If you have just arrived at The Library in Purgatory, the first chapter is here.

"I never found the girl, I never got rich. Follow me."

~Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chapter VII.6

FROG (prince) of Cornwall

Autumn Quietly
And he waited
for her there
     long after she had gone
     long after he knew that
     that she would not
Till one day,
   brown and orange
   leaves crumbling
   dry in his hands,
   he could no longer
   see her
   hear her
   or remember
   the words she had written
   to him.
And he slowly stood up
  with a sad little sigh
and quietly walked
towards the bittersweet
burning up the western


0125—Bad Drunk

I want so badly to call Gwen right now—am having a hard time thinking why I shouldn’t, but don’t know what I’d say if I did.  Instead, and this is a very fucking distant 2nd place, I am going to pass out on my sofa instead.

Why the Hell isn’t my Life Like the Myths, Legends, Hollywood, or Anything?

I have looked at what started on the trip to Denver  as an anomaly—I didn’t understand how I could have reached the moment of “catharsis” without having the corresponding moment of “struggle”—damn you Hollywood!  And now, having gone back and read some of my old journals—I never faced off vs. the “giant monster’ but I faced a million small ones—the fact that I’m still alive to even write this is a testament to my courage and inability to give in.

I always thought that there would be some “earth-shattering” revelation that would, somehow, put it all in perspective, tie it all together, unite the disparate parts into a (self) coherent whole, and set me free.  Instead, just like Parzival, I one day realize that I have “won through”, without knowing how or why.  For so long I have struggled under the banner of “looking for something” that it is hard to let it go.  However, was reminded today of this from 06JUL99:

“…it is also one of the styles of the psyche to pretend that something in the past literally caused something in the present.” (source unknown)

Screw it.  Just talked to Mikey for an hour—that kid!  I would fly out tomorrow to stand in for him at his own funeral.  And yet, his advice is this, “Hey, how are you?  Haven’t heard from ya in a while.”  Fucker.

What I was trying to get at last night was that things did not/have not happened the way I thought they would—which is not necessarily a bad thing.  However, it led me to question the results, the process.  Further, it is possible that this childhood “tragedy” was a construct of my psyche (or my own ignorance/misunderstanding) just to get me moving, on the path, and that I shouldn’t worry about not “getting to the bottom of the issue.”

So I took Mikey’s (possibly bad) advice and called Gwen last night.  Fortunately, she didn’t answer and I got her voice mail—didn’t leave a message.  I don’t know if it was the right thing to do or not.  The fact that I called really means that I likely need to follow it up with another call.  Should I have waited to call her?  I had hoped that she would call; now, who knows.

Surprisingly, I really feel like just walking away—why?  Likely because I figure that I will talk to her (me calling her, not the other way around) and find that nothing has changed, or worse, that she hasn’t thought of me at all.

We are at an impasse, before last night I mean, and I am tired of being the “responsible” one, the one who cares.  It has always been me reaching out to her; but as I write that, I know it’s not entirely true and I have to wonder, how many times was that a factor of me having walked away?  I want to be seen as having some “worth”, some “value”—not that she can ignore me and that I will just come back.

Yet, at the same time, I have to wonder just what “being bold” in this situation entails—is it staying away and letting go or seeking reunion?  It strikes me that, after all my learning/revelations, this is my first “lab”, if you will—test.  And it occurs to me that it was a night or two ago that I first really felt like calling her.  I’ve missed her every day, but this was the first time I really wanted to call her.  In any case, as I see it, because I called, and she has to know that I did, I have to back it up or not talk to her for a longer time.

I must be the luckiest fucker in the world!  Called Gwen last night—no answer.  Now what do I do—called her tonight, twice, with no answer—now she has to call me—inshallah—but none of that matters—now, it’s on her shoulders.

In the Margins:
-“Anyone can be angry—that is easy.  But to be angry with the right reason, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way—this is not easy.” ~Aristotle
-I woke up this morning, tired, so tired that sleep would never be able to relieve it.

“If you find your life tangled up with somebody else’s life for no very logical reasons, that person may be a member of your karass.”

“They were, I think, a flawless example of what Bokonon calls a ‘dupress’, which is a karass composed of only two persons.”

“’The people of San Lorenzo,’ the father told me, ‘are interested in only three things: fishing, fornication, and Bokononism.’”

                                             ~Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut

So, called Gwen last night—twice—and no answer.  Not exactly sure what to make of that.  Three different times over two nights and she doesn’t answer on any?  What are the odds of that?  Crazy.

Anyway, it doesn’t look like a fluke “drunk dialing” incident, or maybe it looks like two.  I think I’m off the hook, so to speak, in that regards and it will be back to whether or not she wants to call.

Last week, reading journal from the time frame spanning ’97 Med Cruise till I first moved to CO, which encompasses my initial meeting of Gwen and the “meat” of our relationship, or at least time together.  It’s funny how you forget some things and come to believe others, not incorrectly, but not exactly factual either.  And the thing that really strikes me—reading all this old stuff—is the unbelievable parallels between then and now:  the frustration with her silence, not knowing where she “was at” or where the boundaries were, lack of communication, etc.  It is actually fucking crazy because my thoughts then, at least in regards to her, are damn near the same they are now, which is almost unbelievable to me—so much for progress.

Even then, I was writing about “letting her go’, not knowing what else to do, and being afraid of “clinging” to her.  I couldn’t let go then though and ultimately drove a great deal of space between us.  I had forgotten all this stuff and rereading it, it’s like I have already done this, lived all this shit once before, which makes me wonder what I didn’t learn the first time and what I am s’posed to (try to) do differently this time around.  It also makes me wonder, given that I’m seeing damn near the same things from Gwen, some eight years later, if possibly this isn’t a sign that maybe we should not be together at all.  I don’t know, can argue it either way.

But again, am just surprised that things I wrote eight years ago I could just as well have written two weeks ago.  It is just amazing.  This needs more thought.

 We've Been Here Before?
Woke up this morning, tired and blah—not a good night of sleep and felt down; haven’t been able to shake it much all day.
Gwen has felt very far away today and not on my side of the fence.  Don’t ask me why.

Given how things were back in ’98-9 I am surprised that I wasn’t more afraid this second go ‘round, that it was as easy as it was (relatively speaking) to do the right thing and let her go.  This in-between stuff though is killing me.  I can’t do anything other than work on me, which sucks, as I’d rather be working on us.

Going back to rereading old journals: am struck that there may have been more to this “voice” than I most recently thought.  I had forgotten the extent to which I had felt “guilty” for something but never knew what or why; only that my blood, pain, or death could atone for this sin.  In any case, below are some quotes from various sources that I have recopied down, them striking me as relevant now as well as back then.

Somewhere between Vietnam and a bottle of whiskey my nightmare began, with scratches of line and bursts of color.  I have tried to rid myself of that nightmare and its long-reaching effects.  I have tried to draw a map for myself from the past to the present, from sickness and anger to peace and health.  Everyday I have to work because the truce I have with darkness is delicate and peace requires constant maintenance.”[1]  ~Richard Bartow

There was a time, actually a long time in my life, when I buried my deepest feelings somewhere in the ocean of my mind.  I did not want to feel or see myself.  I was afraid of what I would feel inside, afraid to reexperience the horrors, to relive the violence that I was capable of.  I became a Spartan, not allowing myself pleasure although going out of my way to help others.  To do otherwise, I felt, would weaken me.  Looking back, I see that was very selfish.[2] ~ Michael Brostowitz

Children who endure such abuse can become hyperalert to the emotions of those around them, in what amounts to a post-traumatic vigilance to clues that have signaled threat…many such people are gifted at sensing what others around them are feeling.”[3]

“The only way to communicate what happens when a man stands next to the waters of his own life is through metaphor.  Entering into the depths of the psyche can be overwhelming and dangerous.  Rites of initiation intentionally put people at the edge, where they must sink or swim with the capacities and resources they carry within themselves.  When there are no prepared rites, the psyche of a person will take any significant interruption of the daily work and throw a person into the realm of ordeals and trials.”[4]

The effects of this return from the castle of the water of life are not at all straightforward.  The youngest brother has changed radically, and all the relationships to which he returns must change as well.”[5]

There are two parts to the rediscovery of the place of genuine.  In one we sense the golden light of the flame in ourselves; in the other, someone else must see the flame in us.  Both are necessary for the fire to grow.  When both occur, there is an outbreak of spirit that changes the course of our lives.  If neither of these things happen, we may die, either literally or inside.  If others see the flame in us but we don’t recognize it, we will burn just for them and eventually burn out.  If the flame cannot find a life-enriching way to be seen by others, then it will burn a line towards death in order to be noticed before it goes out.”[6]

Couple of things I wanted to touch on here as I’ve been thinking about them today. 

