I like it when my dreams’ metaphors are straightforward.

As someone with a complicated brain whose primary work is metaphor, I use my dreams a lot. Not for creative work per se—why is that? <shakes head musingly>—but as an additional news feed into my own inner workings. My intellect tends to be last to figure things out, and sometimes my gut has trouble articulating what, precisely, is happening in there.

But as someone with a complicated brain I generally have complicated dreams, full of obscurity. Like my repeated motif of crumbling hotels or third-world universities in twilight, where I’m roaming the concrete halls looking for… . That part varies. And the suggestions from the assorted dream dictionaries have been about as incisive as the half-light I move through in the dreams. But these dreams aren’t like that.

A dream I had a couple of weeks ago used a symbol so clearly lifted from a textbook that even while I was still dreaming I thought, “I know what that’s about.” A former boss of mine handed me an infant to care for, over my protests. I awoke with my heart thumping, but I’m pretty sure that’s solely from the boss’ appearance. Not because I was left “holding the baby.” Or because of Baby’s non-attached hand, which moved like a lavishly-digited starfish. That was simply odd. And no, I haven’t gone back to figure out what role the hand was playing. (Anna Karenina, portrayed tonight by Starfish Hand…   Sorry, I’ll come back now.)

Last night in my dreams I had places to be—appointments, though more in a ‘gallery opening’ way than a ‘physical checkup’ way. I would drive myself, get a bit turned around, end up in a different part of town… and remember I had a place I needed to be there, too. So I’d change my destination, start driving… and, as you might guess, end up in still another neighborhood. That had still another place I could/should be in. That I didn’t quite find.

Getting lost didn’t upset me within the dream, though it started to get annoying. After all, Metro Atlanta is really big, and those lovely tree-lined avenues can get tangled up quickly in one’s mind. The Peachtree Streets alone -! And any of the places I thought I’d go to were equally pleasant choices, where I would be welcomed by friends and colleagues. It’s just that I never quite got anywhere that finally woke me.


Last week had a heavy-duty percentage of fiction-reading. Chain-reading is a reliable indicator of stress in Kimbol—and yes, the image works because I really do hold one unbegun novel below the one I’m about to finish. So I can close one cover and open the next, just like lighting the new cigarette off the end of the old.

None of the things I could’ve been doing pressed on me enough to tip me into my “all right already!” anxiety. (Well, laundry. But just barely.) None of those things—which, by the way, are each artfully accessible so that there are few barriers to tackling any of them—tempted me just enough to hover next to them and begin. I eventually found myself wondering whether I was resting/refreshing myself (from what?) or I was avoiding everything via shadow comfort. With input from my dream, we’re now solidly voting: shadow comfort.

I just don’t know what I’m hiding from.

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