Terrible Insect Dream

Stories about ‘this dream I had’ are almost universally terrible outside the realm of being casually entertaining with how absurd they are.  That specific sort of real-feeling incoherence dreams have is due to the way your brain works while you sleep.  I could make an analogy using computers or television, but it’s not important.  I had a dream a short time ago.  In this dream I was on the top floor of a hotel and I was in a room I’d checked in to.  I had just dropped my luggage onto the bed when I realized that this was not luggage I owned in real life.  I was then observing that the room had a color scheme that was unfortunate:  a burgundy shag carpet, white walls, and a pale green baseboard separating them.

There was a counter that drew my attention because of its paint job, though not because of the color.  It was a dark bluish-grey with white speckles, of a type that I only know to come from rattle cans, and something I had not specifically seen since I was maybe five years old.  This isn’t an important detail outside of the fact that it shows how deep my dream was pulling memories from at this point.  There was an insect on the counter.   It was flat, dark, and wide, with a segmented body and oily wings.  At that moment, the realization that I was not going to kill it was more sudden than the impulse to do so.  I was just on the vaguest cusp of being lucid that I realized this.  I was going to continue with the dream hotel room without letting even the most intangible hint of violence interrupt me.

Even in my sleep state, with my brain’s rhythms unspooled like a broken cassette tape, this was a decision I made.  If I had woken up then, I might not have remembered that choice.  What ended up happening though, was that as I was going to focus my dream on some other aspect of this terrible hotel room, the insect began to shake.  It was giving birth.  Its cloaca, which had not existed in the dream for me to notice, was opening to reveal a second insect, the exact type and size as the original.  I noted that it should have been laying an egg of some sort, just as I was realizing that soon I would have two of these angry looking bugs in my dream.  It was then that, without thinking at all, even with whatever neurons my broken-down sleepy brain could manage, I began to attack.  The fight or flight aspects of my ancient brain took over, and I was going to crush the insect, while it was giving birth, with a drinking glass I’d found.  It was a counter top, it made sense for there to be a drinking glass to smash an insect with.

I woke up, and felt some small amount of shame.  Not that I had intended to do dream violence to a dream insect, but merely because in some part of my brain, that violent caveman instinct exists, despite how long I’ve starved it.

Excavator and Pan: Two Paths to Literary Gold

An excavator tearing up dirt and rock ton by ton and dumping it into a machine that blasts it with water and shakes it down a sluice box, separating the heavier material across a series of riffles, and the gold flakes eventually being sifted down into a thin layer of synthetic ‘moss’ to be collected later.  A scoop of dirt and rock being carefully panned by hand, swirling the water gently to gradually reveal whatever small bits of precious metal are hidden beneath.  I could have used any number of metaphors to display the disparity between brute forcing one’s way through as much material as possible, or taking time to handle an individual project with a bit more focus- a shotgun blast versus a precision rifle, fast food versus fine dining, a hammer and sickle, whatever.  I’ve been watching Gold Rush: Alaska lately.

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