First, Think I am still between the “prize” and “return” points in the hero-myth cycle and I’m not sure what it is I need to do next to effect a/the return and the completion of they cycle.  Second, does Gwen play a role during or at the “return” and what do I do in regards to either answer?

As I think I’ve already written, it really struck me just how unable I was to see Gwen’s side of things back in ’98-9.  And although I was not able to see her side, I could at least see, in my writings, our interactions and how much she tried.  This time, even more than the last, I have no idea what is going on for her—no comms between us.  But, as crazy as it sounds, I think I am getting a little (and by little, I mean “little”) idea of some of what may be going on for her since I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls.  Hopefully you’ve stopped laughing by now.  The show has been a guilty pleasure since the morning after I last talked to her.

So, last night, am thinking hard on the questions I led off with, looking for an answer(s).  It was a poor night of sleep and there seemed to me more “tossing and turning” than sleep or dreams.

In regards to the first question, I was left, not so much with a picture or dream, but rather the “feeling”—words: and this is what they were:  “Dip him in the River Styx.”

In regards to the second question (Gwen), it was even more telling:  “Throw yourself in the river.”

WTF over?!!

Okay, I can see the benefits of furthering my armor by “dipping” in the River Styx…just like Achilles.  Up-armor your character vs. everything—kinda like getting rustproofed.  I sound cynical?  For one reason—how?

As for Gwen—what does that mean?  Let her go more?  Call her now?

Am struck overwhelmingly (possibly stupidly) that this directive means NOW—even though it is in the middle of Lost.

Instant feedback—straight through to voicemail.  Nothing.  There’s nothing to think about.  This will make the 4th time I’ve called her on three different nights; I will never call her again.  How, why could I?

Woke up “feeling” the fact/truth that I have not “returned” yet…not from my quest or even ‘Astan.  I still want “me” time and realize that I am still having some, not so much problems, as hesitancy getting back into the “real world”.   I have been taking steps to help the process along, often unwittingly—getting my place and moving, and now, buying a car—come to mind.

Little things still seem overwhelming—like buying ceiling fans, a kayak, or just going to the store sometimes.  I want to do some volunteer work but have put it off, mainly because I don’t want to have a commitment to anything right now.

Have a lump in my throat and a pit in my stomach and just feel like curling up and bawling, but I don’t know why.

Six months ago today, also a Friday, by coincidence, I stumbled home about 0500 or so and typed up a short email to Gwen babbling about something or other and asking if I could call her…before falling into bed.

I had really hoped that there would be such an email waiting for me when I got up this morning—sucks to be me I guess.

Unsent Note to Gwen:
Woke up this morning and sat at my bar with a coffee and the pic you sent of yourself from DC—have no idea why you sent it— Funny that, because it suddenly struck me that it was 6 months ago, to the day, that I stumbled home in my Jeep and wrote you an e-mail asking if I could call you.

Only 6 months?  Shit.  It seems like years, lifetimes in Afghanistan—hate to say it because it sounds cheap—but since we’re not talking if not true, if I was a better man, would have died in an appropriate manner to show you I wasn’t making that crap up.

But no, all that is wrong, the fact is, for reasons I can’t explain…For reasons I don’t understand still I “met” you, have felt like I always knew ya.

All right—gave up last night, er, rather this morning—too much champagne.  Shit happens I guess.  Will have another go at it.

MoP asked Miss Kayte to marry him last night and she said yes.

I’m going to chalk this up to the champagne, but there was once, maybe twice, where Kayte glanced at me with this look of loss and sadness, like I was s’posed to have asked her and there was still time to do something about it.  And as I write this now, and picture Kayte and the look on her face in my mind, I now see more of Gwen’s face than Kayte’s.  Hmm…not sure what to make of that.

            Letter from Kayte dated 22JUN06
Dear Frog Prince,

Thank you for the great book.  I look forward to reading it.  I always can use a good laugh.  I appreciate you being part of such an interesting evening.  Thanks again.  See you soon.


There are some days that I wake up and feel like the biggest chump in the world for believing, for saying that, somehow, Gwen and I will work out; feel like a pathetic loser hanging onto a ship that has already sunk and gone down.

Conversely, there are those days that I wish I could bottle; where I feel honorable, strong, and knightly.  Most days, I think, am somewhere in the middle on the side of optimism; though I have to admit, it hurts, some days more than others.  Honestly, it is the difference between seeing a challenge and being a victim, between basing my worth on myself or on her.

I remember when Shane showed up here some 5-6 days a couple of days after thanksgiving.  We stayed up and played pool till like 0500 the next day.  I had Gwen on my mind and he asked me about her.  I remember telling him, though I’m not sure that this had anything to do with her, how, here I was with all this “prosperity” and yet I felt dead to the world; that I hadn’t been alive, truly alive, since Charleston. 

Shane advised that I call Gwen and then fly out to see her.  I couldn’t see it happening simply because I assumed that she hated me.  Two weeks later, J. convinced me, at about the same time of morning, to do the same thing.

My life, again, changed that day.  I suddenly felt alive—after she said yes of course.  That suddenly, I was of some worth.  Until then, I had felt like about a million dollars of unrecoverable treasure, or a million dollars of worthless metal—Librarianasium—a million bucks, yes, but of little or no value at all.  Worthless.  Useless.

It would be easier to just walk away; to completely let go and not look back.  It would have even been easier to cling on, to grab, wheedle, whine, and make a right proper pathetic ass of myself—peddling whatever remained of my pride and dignity till she loathed even the sound of my name.  And yet….

No two days are the same, except that I miss her; but even that varies from day to day in type, amount and intensity.

Of late, she seems further away and I know that I miss her but I don’t remember “why” so much and the ache doesn’t feel as strong as it once did.  It’s like she is slowly fading back into a “symbol” where our separation has been so long (or long enough) that I don’t really know who she is now anymore. 

There are likely things about her personally, her character that has remain the same, changed little.  But, as a living, dynamic, creature…I no longer know as well as I did who that beautiful creature is, and that gap, that space, that “unknown” continues to grow with every day that passes.

And on one hand, I’m glad that I’m letting go.  In some ways, it means that, cumulatively, everyday that passes, it gets a little easier to reclaim my life and to see new possibilities.  And yet,  I said, at least to myself, that I’d wait…but I don’t know how to keep her alive for me, from becoming an empty symbol of something that no longer exists; which is bad as it means I am more likely to pigeon-hole her or completely miss/overlook/misunderstand a new, better Gwen.

What is it about someone that you “love”, and how do you keep that alive in your heart when you are no longer in proximity to that?

And as I write this, I am leaning towards the idea/feeling that the flame is going to fade and finally die; which is as it should be.  All you are left with is a few embers, which you keep alive by blowing on them with your breath, until you can combine them with hers, should you meet again, and can rekindle the flame together.  That feels about right to me; can’t say why it does, but it does.

