Sometimes a dream stays with you…
It’s likely many of us have versions of dreams like this, and that’s how this one started out - I left my purse, the one with the ID, phones, money, etc. - on a bus. But that’s about where it diverges from the usual, where I find it immediately or wake up to make sure I have the “real’ one.
This time, it was not the regular pocketbook or tote, it looked more like a large cylindrical pencil-case, aqua blue with embroidered scenes scattered, and a short looped strap. And although I went about my business on some kind of creative project pretending nothing was wrong, I kept seeing it hanging off the armrest in my mind and feeling, rather than panic, a deep sense of grief. Mainly, I kept telling myself all my efforts would be for naught because “I don’t have my ID any more.”
Stop shouting at the screen, I hear you. Yesterday was a day of receiving spiritual and practical guidance and I was left with the realization that, for large chunks of my life, I abandoned my true self as the only way I saw available to stay connected with others. And also of how magical it was to meet Mark and have that kind of spiritual and creative growth in the context of a relationship. And that, regardless of the past and present circumstances and challenges, I am ever so happy to be alive.
Waking to a half-dream state as light filtered in, I realized I had the bag in my hands, maybe the whole time, and my heart was filled with love, awe, and gratitude. So I got up and started writing (well, after starting to make coffee then dashing to the store with the coat over my pj’s because I was out of cream for my coffee and then making the coffee) and here we are… and my dream was about writing!
The Oxford English Dictionary defines certain usage of the word “bag” as follows:
“A preoccupation, mode of behaviour or experience; a distinctive style or category…”
In my late teens writing, along with reading and discussing books, was definitely “my bag.” The typewriter was always at the ready, the journal followed me everywhere, and I scrawled and tapped much as we consume electronic media today - wherever, whenever, whatever struck my mind…most of it ended up making no sense the next week, but it was great exercise as well and a constant reminder of my creativity and connection with “something more.” It is no coincidence that this was the time I also began to read Tarot cards.
Sadly life became more “involved” for me, socializing became about relationships “going somewhere,” money and jobs became more of a thing and less of an adventure, parents said, “Very nice, now go to law school or you are nobody.” Fiction and poetry took a back seat to the business of living, and it felt permanent. I wrote my papers, my correspondence, maybe one poem per year. I did manage to graduate with an Arts Major, but a huge chunk of me was still buying into the successful business career and power marriage ego trip, and by the time I was 30 I still called myself an artist but was ready to call myself anything else, and try to prove it, when threatened with the withholding of acceptance.
Thankfully, as they say, rejection is protection, I can’t swallow Kool-Aid so I was a dismal failure at my revisionist goals. Through my thirties I fed myself a rich and steady diet of proto-new-age authors like Barbara DeAngelis, Wayne Dyer, and M. Scott Peck, and psychology via Nancy Friday, Eric Berne, Claude Steiner and more. This was a journey back in, but not via writing. Career again became jobs du jour and a learning experience, I kept active in the arts, and at least I knew something was missing beyond the right guy, salary, title, approval…
A guy was a big part of a major shift for me, so was technology, and they arrived at the same time -- a writer and his computer! My latest job had transformed me from digital virgin to software wizard, he came along with the hardware, the romance, and an active collaboration on professional projects. And while little endured from that platform, memories are golden, I got to practice swimming with the sharks… and I was WRITING!
The next amazing encounter was finding Francis Ford Coppola’s labor of love for writers, Zoetrope Virtual Studio. At the complex social media and online workshopping network for member writers of all forms and levels, I started with screenplays to test what I had been doing. Loving the folks I was meeting, I ventured over to the short fiction/novella side to write stuff someone might actually read and, dare I say it, publish! I learned so much from the other writers there -- it is a gift every day that many of us hang still together on Facebook -- I started to take writing seriously, and also got to host a bunch of these partners in crime on my roof at an in-person get-together, Labor Day Weekend… 2001.
It was because of some serious writing and a little money set aside that I was able to give myself a small gift of time, taking a break from work the latter half of that summer to focus on my writing and learning how to get it out there. After the holiday weekend I felt I was not done, and kept telling myself “a few more days…” even though I felt totally irresponsible doing so, as I rarely blow off deadlines, even my own.
The days and weeks that followed are kind of a blur, not because my memories are not razor sharp, but because I need to defocus most of the time. Much of what I wrote then was non-fiction, reporting what was going on, inside and outside myself, on the Zoetrope site boards. The love and concern and support and plain reading I was given were truly a lifeline at a time I felt half-dead, I hope I was helpful to others as well, it was just pouring out of me.
I literally walked everywhere for months, something about being in a bus or subway terrified me. Luckily I was invited to a holiday party just across the street because I had “helped” the hostess find her kittens (I told her they were somewhere in the apartment, she finally realized they were living under the cabinets). And that was where I first met Mark, after 6 years of living on the same intersection and frequenting the same coffee shops.
Our 10 years together is another story, full of change, growth, and magical synchronicities. In our collaborations and on my own, I never stopped writing.
It’s my bag.
Acknowledgements: Nancy Levin, whose Jump Coaching Call yesterday planted many seeds that sprouted here; Marianne Williamson, whose live “A Course In Miracles” talk on the topic of relationships filled my heart to cracking and my soul with hope; Ron Brawer for the etymological research. Namaste.