Monday, May 11, 2009

Good dream/bad letter

Well, 艾恺 was in my dream last night. I don't know why, but we were talking by a tennis court, and 恺 said (about the tennis player/instructor on the court), "He said to me [lowers voice an octave], 'I've never cried in my entire life!'" and we laughed and I said, "Well, buddy, good for you!" There was more, but this is the only exchange I remember.

I also received my fourth rejection letter in the mail today, essentially nullifying the sweet remains of my dream. But I was not shocked. This makes rejections from Ploughshares, The Sun, Green Mountains Review, and Poetry East, for a total of 3 stories and 6 poems rejected. I will try again, I guess, but it's hard not to just say, "well, I must be a talentless hack after all."

Quality control training was led today by a man named "Rock" Rockwell. He reminded me of someone--I had a hard time deciding who. He either winked or had a tic (purposeful) which was like Herbert Lom's in the Panther series, but he looked more like Darren McGavin. Still, it was entertaining enough, although Wanda would have gotten us out of there a few hours earlier. Wanda knows how to whip through those training manuals. I suspect the work, even here, will not last so long, and so I may have to take LWB up on their offer of part-time work. I shudder to think! But I need the money.

For more of the ongoing English from Spanish from English translation (is that like 'a woman, pretending to be a man, pretending to be a woman'?) of La Caseta Mágica, read onward here.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Three unrelated images

Second trip to Amherst moderately successful. Met with a realtor, saw a few houses, did a lot of driving around neighborhoods. Went to the Carle Museum. Became sad over selling my house. Saw "The Old Curiosity Shop" on PBS without pixelation and of course without the now antiquated "snow."

Here is a shot I took of the telephone pole outside my house. You could climb up it, I suppose--it's pretty old. My house, by the way, is 101 years old, and was most likely a mill foreman's house, for the old paper mill down the hill that is now the hydroelectric plant. If you walk down there, you can see the old foundations, and at some point someone stood some of the millstones upright. They look like strange druid totems on a cloudy day. I mean, there's not much fascinating about Milton, but occasionally you find something cool.


And here's a Harry shot. He is so aesthetically pleasing:


And finally, here is Tina's stupid porch. I still have to build the door and screen it:


Canvassing is almost over. We have done our job too well, and there will be no more new work for awhile now. I will miss the adventures. In a totally unrelated thoughtstream, if you would like to read my first attempts at Spanish translation (in preparation for the doctoral program) you can find them here. I'm working on The Phantom Tollbooth.

Friday, May 01, 2009

House dreams

Before I actually got in bed, I fell asleep in the chair downstairs, with my legs up over one arm and by back braced against the other. I had managed to nestle my head in at a strange angle against the back of the chair. At which point I dreamt about very hilly, perhaps even mountainous address canvassing, which was displayed in a dot-graph-like form in my head. Very rough terrain, as it were. There was an additional confusion, and maybe irritation, about evangelical involvement. When I woke up--just barely enough to stumble upstairs--I reflected that sleeping position has an influence on dreams--surely a great discovery for the oneirological world! Since I was positioned like a valley between two peaks, so was my dream. I also thought that the evangelical aspect of the dream, which created some difficulty in my graphing, probably was the cause of my pain in the neck!


Probably a long while after I fell asleep upstairs, I started to dream about my house (this one, above) and the neighborhood--or rather, the house's relation to the neighborhood. I remember an ominous feeling at one point (I suppose I was already worried) and when I looked out the window, I saw quite a bit of damage (or was it decay?) done to the two neighboring houses. Let me stop for a minute, and explain what the landscape around the house looked like: it was as if we were in a quarry, long overgrown of course, but at the bottom of an immense rock wall, and the houses were backed up to it. They were all quite small and skinny. My house looked in reasonable condition, but the one on the left of me did not. It was sea-green with either asbestos shingle siding or tarpaper (yes they don't usually make tarpaper in that color) which was in very bad condition. I had assumed, up until now, that someone lived in the house, but I saw huge tears in it, and the garage was ballooned out on all sides, as if compression might make for a collapse.

On the right side of my house was a small white house with red trim, and at first I assumed major damage had been done, but perhaps it had come loose of its foundation. I called (someone) for assistance. I think, at this point, I was hearing the terrible wind outside rattling my windows in conjunction with the rain on my metal roof. Who came but Harrison Concrete (more on this later), and they first took the white house and lifted it by crane to a craggy crevice a little further up the mountain. Then they started to tear apart--well peel away--segments of the green house. You could hardly tell it had been framed at all. Pieces of wall came off like wet paper, like butter. I was more than disturbed. The rest of the neighborhood seemed to be intact, but who could tell?

I went to have a look inside the white house, which Harrison had claimed for himself. It was metal all around, like a white cookie tin. It seemed to be in good shape on the inside, and I asked what happened and I suppose Harrison told me that the owner had abandoned it--I wonder why? I suppose I wanted to get away from all that--so I started to look through some DVDs (still dreaming, though I could feel Harry curl up around my arm for protection) and I found "The Sandlot," which was not really "The Sandlot," but it started off with two boys racing cars in a bomb shelter, yes it did.

I'm not one for asking others to provide dream analysis because after all, what significance could their assumptions have on my dreams? I think that house worry is a common theme for me, especially after having purchased. But I find it interesting that the neighborhood had such a different character than my own, or even the neighborhoods I've been canvassing, unless the houses in true disrepair are getting to me more than I think they are. I also recall, when we lived in El Cerrito, wondering if a certain shabby house was even inhabited, since I never saw anyone go in or out. Of course, my schedule did keep me from seeing midday weekday occurrences, but I think it still weighed a little. There is something very sad and queer about an empty house (not for sale, not new construction--just sitting empty). I suppose it makes me think of possible causes: plagues, death, etc. My own neighborhood is thoroughly inhabited, though down the road on 7 there are some really big contemporary houses that are vacant, and have a faded, fallen-down real estate sign in front, long crushed from the snow. In conjunction with some eerie wind chimes and a hot day (it was 90) I felt my skin crawl.

Harrison, the other aspect of the dream, comes quite naturally as the topic of discussion amongst neighbors (his business intends to erect wind-turbines on Georgia mountain, which I am not opposed to, but the people with land abutting or on Georgia mountain do oppose. I think this is not very neighborly) and then seeing Harrison Concrete working on a new subdivision on Westford Rd., which I canvassed yesterday.