Autumn Suddenly
He stood there
at the crossroads
Spring had turned
   into summer
      and then into autumn
orange and brown leaves
pushed about by a chill
creaking wind
blowing forlornly
about his legs.
The flame he carried
  had gone out
  a long time ago
as she faded
from a fantastic creature
to a bittersweet
glowing like an ember
in his heart
and kept alive there
with his warm breath
   till the day when
   would seek him out
   and rekindle that flame
   with the fire
   of her love.

Had a crazy thought the other night—there’s just no accounting for me.  What if these inexplicable moods I sometimes get—not related to my own strange moods—were me pinging on Gwen’s vibe?  Again, I’m pretty sure that this came out under the influences of Gosling’s but it was important enough for me to jot down a reminder to write about it; so it is the least I can do for “Last-Night-Frog Prince”, who can write no more.  And, although crazy sounding, it is an interesting idea…for reasons that I don’t totally understand.

Lying in bed this morning, thinking; I seem to be on two tracks: finishing my quest and Gwen.  One I feel stymied by and the other I can do nothing about other than work on the former in an effort to be a better person.  That’s where I’m at.

As I have thought all along, but is really sinking now, this is a chance for me to grow, a lot, especially with everything else that has been going on.  I am not in a position to influence her…but I can influence me, and it is an opportunity.  And the crazy thing is, I can’t lose.  Either by fate or because I fucked up, Gwen is beyond my reach.  If I improve myself and she comes back, I ‘m better for it; if she doesn’t come back, yeah it stings, but I have triumphed rather than wilted in the face of adversity and have more to offer and will be in a better position to offer that to someone else.

This is an opportunity and the only way that I lose is if I piss it away.  I have been leaning this way for the last month, but this is the first time that it has sunk in so concretely.  Of course, there have been and are going to be hard days, down days…but I can’t just give in and give up.

The quality of any relationship is determined by the one who wants it least, not most.”[7]

Started Tristan last week and just barely started getting into the meat of it yesterday and today—have been highlighting like mad.

If Parzival was the analogy for my quest, there are parts of this (Tristan) that are for Gwen and me—crazily so.  Will start jotting down some quotes below—the first couple are from the prologue and first chapter, which deal with generalities and the meeting and romance between Tristan’s parents.  The really telling quotes will come later.

Joy and sorrow were ever inseparable in love.  We must win honour and glory with the two or go to perdition without them.”[8]

“…I see so few who, for their lover’s sake, will suffer pure longing in their hearts—…”[9]

But since he was uncertain of her motive—whether she acted from enmity or love—he wavered in perplexity.  He wavered in his thoughts now here, now there.  At one moment he was off in one direction, then suddenly off in another, till he had so ensnared himself in the toils of his own desire that he was powerless to escape.  …His entanglements had placed him in a quandary, for he did not know whether she loved or hated him.  No hope or despair did he consider which did not forbid him either to advance or retreat—hope and despair led to and fro in unresolved dissension.” [10]

God, I know this so well!  It is me, back in ’98-9, and this year as well.  You look so hard, searching for any clue, trapped in no-man’s land’ unable to press on because you are unsure where her lines/boundaries are and reluctant or unable to retreat.  It is a living agony; and you are certain, that if you just had that one little sign, clue, you would know perfectly what to do.

For the greatest distress in which any man can be is to see his deadly enemy before his eyes, day and night.  Such peril grips at one’s heart and is a living death.”[11]

Actually, reminded me of the stress of being in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At one point in the story, Tristan has fought and killed a dragon (had been on fire—h/t to Bly and Iron John).  He retreats to a pond where he submerges himself completely except for his mouth, and then passes out.  He is found by the two Isoldes and Brangane:  When the three beauties, this radiant company…” (p. 165).  I was reminded of the time I stumbled home from McD’s—drunk—junior year in high school.  I passed out somewhere, a couple of times actually, along the way and had a dream or vision of three women, all in dark robes with the hoods over their heads.  They were all beautiful and my recollection is that they were all blond, though it has been so long that I can’t be sure.  They didn’t do or say anything and all I have is the picture of them—from the shoulders up.  However, I was left with the impression that they were “sisters of mercy” (not the band!), for lack of a better term—to help, protect, teach, and one (possibly) to marry me.

So, reading about the three “beauties” pulling Tristan out of the drink (drunk) tweaked my memory.  Of course, it could be nothing more than strange coincidence, if you believe in that sort of thing.

“…you love that which hates you, and that which you desire does not want you!...you keep on telling us that you desire Isolde and that she will have none of you?  Such is her nature: who can change it?[12]

These words were spoken to the deceitful steward, but there’s a part of me that can’t help thinking that they apply to me as well regarding the current situation with Gwen

Those two conflicting qualities, those warring contradictions, womanhood and anger, which accord so ill together, fought a hard battle in her breast.  When anger in Isolde’s breast was about to slay her enemy, sweet womanhood intervened.  ‘No, don’t!’ it softly whispered.  Thus her heart was divided in purpose—a single heart was at one and the same time both good and evil.”[13]

The last quote, struck me as the fight between Gwen’s head and heart with me, my fate, at least regarding this thing called “us”, hanging in the balance.

Nevertheless I detest you, since but for you I should not have a care in the world.  You and you alone have saddled me with all this trouble, with your tricking and deceit.  What spite has sent you here from Cornwall to my harm?[14]

This struck me as possibly how Gwen might have felt, in part, when I visited her in San Diego.

I was struck by how Tristan, having met her, Isolde, I mean the first time in Ireland, didn’t fall in love with her, or seem to take much notice of her at all other than to note her beauty; and that even as they are sailing back to Cornwall, he is still not taken with her but tries to be her friend.  It is not till he drinks of the love potion that his eyes and heart are opened and he falls irrevocably in love with Isolde, then tries to deny it, fight it, as she is betrothed to another.

It is eerily similar to the day in KW.  I could not have cared less about Gwen before; she didn’t mean a thing to me other than she was nice to me, fun to drink with, and the wife of my best friend.

Now when the maid and the man, Isolde and Tristan, had drunk the draught, in an instant that arch-disturber of tranquility was there, Love, waylayer of all hearts, and she had stolen in!  Before they were aware of it she had planted her victorious standard in their two hearts and bowed them beneath her yoke.  Who were two and divided now became one and united…They shared a single heart.  Her anguish was his pain: his pain her anguish.  The two were one both in joy and in sorrow, yet they hid their feeling from each other.  This was from doubt and shame.  She was ashamed, as he was.  She went in doubt of him, as he of her.  However blindly the craving in their hearts was centered on one desire, their anxiety was how to begin.  This masked their desire from each other.[15]

First off, a part of me has always thought that I was crazy, that there was no way I could simply step between a woman and a bum and fall in love with her, totally, completely.  It made no fucking sense; so I either had to be crazy, deluding myself, or horribly, horribly confused.  The fact that she was my buddy’s wife only made it worse and the more far-fetched.  And yet, the above describes exactly what happed to me and how I felt; it is the only time in all the years since that I have seen anything comparable.  The only difference here is that I can’t account for Gwen’s feelings and am quite certain that she did not fall in love with me (at that time), if she was even aware of how I felt.

When Tristan felt the stirrings of love he at once remembered loyalty and honour, and strove to turn away.  ‘No, leave it, Tristan,’ he was continually thinking to himself, ‘pull yourself together, do not take any notice of it.’  But his heart was impelled towards her.  He was striving against his own wishes, desiring against his desire…As is the way of captives, he fixed his mind on an escape and how he might elude her, and returned many times to this thought:  ‘turn one way or another!  Change this desire!  Love and like elsewhere!’  But the noose was always there.  He took his heart and soul and searched them for some change:  but there was nothing there but Love—and Isolde.”[16]

Holy Shit!  Here is a story written some time after 1210 AD, whose earliest version is approximately, excuse me, circa 1150 AD, that perfectly portrays my state of mind following that Valentine’s Day in Key West 1998!  I stepped between a woman, who I had never given a second thought to, and a bum, and as surely and quickly as Tristan, my life world changed forever. 

