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Monday, January 18, 1999
By Paul Ford
Dreams and what dreams are and aren't and oh God, I'm so deep, I'm the deepest man you'll ever meet, won't you please get in touch and tell me how deep I am. God help my poor readers.
"To see a weasel bent on a marauding expedition in your dreams, warns you to beware of the friendships of former enemies, as they will devour you at an unseemly time."
You need to give me some time to work this kind of entry out of my system before I can begin to write well again.
I had a dream that my ex-girlfriend was getting married and that she came to me fearful of her new life. We kissed. In the past I would have considered this dream some kind of omen, and wondered--without taking action--if I should track her down, try to start a conversation, build a vault over time, turn my dream into words and examine it further.
"To dream of women foreshadows intrigue."
All it means is that I cannot make peace, that old jealousies and fears emerge out of my ticking nerves, brought to the surface by whatever my brain has set on spin cycle. I wish I could explain to her that I fucked up, that the things I wrote and said after it ended were cold and now I understand they must have hurt. I would say, so poetically, "I was too savage to feel sympathy, too stupid...."
I don't know where she is, in any case.
"To dream that you are abandoned, denotes that you will have difficulty in framing your plans for future success."
All this is framing something else: my post-college era as a happy, capitalist fool feels like it is slowly coming to an end, dissolving in a pool of moderate remorse and immature apathy. Unfulfilled desires are filling my veins, mostly desires to magically wake up and find my entire brain replaced with one that works, a psyche more in sync with the big world.
This is not depression. It's getting a flake older, and losing good friends to my own neurosis, or to theirs. It's also (and here I can do nothing but whine) getting what I want, and the ensuant desire for something else more vibrant still, something simple, and moral, and legible. I wait for the bright future promised me, the one with aluminum helicopter cars and barkeep robots, the future with Jesus returned to judge the quick and the dead. My childhood: armageddon and backpack rockets, right around the corner.
"To dream that you are writing foretells that you will make a mistake which will almost prove your undoing."
A friend emailed me tonight; she has started to find tiny hairs on her face, and I could feel a shadow in this confession, a fear for the future of her body compounded onto a pre-existing strong distrust of it. You can say, "but you look wonderful!" as often as you want, but it's not really about looking wonderful, it's about wanting, about rising to the world's standard, being accepted at some upper level so that one might finally, for a moment, in turn accept the world, leaving behind the endless quest for improvement, the implacable comparison to films and magazine photos, skipping fear and passion to make room in your stomach for success, and living a life of panglossian cheer.
The standard advice is that you'll be accepted if you choose to be yourself. If you choose to be yourself, you will find relentless misery as you expose your own weakness and failings into the light. Nothing will be comfortable. Read the first half of Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage for an example. And yes, you will find a kind of peace, but to know yourself doesn't mean that other people will care for you as much as if you were handsome or pretty, or rich. Looks matter. Hairs must be plucked, weight must be lost and stay unfound, barbers and hosiers and piercers and nail painters must be employed, unless the fundamentals of the world change. Yes, there must be a better way, or at least an easier one, but who knows it unless they are very wise? And then why would they be reading this?