September 19th, 2004

View from study (sunny)

Driving to work on Friday

I wrote a couple of haikus. Which reminds me, the poetry course I signed up for should start in a few weeks time. That should be fun. I write terrible, terrible poetry -- or rather I did when I was young, until I saw how bad it was, and I've never written poetry since. Other than the occasional comic verse or parody and the haikus, of course.

I have no intention of trying to write poetry now (other than the course assignments, naturally), but I felt that a bit more appreciation of rhythm and metre and the use of words wouldn't do my fiction writing any harm.

Anyway, the haikus, both inspired by things I saw driving to work.

red in the hedgerow
a hint of copper and rust
and so the year turns

eye-catching blue-green
the peacock at the roadside

I don't offer these as being in any way good. But I write them because I find they fix a scene or a moment in my mind particularly well and re-reading one even a couple of years later can bring the original right back.

Like this one:

two magpies flying
against a dark sky
over sunlit fields

And trying to squeeze a whole scene into 5,7,5 is good practice for when you're looking for that telling detail to bring a story setting to life.
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island calm

A couple of dreams

Since reading Dreaming Reality by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell, I've been trying to spot cases where I've used the day's events in my dreams. It's not difficult to see where dreams come from once you've read their theory. (Which is simply that dreams are the brain's way of diffusing unresolved emotional arousal. Basically, if something upsets you or worries you or you've been thinking hard about a problem, that will appear in your dreams, translated into a metaphorical form.)

So last night there was the (occasionally recurring) complicated dream of being back in the centre of Manchester (at least I think that was where it was supposed to be, though it didn't look like anywhere I recognised) and I was trying to get home. Earlier in the dream, I'd travelled in to the centre by bus for some unspecified thing, a meeting perhaps, but though I'd found the place OK, I couldn't remember which bus I'd come in on. I had an idea it was a number 24, but I couldn't find the right bus stop in this area with lots of bus stops, and I didn't know what destination it would have on the front and there was no one to ask, everyone was hurrying by.

I think this must have arisen because G and I had talked about planning a visit to Oxford, but I hadn't got around to sorting out how we were going to travel there. I'd been wondering whether to go on the train or to drive. G had mentioned the possibility of taking a bus out to any interesting places if we went by train. But the bit about getting to the meeting OK but being unable to find my way home clearly refers to the previous day. When I went to Luke O'Connor House I had no difficulty getting there -- I was following a colleague as well as having clear instructions -- but when I tried to drive home without a guide, I missed a turn, ended up in some side streets, found myself at a T-junction with no idea of which way to go, chosen wrong and ended up back at the barracks. On turning round and trying again, I realised where I'd gone wrong and was soon back on familiar roads, but this was obviously the inspiration for the dream. According to Joe Griffin's theory, this isn't supposed to happen. Unless it was writing it up for LiveJournal without mentioning the going astray that put it back into my mind?

The other case was somewhat similar. I was having one of my frequent desperate for a pee, but unable to find a loo dreams (which are purely prompted by a full bladder), but as I was wandering around this building and finding public loos that were quite unusable for a variety of reasons, I passed a young man huddled under a staircase, talking to himself and clearly more than a little deranged. I just nodded to him, acknowledging his presence, but carried on in my quest for a ladies.

This again seems to relate to two things, but both happened on Friday. During the visit to Luke O'Connor House, I met the mental health team responsible for looking after local people with mental health problems. Also, that night's Inspector Frost TV drama involved a young man who was either autistic or had some other mental health problem.

So my dreams are more or less running in accordance with Joe Griffin's theory -- apart from the timing. Which means that my brain is running a day slow! No wonder I can never get myself organised.
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