My love,
Heart of my heart,
Soul mate…
you were wrenched away
from me
and I was left
Not a day goes by
that I don’t feel that
in a million—
seemingly infinitesimally small—
Where are you
lying tonight
and why aren’t I
How long must I
  go on
    separated from
from my own soul?
The agonies of Hell—
at least as I have
heard them described—
have nothing on the pain
I feel every morning
   to awake
   not at your side.
How do I find
  my way to your
when it is I
who am lost
to you?


[2] Ibid, p. 36
[5] Ibid, p. ??
[6] Ibid, p. ??
[7] David J. Lieberman, PhD., Make Peace with Anyone, p. 165
[8] Gottfried Von Strassburg, Tristan (A. T. Hatto translation), p. 19
[9] Ibid, p. 43
[10] Ibid, p. 52-3
[11] Ibid, p. 65
[12] Ibid, p. 172
[13] Ibid, p. 176
[14] Ibid, p. 193
[15] Ibid, p. 195
[16] Ibid, p. 195-6

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chapter VII.5

FROG (prince) Dreams, I.

“…to sleep—
To sleep—perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil…”


Before falling asleep last night, put my mind to pondering on the question of what my Grail is.  Had the two dreams below.

Dream# 1—The Girl who Walked Through Walls
Woke up from this one about 0415; had that feeling that this dream was important. 

I was in my place and all my stuff was in the living room, like it more or less is now.  There are four of us here, crashed out around the living room (party?), Mikey being one of them.  I was sleeping on a couch (that I don’t currently own (with my head on the wrong end)) that was where my bed is.  Mikey was trying to sleep on one of my barstools and kept falling forward onto the back/top of the couch.  I had woken up laughing to see this.  I told Mikey to go sleep on the big couch behind the bar ‘cause no one was sleeping on it.  Someone was sleeping on the short one though, Diamond Dave maybe.  There was one more person sleeping to my left over by where the pool table is, but I don’t know who.

Now the whole thing shifts and although I am still in “my” place it is not physically my place.  I am now on the ground floor with floor to ceiling windows across the front of the place and a sofa facing them and the kitchen behind the sofa and a kitchen bar dividing the living room from the kitchen.

I am up— thirsty as hell— drinking fruit punch Gatorade out of my Coke Jaguars cup and am wearing my black 5.11 shorts (nothing like product placement in a dream).  I see a dame walk by outside and she is looking in at me.  I am guzzling the Gatorade, spilling it down my chest and onto my shorts but I don’t care, think it’s funny because she is looking at me like I am crazy.

Now the dame isn’t outside but inside and walking to the left end of the sofa (from my perspective) where she sits down and pulls out a book like she doesn’t care or has forgotten about me   I am completely surprised and finally go, “Hey, this isn’t your place,” or “you don’t live here!”  She looks at me sheepishly as she gets up to leave.  I think I said, “How did you get in here?” and I see her holding two keys— the very same two keys that actually get into my building and place now.

She starts edging towards the door on the right and I move to cut her off, saying, “You can’t leave, you have to stay here.  I’m calling the police.”

She then goes out the front door to the left, makes a right and starts walking down the street.  I am following two steps behind her.  She veers to the left to the other side of the street and walks through a door into an apartment.  Up above is some preppy-looking guy in a pink shirt with blond hair— kinda looks like Frasier’s brother on Frasier— standing in the doorway with a Dixie cup in his hand (left with the impression that a party was going on). I yell up to him, asking if he knows this dame.  He looks down at her and goes, “Yeah.”  The dame glares angrily up at the yuppie dude before going through the door.  I am feeling pretty good, figuring that even if she gets away this guy will be able to tell the cops who the hell she is.

So the dame goes into the lower apartment and closes the door behind her.  I dial 911, wondering if it is the right thing to do since this isn’t life-threatening, and tell the dispatcher what has happened.  She tells me, and I forget which, that it will be 4-6 hours or days before an officer will be out.  I am shocked and walk home.  Approximately twenty minutes later someone’s knocking on my door and I open it to see a cop— even more shocked.

I begin to tell him what has happened, describing the dame to him:  29-32 y/o, 5’11”, shoulder-length brown hair (kinda wavy) wearing a T-shirt (can’t remember if yellow or blue) with a Curious George logo on the front and nothing on the back, brown corduroy skirt (just about knee length, maybe a little less), and black calf-length boots.  To that, I add that she was kinda “mousey” looking, that if you saw her you might think that she was a librarian or a grade school teacher (kinda looked like one of the waitresses at Shuckers last night).

And then somehow I am in the back of the cop’s car (who now reminds me of “Puddy” from Seinfeld) and we are driving on a road way to the right of my apartment and the road is curving up and to the right along or into some hills that remind me of those in San Diego, and I don’t know where he is taking me.

I’m telling the cop that the thing that really pisses me off is that I have been in Iraq and ‘Astan and that my place is my refuge, my sanctuary, the boundary which keeps the rest of the world out and that that has been violated; that I didn’t invite her in, that she snuck in and that that is just plain wrong.


“…you have to describe thoroughly and understand your psychological associations to the various dream images.  These associations must come from your personal life, not from a dictionary of fixed meanings.”[1]

I don’t know, am just gonna write my impressions and feelings as I was thinking about it this morning and while I have been writing the dream down.

The first part could represent the NavyNavy guys present (the 3rd may have been Doc) and the chaos of my place representing the chaos of those times.  By way of comparison, when the dream shifted to the second “my place” it was ordered, quiet, still, and very peaceful—one of those perfect, deep, late spring nights where magic is quietly afoot.  The second apartment kinda reminded me of the last one in K’zoo.

All shots/scenes took place at night, which represents about a million different things.  Here, I’m gonna lean towards “being asleep”, yet I am awake; the girl and I the only two who are awake, at least initially.

Then, I see the dame, she is outside and I don’t think twice about it—because she is outside my boundary, outside me peace, my sanctuary, just another person.

I am thirsty, drinking with a gusto, drinking Gatorade to rehydrate myself.  Am I thirsty for life?  For something else?  Trying to rehydrate/heal myself from too much drinking (not living) previously?  I’m not sure but am inclined to see some combination of these as most likely.

As I’m drinking, the girl notices me and I’m spilling Gatorade all down my front, looking like an idiot, but I don’t care.  Because of my thirst (for something) I am drinking (trying to quench it) without a care for how I look—am reminded of a quote Jason the bartender (at the Spot) once told me:  “Everyone talks about my drinking but no one speaks of my thirst.”—and that is when the girl notices me.  But then she goes on, doing what she was doing before she noticed me; only now she is inside, inside the boundaries of the apartment, sitting down, getting comfy, and pulling out a book.

I did not see what the book was—could it have been Twenty2 the Hard Way?

How did she get inside?  How did she get the keys to my place?  And why did she come inside?  I was under the impression that she had been doing this for some time but that this was the first time I had ever seen her—it was like she didn’t expect me to be there.

When my eyes were “opened” to Gwen in Key West, it was with a much greater shock of awareness/knowing, and even though there wasn’t that same “shock” in this dream, it was just as sudden.

Then, having noticed that she was not outside, but inside, I address her, “Hey, this isn’t your place,” and she gets up, not frightened or even in a hurry, and I say, wait, you can’t leave.”  I’m not really angry or anything at that point, but my entreaty is not motivated out of love, possibly some curiosity, but not love.

I could certainly see a time where I would want her (Gwen) to understand how I hurt— to punish her—but she never really wronged me.  Back in ’98-9, that would have come from “the voice” and the whole fear of abandonment thing.  The San Diego trip and after, I may have been wronged, but I don’t even know entirely…well, I do, but I don’t know how much, and although I certainly want her to understand what I have felt, aside from the small, childish urge to strike back, I have wished her no ill will.  I don’t see how I did anything negative on purpose to try to drive her away or punish her on the San Diego trip.  I can’t see how I consciously could work at such cross-purposes.  This is causing me much anguish to think I could have done something along those lines at all, much less not know it.  I want to write it off but I’m feeling such resistance to it that I can’t.  Let me come back to it later.

