the glass case one is lame, but we'll tackle the other three soon. i'm especially intrigued about the prison one. well, bye. and remember, when you're doing your treadmill, envision the music you want to be playing in your head so you don't get stuck and scared.

me: i know, that's still a thing with me. it's getting harder and harder to just envision things. i'm not making them happen anymore. i can't make things happen anymore. the only way things appear and stay is if i write them down in my green notebook.

Lysander produced another look of crestfallen acknowledgment on his mutton chopped face.

Lysander: sure, sure, well you do what you must do, but it starts to become a drug, y'know?, a crutch. there is always something to be said for the willpower of man.

me: and what is to be said?

Lysander: something.

Lysander went right to his door and i went left to mine. ugh, exercise, the bane of an artist's existence, and the worst part of the session. i often wondered if it was better to get this over with before the talk or leave it 'til after.  if i do it before, i can leave the session with good vibes. but i usually come to the session so wrecked and whacked out of my mind i simply wouldn't have the intestinal fortitude to exercise cold at the start like that, i need the talking to ease me through the process. whatever, this sucks.

i turn on the mild button of the treadmill and start power-walking. no music is allowed in this place, it's considered a hospital, no noise pollution, so patients must conjure up the music in their heads. not exactly a motto to be placed in big letters on the walls of a mental ward. more silently understood.

let's see, what sounds are rumbling in my head? what can i use? what have i recently watched? shows and commercials. it came to me, the wrong song:


i hated this song! hated it! it reminded me of being in the repressed '50s, though i never lived in those times, with the public faces hiding private alcoholism. government programs designed to help everyone become cookie-cutter muscley Mr. Universes, to weed out the useless nerds, the lifelong virgins, and the fatties. no, no, there must be something else to counteract that. i thought of Mr. Humphries, and how vicious the world was, and my new favorite show came to the fore. but it wasn't enough, i was getting the song not stuck in my head enough, i needed something more. without stopping the machine i reached for my green notebook and in mid-sprint and not holding onto the safety bar was able to write in my journal about a character who loved the PBS show Vicious. it entered my head and stayed, getting rid of all traces of chicken fat:


to keep it afloat in my mind, i accompanied my story with a crude drawing of a stickman dancing to the irrepressible beats of this second track. i imagined myself on the dance floor with those in the video, and i was there, the treadmill's rolling mat became a danceboard illuminated underneath and overhead by a disco ball. my mind was no longer in the same room with my body. that's when i knew i'd get a good workout, when my body could do what it wanted to itself without me knowing.

thank God for my green notebook.




Juliette said...

Interesting dreams. I'm going to go away and analyse them and come back with some psychobabble. Ok, no I'm not :)

Do you have a green hand to go with your green notebook? That pike in the picture looks like my notebook collection! Do you write things relating to the same subject in your mind in different books? I do and then I can't remember which book I wrote what in and it doesn't make sense. Like piecing together a jigsaw with missing pieces.
People do give a fuck about you, I've seen them doing so. You just don't buy into the depth of it and probably never will < see that gobbledygook there?

You're a genius, sweet Phoenix and along with that comes torture.
The Communards - what a blast from the past. I love it when you can get lost somewhere like that.

the late phoenix said...

juli: thank you, mah dahlin'

yeah, i'm loving Vicious on PBS, excellent first two episodes! can't wait for the Christmas special! there's nothing like a good ol' straight-up sitcom.