So, I follow her out as she leaves across the street.  I still don’t know who she is and, fearing not being able to find her again, spot a person that lives above the apartment where she is going—a husband?  Although I would never call Ivan a preppy, he was blond. In the dream, I didn’t like the guy, who struck me as a “weaselly”.  And then she was gone and I’m left standing out in the street with my phone.

The preppy is awake, knows the girl, but is not “with” her, further, she gives him an angry look when he replies that he does know her—again, Ivan fits nicely.  Yet, you could possibly make the argument that the girl is Gwen’s heart and the preppy is her head, or rational mind.  Hmmm….

It has occurred to me that there may be another explanation for threatening (a bad word) to call the cops, who represent an arm of a higher authority, in this case, not to punish but to assist me/us in this strange, awkward, and ultimately, untenable situation.  I was not angry at the time, never was throughout the dream.  It may be a stretch, and not a perfect fit, but in light of the police at the end, may work.

So, I am standing out in the street, alone with my phone (device for communication over a distance) and I call 911 because a woman has penetrated my sanctuary and then disappeared,  without so much as a word spoken.  I am hesitant about calling 911 as this is not an imminent threat/emergency, but call anyway, describing what has transpired to the dispatcher, who tells me that it will be 4-6 weeks or years (not sure) before a police officer can get out to me.

It has been more than six years if you measure/count from spent New Years with them in ‘98/9.  June 10 will have been six months since I first called her.  June 13 will be two months since I last saw her.

So,  I go back to my apartment, still awake, where, something like twenty minutes later, there’s a knock on my door—the right one, not the left one, which the girl went out—and standing there is a police officer (destiny?). I am actually surprised.  I begin to physically describe the girl to the officer—the height and age are pretty close to Gwen, hair, all wrong, clothes, possible, Gwen is not “mousey”.

I don’t remember if I actually dreamed it or half-dreamed/thought it later, but I told the cop that her fingerprints had to be on the doorknobs and we could lift those to figure out who she was.  Fingerprints—specific, unique, things left behind indicating passage or presence.

So, somehow I am in the back of the police car, but not as a prisoner; grousing about the unfairness of someone being able to penetrate your boundaries/sanctuary (and possibly, to then leave), etc.  I don’t know exactly where we are, other than we are way to the right of my apartment when looking out the front (in the real world).  This would put us west.  That the road was curving up and to the right into some hills reminds me of the hills around San Diego.

Dream# 2—Helen Hunt and the Strange-Looking Minotaur
I am sitting one evening (??— time really indeterminate) on a couch/sofa in this alcove with my left side to the backrest— which is the same as my small sofa on which I sit to read or watch TV.  There must have been some daylight left because I hear this scrabbling at the door to my back and I can make out through the half-opaque glass this LARGE distorted shape trying to get in the door.  For reasons that I don’t understand, I think nothing of it and go back to reading my book.

The door bursts open and what looks like a comically bad minotaur makes a left-hand turn through the door and then a right-hand turn before running through a door into an unknown room.  I say comically-bad:  it’s over 7’ tall, horns, reddish in color, yet it looks like a fake plastic costume (pictures of “Eduardo” from Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends ).

I am startled by the minotaur’s entrance, which is kinda surprising given that I more or less knew that “something” was trying to break in (compare to the girl in the 1st dream who effortlessly transited my boundaries/barriers).  A dog, lying on the floor near the head of the sofa jumps, up and barks menacingly (where did he come from?  I didn’t even know he was there).  For my part, again startled, I give a huge shout like a bark and that’s all.  But once the fake-looking minotaur has made the left through the door and into the room and slammed the door behind him the dog lies back down and I go back to reading my book as if nothing has happened.

An indeterminate amount of time goes by (it turns out that I am reading on the set of Mad About You) and then Helen Hunt (Jamie), Paul Reiser (Paul(y)), and the guy who plays “Ira” walk in through the same door the minotaur forced his way through and are like, “How are you doing?”

However, before these three show up, the fake-looking minotaur and some other “creature” (indeterminate and I’m not even 100% sure that there was a 2nd creature) exit the room the minotaur had run into and run back out the same door the minotaur initially forced open.  The minotaur has its arms crossed in an “X” over its chest and is carrying something out/away— only I don’t know what.  Once again, I don’t get up from the sofa and neither does the dog.

So, the three cats from Mad About You arrive; laughing, talking and I’m like, “Hey, I need to talk to ya ‘cause something weird and disturbing just took place,” yet, I don’t feel disturbed.  Paul and “Ira” are jabbering amongst themselves, completely ignoring me as they walk around the set for a new episode that looks like it came straight out of Cinderella— pink, fairy castles, and whatnot.

Helen Hunt is walking down the hall away from where I am and I follow her, hoping to catch up to her.  She doesn’t stop and I give up, turn around and start to head back to the alcove and sofa and there she is in front of me, though she should actually be behind me.  I’m like, huh?  She gives me a hug and says, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to ignore you.  You said something was bothering you and I’m here to listen.”  It was a big, long hug and it was obvious that she cared about me.

I ask her, “What can I get you to drink?”

“An Anniversary,” she replies.

“Oh no, you’re not going to make me pull out the book are you?” I ask, having no idea what the hell goes into an Anniversary.

“…with a strawberry,” she adds.

“I can’t believe you’re going to make me go all the way down to xxx’s (don’t remember the name of the place) at this time of night.”

She laughs and says, “Yeah, you’re right, forget the strawberry.”

The scene shifts and I am walking alone through what looks like the prep area of a restaurant and there are ants (small, indoor type) all over the floors; and to my right, on a rolling, multi-tiered, storage rack are flats and flats of strawberries (I think, not 100% sure).  I am mildly annoyed by the ants.

I walk out the kitchen area onto a set for some top model-type show.  There doesn’t seem to be any indication that I’m out of place here.

The judges are sitting around their table and I join them.  To my left is the head female judge and she’s shaking her head.  I start laughing.  Prior, there had been some question on a scoring procedure— “They gave the points to both of them (the models) didn’t they?”  I ask.

“Yes,” says the head judge, shaking her head.  (NOTE- the whole thing was that they (the judges) were now at an impasse and did not know how to honestly pick a winner from the two remaining model contestants.  It felt like I had warned them of this earlier and they hadn’t listened and here they were.  I thought it was funny as hell.)

I get up and walk onto another set, for some kind of UFC-type fighting show.  There is a round podium/stage in the center on which two men are standing and along both walls are individual pods in which solo fighters are standing (kinda like the “Sleestaks” in Land of the Lost).

A pair of smaller and faster guys, up towards the front, are being announced as the current leaders.  I like them better than some of the other teams.  Also announced as out in front of the pack is a team made up of Mark P. and another guy (Chris S. I think).  I am glad that they are doing well.

I am fixing to leave and am kneeling down, putting some unknown gear in my LBTC (more product placement) backpack and some of the fighters walk by and make fun of my gut as they leave.  I try to give some sort of reply, witty, but don’t remember what I said.

Woke up from this one a little before 08-ish.  At first glance, I wanted to say that the important part of this dream ended after the scene with Helen Hunt and that the last scene(s) were just extra and meaningless.  However, after writing all this down, I’m starting to rethink that.

It may gave been evening when this dream started and was definitely night by the time it wrapped up.  Evening is the time between day (consciousness/wakefulness/knowing) and night (sleep/unconscious/unknown).  Again, there is a sofa central to what is going on.

I didn’t give the sofa much thought in the first dream other than how people were arranged on it/them; the fact that it occurs in two dreams now seems significant.  My best bet is that is (more than anything else) where Gwen surprised the living hell out of me for our first kiss.  We also, on several occasions, spend a good deal of time on it talking, or at least trying to.  It would therefore make sense that in dreams about, or pertaining to, Gwen that a sofa would figure prominently.

I’m sitting lengthwise on this sofa, reading a book.  It’s also worth noting that in the first dream, the unknown girl sat down on my sofa and started reading a book.  I don’t know what book I’m reading; though, given recent thoughts, old journals spring to mind as a possibility.  In this case, reading likely means a pursuit of wisdom/intelligence, learning.

I am reading in an alcove—similar to a hole, as if trapped; yet, two of the three enclosed sides are glass windows…possibly indicating some transparency or even sanctuary rather than the gloom, desperation of a hole/pit.

I hear some scratching/scrabbling coming from where the door is, to my rear.  I turn to look and can half make out the silhouette of this large beast-type shape; yet, am not alarmed and don’t give it a second thought, going back to reading my book.  (After Gwen got back from Germany, it sounded “funny” to me and I wondered if she went to see someone, but dismissed it as “defeatist” thinking).

It’s interesting to note that in the first dream, the girl effortlessly, almost magically, transitioned the barriers to my apartment and was seen approaching from the right and front.  In this case, the beast at the door is having some very real problems transitioning the barriers/boundaries and is seen approaching from the rear (ambush/sneaky?) and right—I don’t see it coming because I don’t expect it or understand it and so ignore it.  Again, by not realizing I was in a hole/alcove and only being able to see some, but not all, of what was going on, I did not, could not realize that there might be some cause for alarm.

I never watched Mad About You till I lived at Watson’s, where the character played by Helen Hunt, Jamie, became a surrogate symbol for Gwen for me since there were many similarities between the two—possibly imagined.  This was during a time when I didn’t have access to the one, but did, an hour a day, to the other.  So, the set represents grounds emotionally charged for me with/for/by Gwen and my feelings for her.

The door bursts open, forced, and this minotaur charges in; only it looks like a really bad costume: plastic, unreal, almost comical.  Nobody, and I mean, nobody, would ever confuse this thing with a real minotaur.  The minotaur runs by me in the alcove and this dog I didn’t even know was there barks menacingly at it; and I yell out, like a bark, trying to sound tough/frightening.  The minotaur then makes a right, runs a short distance down the hall, and runs into a dark room (through a door) on the left.  I am surprised that this just happened, even though I more or less could have surmised it minutes earlier.

The minotaur…minotaurs live in labyrinths, for starters—confusion and danger—they are creatures that share (bridge) aspects of human and animal.  I don’t have this dream figured out all the way to the end yet so I’m not exactly sure here what the minotaur is or stands for.  In any case, unlike the girl in the first dream, the minotaur has to physically force its way though my barriers.  This represents a certain amount, or at least the implication, of violence and criminality.  Further, rather than walking, it is running.

The dog—where’d he come from?  I didn’t even know he was there, lying on the floor at my head, not my feet, where dogs are usually pictured.  It barks menacingly in my defense, but only a couple of times and then is never seen or heard from again.  I think the pup represents some unconscious guardian mode.  I am not in mortal danger so it does not behave more aggressively, and then disappears back to where it hangs out.

After the minotaur runs into the room, I go back to my reading, which I now think is a cross between new learning and my normal routine/life.  Again, by going back to reading in spite of these “odd” events, I think just reinforces the theme of not understanding what is going on, not being able to see/perceive the “big picture”.  At the same time, I think it also represents trying to go back to a normal routine/get on with my life.  The events are so outrageous and the understanding is so incomplete that outward action would only lead to disaster; but focusing internally, on oneself, allows the storm to be weathered in the best manner possible until a time when things are understood well enough that action will have positive results.

So then, after some time, the minotaur exits the unknown room it previously entered and runs out the same door it initially entered through.  A second creature possibly follows it, but I can’t remember for sure.  In any case, the minotaur is stealing something, carrying it in its arms, which are crossed like an “X”.  Neither the dog nor I respond and the minotaur disappears into the night.

If the minotaur’s “dramatic” entrance represents my first inklings that things are not what I thought they were, its departure (and theft) likely signify the theft of any opportunity of things working out between Gwen and myself.  The fact that, once again, I didn’t realize what was happening, plus the shape of the minotaur’s crossed arms—an X: stop, do not enter, etc.  I have no clue on the second creature.  The minotaur runs, not walks, out, as it did in; and like the girl in the first dream, never utters or makes a sound—other than busting in the door.

After a while, three of the main characters from Mad About You (Jamie, Paul, Ira) arrive—through the door the minotaur exited—from dinner of something, talking to each other and walking past the alcove I am in.

Again, Mad About You was a substitute for me back in ’98-9 because Helen Hunt’s character, Jamie (rhythms with Gwen), reminded me in some ways of Gwen.  Paul Reiser’s character, Paul, was her husband; so, I figure that Helen Hunt represents Gwen, Paul could be Ivan—her former husband (and friend of mine).

I call out to them in general, but Helen Hunt in particular, saying, “Hey, I need to talk to ya ‘cause something weird just took place that I don’t understand.”  Everyone ignores me.  Paul and Ira walk onto/into a production set for some future episode which is done up like some hokey Cinderella with fairy-princess pink castles and whatnot.  Helen Hunt continues walking down the hall and past the door the minotaur ran in.  I, for the first time, get off the sofa and walk out of the alcove after Helen Hunt, who is not stopping or turning around.

At this point, I think I can actually put a date on this little scene—08MAY06.  I get off the sofa, my state of mind since Gwen kissed me on one in San Diego; walk out of the alcove, ignorance and misunderstanding, after having called out to Helen, Gwen, that things aren’t right and we need to talk.  The moment represents the growing realization, not of what the situation is (because I still don’t see/realize it) but what it is not—not what I thought.  Helen Hunt continuing to walk away is Gwen going, “I don’t know what else to say…,” and then hanging up after I said goodnight.  I have not heard from her since.

To this point, I think the two dreams have been a narrative—the first as everything leading up, roughly, to DEC05 when I first called Gwen, and the second dream, to this point, representing DEC05 to 08MAY06.  In mythic/symbolic terms, it has retold my side of the story, uncannily.  Based on that, I think the next scene is projected into the future (near?); either as where the story being played out in “real life” or is going to progress to.

With Helen Hunt continuing down the hall away from me, I feel a little lost.  It’s obvious she’s not going to stop for me and/or didn’t hear me.  So I pause, then turn around and start walking back the way I came, back towards the alcove, “my life”.   And suddenly, “magically”, Helen is standing between the alcove and where I am walking—which doesn’t make any sense at all; I just watched her continuing to walk off and even if she turned around, should be behind me. 

Much as the girl in the first dream mysteriously transited my boundaries to wind up in front of me, Helen Hunt has managed to do so as well.  And now she is standing between me and my old life/ignorance/misunderstanding—the hole of the alcove.  I’m like, huh?  How the hell did this happen?  You should be walking away.  And Helen says, “You said something was bothering you; I didn’t mean to ignore you and am here to listen.”  She gives me a huge hug and it’s obvious, not that she is necessarily in love with me, but that she cares deeply for me. 

Anyway, I ask Helen, “What can I get you to drink?

She pauses for a moment, thinking, and then replies, “An anniversary…”

“No,” I say, “you’re not going to make me pull out the (bartending) book (to see how to make one of these things) are you?”

 “…with a strawberry,” she adds.

I continue to groan, “Arggghh.  You’re not going to make me go all the way down to ??? (forgot the name of the store) at this time of night just for strawberries are you?”

We’re both laughing at this point and she adds, “Yeah, you’re right; forget about the strawberries.”  It is worth noting that the girl in the first dream never said a word, communicated entirely with facial expressions.  In addition, Helen, initially, didn’t speak to me either.

This is an odd exchange, and off the top of my head, I don’t know what to make of it.  Asking her what I can get her to drink is not out of the ordinary, as it would happen almost as a matter of habit in real life.  However, it just occurs to me that I equated drinking in the first dream with living, a lust (need) for life.  In that context, asking Helen now, what she wants to drink (for life?) may not seem so strange in light of her answer.

I have never heard of a drink called an “Anniversary”, hence my reply, which brings up the image of another book, one on how to make drinks.  So, for her “living” (drink), she wants me to make her an anniversary?  Here are a couple of approaching, if dubious, anniversaries:
08JUN- last time we spoke, 1 month
            10JUN- 6 months since the day I first called her
            13JUN- 2 months since I flew out to see her

However, my reply would seem to indicate that I do not know how to make this “Anniversary”—possibly because I haven’t remembered something, or because she wants to make one now or in the future.  Going on with that, she adds that she wants it with a strawberry.  I really have no idea what is symbolized by a strawberry.  However, it does strike me as the most “erotic” fruit.  When Helen Hunt said it, I didn’t see a whole strawberry in a glass; I saw a strawberry slice, in what looked like a champagne glass actually.  A little research with Google comes of with the following:  Wedding Anniversary, Anniversary Punch, Strawberry Champagne.  And here’s what is said about strawberries in dreams:

“To see or eat strawberries in your dream signify your sensual desires and temptations.  Strawberries are often associated with feminine qualities and female sexuality.  Alternatively, to see strawberries in your dream indicate that your ideas and goals will soon be realized.”[2]

Well, take it as you wish ‘cause I don’t know.  However, interestingly enough, the first night I was in San Diego, Gwen invited me to sleep in her bed but said, “I’m not going to sleep with you.”  Fair enough.  The next night she says, out of the blue, “It’s going to be weird…,”

“What’s that,” I asked?

“Sleeping together.”

That’s a bit of a turn around.  I told her that I didn’t sleep on first dates or early in relationships anymore as it was a fine way to fuck things up—not in those words though (the perpetual nice guy).  She left it at that.  I don’t know what she was thinking in light of how crazy things were; wonder now if sleeping with her might have been a good idea.

So, I ‘m not sure how to take the strawberry thing.  Is it a replaying of what happened, a warning to hold off should we meet again, a descriptor of the new relationship as platonic rather than romantic?  I don’t know because that is the end of the scene and the interaction with Helen Hunt.

The scene shifts and I am in the food prep area/ kitchen of a restaurant; no one else is there.  Small ants are all over the floor.  The kitchen doesn’t strike me as “dirty” per se, but old and a little dilapidated.  To my right is a rolling storage rack that possibly (not sure) contains flats of strawberries on large cookie sheets.  I am mildly annoyed at the ants.

Kitchens are places where things are made, created, baked, where the product is greater than the sum of the parts.  No one is cooking in this one though.  There are ants all over the floor—coincidentally, recently have had a problem with micro-ants in my kitchen—this could just be a one-for-one.  However, it was ants that helped Psyche complete one of the tasks assigned to her by Venus.  In any case, now I possibly have flats and flats of strawberries stacked up, to my right no less, in a rolling, silver, storage rack.  Once again, I am at a loss here.

Quite honestly, after the conversation with Helen Hunt, the rest of the dream makes no sense to me at all in relation to the first 2/3’s of the dream.  There is an interesting contrast between the first room with models and the send room with male fighters—all on a TV show—but to contemplate it leaves me clueless.  I have an inclination to just quit here.  But I know that if any understanding is going to come it will come through writing.  So, I will finish up with this tomorrow.

An empty kitchen—nothing cooking, that I can see.  Possibly an analogy for the current state of Gwen’s and my—I hate to call it a relationship—situation…nothing happening.

However, there are little ants all over the place—the kitchen is notdirty—which, if we go on the Psyche-Cupid-Venus story, are slowly and, bit by bit, working towards an end.  In fact, the ants are the only ones doing anything, which mainly appears to be “ant-type” stuff.  I am annoyed because, given their small stature and relative slowness, I am unable to see what they are doing/working towards, only that they (the process) is a nuisance.  That, coupled with the rack of lots of strawberries to my right—romance/dreams and goals realized—would seem to indicate unseen progress.

That’s what I’m going with; and in that context, it fits with the rest of the preceding dream.  Of course, you could say that I have come up with a convenient interpretation that fits the outcome that I want/am looking for.  And who knows, that may ultimately be the case; but in the meantime, it “feels” right.

So, I walk out of the kitchen, to my right-ish, and onto the set of some model competition TV show where they, the judges, are trying to decide who is the winner between two models—I saw them but don’t recall who they were.  I sit down at the judges table and the lead judge, a female—seem to recall long, straight, dark hair—is at the head of the table (position of authority) to my immediate left.

There has been an unforeseen problem/glitch with the scoring and the head judge is incredibly frustrated.  A winner can’t be chosen as predicted/hoped based upon the rules and given criteria.  I’m laughing, having foreseen this problem, and ask the judge, “You had to give them equal points didn’t you?”  She replies in the affirmative, frustrated.  I get up from the table, still laughing, and move on.

This part of the dream doesn’t seem to fit directly with the first half.  The kitchen scene I am willing to take as completely separate from everything else, though in line with the earlier themes, like an aside to the camera or a secret shared between some, but not all, of the cast and viewer.  The last two scenes though seem to have nothing to do with the former.

It’s also interesting that, although I don’t know how or why, I can, and do, move about both sets effortlessly; that although I don’t know what my reason or job is there I am accepted on the sets as belonging there, or at least not being out of place. 

Even though the table is set up for multiple judges there is only one (who looks nothing like Gwen—long black hair vs. short blond…the whole opposite thing??) who is sitting at the head of the table—seat of authority—by herself.  I sit down with her, to her immediate right.  Again, I just walk in.  I don’t know by what “right” I am allowed to be here, but it is completely natural and unquestioned.

The process by which a choice was to be made between these two models has collapsed—monkey-wrench in the gears—due to some oversight or unforeseen possibility, with the end result being that both have to be awarded the same points and there is no clear cut winner, much to the dismay of the judge.  I have actually understood how big the problem is because the feeling is that it is potentially show ruining…that kind of weight/gravity.  I am laughing, couldn’t be more amused by things, particularly the judge’s dilemma.

I walk onto the next set, a UFC-style “fighting (reality) show.  All the fighters and teams are there and the rankings/standings are being announced.  I like the team that is announced in the current lead—they’re not giant meatheads but smaller and faster.  Also mentioned, near the top, is a team consisting of Mark P. and another guy, possibly Chris S.  I am happy for them.  They finish filming and people start filing out.  I am kneeling down, putting some stuff in my backpack, and some of the guys make fun of my gut, which isn’t bad, but isn’t “ripped” either.  I say something sharp back but don’t remember what.

If I was at a loss for the previous scene, I am really at a loss on this one.  It is interesting:  two shows, two sets; one with models, all women and no males, and the other with all male fighters.  Many of the guys on the show think they “are” someone.  Yet, I could care less because, due to my position, I am bigger than the show, above it.  They are involved in only one show, I in many.  It actually feels like my feelings towards most contractors.  However, I am at a loss to say how this fits in with anything else in the dream; will see if I can come up with something else tomorrow.

Dream# 3— Eat More Catfish
Gwen has given/sent me a small video clip (mpeg or something) and I play it on my computer.

There is a huge ballpark-type monitor and it is playing one of those clips to get the crowd riled up.  The music sounds exactly like the beginning of Corn’s Camel Song and there is this big cat head made up of the black board with the yellow lights and after a couple of seconds of the music the cat opens its mouth and gives a mighty roar.  Then it says, “Take a bite (of??) catfish.”  For some reason, I think there was a woman’s face on the monitor when the eat catfish message was yelled by the whole stadium.  I don’t think it looked like Gwen but the message was definitely from her to me.

This little dream strikes me because of its nature as a direct message.  Although I’d like to think that Gwen was able to communicate to me like Gillian Baskin and Thomas Orley, I have to work on the more likely assumption that this was a message from myself to myself.

“Take a bite (of) catfish.”  A clear enough message…what??!!

This from a card Gwen sent me years ago with Mr. Baar:

Swimming I the renewing waters of life, fish symbolize joy of refreshed body and spirit.  They also represent harmony—symbol for recovery.”

Fish also represent wisdom, knowledge; they swim in the sea of the collective and individual unconscious. 
Catfish?  Taken separately: cat-fish…cats like to eat fish, are primarily seen as feminine, solitary, aloof, hunters, and so on.  Catfish are not exactly “trophy” fish, which, in keeping with the common “law of opposites” in dreams and mythology makes it an ideal fish.  Catfish are bottom dwellers/feeders; they live in the deepest, darkest places, down in the muck where all the detritus and discarded things collect, which is what they eat.  Therefore, it might be plausible to suggest that a catfish would contain the secret that I have been looking for; or maybe a different one that I didn’t even know I needed.

At the same time, “…take a bite…,” of what?  Life?  Renewal?  Take a risk, be bold?  And as I write, I wonder if it is an invitation/directive to call Gwen  That seems a bit of a stretch and I still have no idea what I would say to her—the ball is out of my court and there is nothing I can do.

To eat is simple enough: to imbibe, to partake in, to assimilate, make a part of you.  But then I have to ask, where is this catfish?  How do I find it?  Eat it?  Off the top of my head, I don’t know.

So, the question that I asked that the first two dreams were in response to was, “What is my Grail?”  Or, maybe more accurately, what is it that I am s’posed to learn, to find, etc.?

After the initial revelations on the flight from Denver I thought that, in the hero-myth cycle, I was at the point of “return” and that a portion of that was in being “recognized” by Gwen.  However, as the lessons have kept on coming, it makes more sense to see myself at the point of “receiving/gaining the reward/tests/boon/sacred marriage”; all of which is prior to the “return”.  I was confused because, although there was the mind-blowing realization on the flight to Denver, there was never an “aha” moment that I could directly equate to something I did, remembered, realized, or whatever—there just didn’t seem to be “anything” there.

By way of comparison, Parzival did not set out to find the Gral, at least initially, it was thrust upon him unwittingly and it wasn’t until he had failed that he became aware of it.  Then, and only then, did he begin his quest to get a second chance to right his error.  In the same manner, the news that he had finally succeeded in his quest comes equally as a surprise and is not tied, directly, to any one action taken—only that he had gone on the quest in the first place, refused to give up, suffered, and persevered.

In much the same way, I never set out on this quest until I felt the lack, the loss, driving back to Western from O’Hare.  More importantly though, the realization on the Denver flight also came as a complete surprise and was not directly related to any one action or anything on my part—only that I’d gone, suffered, and persevered, it would seem.

What has thrown me off is that all these years, I have been looking for a memory, a buried/repressed/suppressed memory that pointed to, was proof of, some traumatic incident as a kid.  I was never looking for myself, if you will.  I arrived at the result I was looking for—kind’ve—but not how I though it would be or take place.  And the reason that I have been concerned that I understand all this correctly is because if I am where I think I am, the hero-myth cycle isn’t yet complete and there is still ground to be covered.  Also, more importantly, I have to know as best I can how Gwen fits in, what role she is playing, so that I don’t mess that up through (gross) misunderstanding, at least not too much more misunderstanding.  I’m not sure if Gwen represents the object of the quest itself, is merely a helper, the divine princess/marriage, or what.

As I have been writing, am left with the impression that I have been both Parzival and Anfortas: both the wounded keeper of the Gral and the one searching for it; that somehow, through the process of the journey and all the places it has taken me, I have come, or begun, to heal myself.

Going back and rereading my old journals from ’98-9.  I am amazed at the parallels with now; how many things I said/felt back then, forgot, and have said/felt again now.  I am amazed at how much she impacted my life—nothing short of earth shattering.

And I miss her so much.  I do every day, in a thousand small ways, but today the lack, the distance is large and unavoidable and I want so badly to be by her side, to hear her voice—no one gets drunk and laughs at my Carmex anymore.

Read three journals from 4/18/97 to 5/22/99 the last three days.  Impressions, off the top of my head (still too much to jump into):
            -The unbelievable impact Gwen has had on my life
            -The incredible parallels between then and now, in regards to Gwen and me
-The number of things that I said back then and then forgot I’d said—seem to be saying them again
-How I couldn’t get out of my head and see her side of things; where it had to of been at least as hard, if not harder, for her
            -How fucking much I hurt then, and not just because of the situation with her
            -How brave I was
            -How much she really tried
-That my respect for her (and myself) has grown—I was trying to do the right thing, I just didn’t know what it was
-I feel my love for her changing, deepening…don’t know why

It is deepening, which I don’t understand because, in many ways, at least to me, she is still a recalcitrant, hesitant mystery; and yet it deepens—feels more earthy, roots growing into the deep, dark, soil…it will survive the storm.  And that deepening, it somehow frees me in the process to range further, to go, because I know I’ll be able to come back.  I am beyond the small naggings and petty fears that so plagued me then and have been an annoyance now—feels like the “sacred marriage” has taken place, or that looking back has somehow freed me now or made me realize that I am worthy and so can accept her and the wisdom that comes with it.

I don’t know, but quietly, somehow, I feel her soul closer and deeper and more intimately than I ever have before…holding me, surrounding me.  Don’t ask me to explain, I can’t.

It’s funny how much you forget, the unquestioned, partially remembered, half-truths that slowly become gospel over time.  I have often thought that I tried to use Gwen as a lifejacket back then.  And although there may be some truth to that the fact is, she was the first person that I truly wanted to know me, to understand me—all of me, the good with the bad; and I didn’t know how to do that.  The quote below from Real Boys perfectly explains how I felt and the trouble I had trying to talk to her, to figure out what to say and how to say it in an appropriate manner:

“When boys reconnect with girls, old fears and unhealed wounds are awakened.  Afraid to express their pent-up yearnings, they fear they will get washed away in a flood of neediness.”

I come to life around Gwen.  She brings me awake, resonates somehow, like two parts of something that are s’posed to be together.  I was asleep before that day in KW.  Afterwards, I was painfully awake and wanted to “confess my soul” to her, if you will.  It had never been important before, with any woman; but with Gwen, I had to tell her, show her, it was imperative, that she know/see me…and that had never happened before.  It scared the hell out of me.  I didn’t know how to say it, to do it, any of it; and something that was already difficult was compounded by my feelings for her and my fear of fucking it all up—not to mention that she was married.  I was terrified that I would hurt her; probably more terrified that I would find a way to say what I wanted and that she would be revolted, or laugh, or whatever.  A journal entry dated 24JUN99 is the perfect example:

“The quote below, from Men and the Water of Life, also, very succinctly, sums up what I was trying to get at:           
“The importance of being genuinely seen and heard can’t be overestimated.  One of the ways a soul grows is by being seen and recognized.  If a man has never been recognized at the soul level, he won’t know who he is in times of crisis and he will feel inauthentic more often than not.  If a man has never been heard, he’ll have great difficulty listening to others.”

Unsent Note to Gwen:
My god, the stories—
There were/are so many things that I wanted to tell you, explain to you, share.  The million ways you touched me, more than anyone ever has; the ways that I wanted to be there for you; the ways I fought and struggled, and died a little to be close to where I thought you were at; how much I respect you for your strength and compassion; that I was sorry I couldn’t say/see more; that I put you in the position I did; that I miss you, am incomplete without you; did I say miss you?  But all that, you are gone, aren’t you?  And so, all of that will go in a box somewhere, never to be said, to grow rusty in some long-forgotten place where until someone else comes along and makes me forget about you.

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