Messages from dreamland

After the puppy’s 5:30 a.m. constitutional, I lay down on the sofa in the basement to catch a little extra sleep before starting the day. While fading to sleep and then dreaming, I remember several thoughts and ideas occurring to me that made me wish I’d brought pen and paper along.

But I was too comfortable. I remember concluding that the ideas likely would bubble up from my consciousness again when they were ready, if I’m just patient enough and keep thinking and writing.

I’ll never know if that’s true, of course, because now I forget what those thoughts and ideas were. My only evidence and reason for optimism is the frequency with which I put down an idea only to discover later that I’d already written that years ago.

From time to time I’ll wake in the night and jot something down, then go back to sleep, only to find in the morning that the note is incomprehensible I didn’t write enough. “The Memphis frog”? Really?

Our subconscious mind is full of messages from dreamland, waiting to be tapped when the time is right.

Ebeneezer Scrooge as role model

As I come within spitting distance of my 70th birthday, now 13 months away, I increasingly am convinced that the ruling class of this world, like all sociopathic criminals, is always looking for ways to decrease the surplus population.

The phrase is from Ebeneezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Representatives of a charity approach Scrooge, saying, “a few of us are endeavoring to buy the poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth” for the holidays. The then-miser asks if the prisons, workhouses and Poor Laws have been shut down.

“I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there,” Scrooge said.

“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Much as our political betters have decided Nineteen Eighty-Four has a happy ending — Winston Smith finally loved Big Brother, after all — I think they also forget that Ebeneezer Scrooge was in need of reform, and in fact becomes a good man in the end. They seem hellbent on decreasing the surplus population as fast as they can.

Weapons of mass destruction, gain-of-function viruses, and sketchy vaccines and magic pills proliferate in the hands of not very subtle bullies who manipulate people into believing the most amazing lies, the biggest lie being that their top priority is protection of the people.

When we left Scrooge, he had become “as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the good old City knew, or any other good old city, town or borough in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them, for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed, and that was quite enough for him.”

We should aim to be more like the reformed Ebeneezer Scrooge, who “lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle ever afterward; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us.”

In seeking more information about what might be described as “the Total Abstinence Principle” in 1843, I mostly found commentators who concluded Dickens was making a pun on Scrooge having “no further intercourse with Spirits” (get it? Spirits? Abstinence?), but I did find one site,, a “bank of knowledge,” that suggested the Total Abstinence Principle might refer to “abstinence from being bitter, mean-spirited, angry, dour, greedy, grasping, self-centered and unforgiving.” 

That’s a Total Abstinence Principle I could get behind.

Permission to repeat myself

 © Anyaberkut |

Writing with a pen in a journal is a different exercise from writing at a keyboard — this almost silent scratching out of words in the old way, as Hawthorne and Emerson must have done, the words forming letter by letter from my hands — but I repeat myself.

Of course, if I write every day, I’m going to repeat myself from time to time over the course of a lifetime or even over the course of a few weeks, months or years exercising this habit. So …

Repeating myself: Refuse to be Afraid. Free yourself. Dream.

When fears claw at your consciousness, rein them in as best you can. Remember that fear is a way to control you, and ask. Who wants to control me, what do they want, and why? It will help to understand and empower you to go your own way.

Free yourself — choose yourself — give yourself permission — because freedom is a certain, unalienable right endowed by the Creator. That is to say, you were born free.

Dream. See the possibilities. “I have a dream,” the speech, resonates because it touches universal desires — to be left alone to pursue peaceful ambitions and make a better world. 

Shame on the saber rattlers

Kamila Valieva © Agenzia LiveMedia |

As athletes from around the world gather to compete in a spirit of peace and cooperation, sabers are rattling in the halls of perceived power. Oh, how weary of this dance we all are.

What a miraculous creation is the human body, which can twist and turn and run and skate with grace and skill and speed. What a despicable creation is the diseased human mind that conjures ways to penetrate and tear and explode the human body.

And for what cause? A patch of territory? A show of strength? A match of pissing? Sometimes I feel the people who built engines of mass destruction are merely itching to pull the trigger to see how well they work.

Or, even more ominous, I wonder if they wish to decrease the surplus population as a favor to those left behind after their havoc is wrought, not remembering that Scrooge was cured of his delusion that human beings may be regarded as “surplus population.”

Why are the vultures of war carrying on while the mission of peace unfolds half a world away? Why do the Powers That Be grow anxious at the sight of strong men and women competing to see who is best at games of skill and strength rather than who is best at killing and maiming?

We have more in common than differences, and that above all frightens the Powers That Be who thrive only when we clash. Shame on the saber rattlers. May they rot in their own mess and leave the rest of us to live together in peace.

The questions of 1,000 dreams

It’s all waiting for you, all the stuff, all your plans and dreams — there they are, waiting patiently — they don’t mind if you do or if you don’t, they just wait — ready — waiting —

What are you going to do?

Here it is: The first day of the rest of your life — the first steps in a journey of 1,000 miles — the opening round of the fight of your life. 

Are you going to get started? Are you ready? Those are two different questions, you know. If you wait until you’re “ready,” you may never start. If you don’t start, you may never be ready.

Do you want me to shout it? GO! GO! GO!

It is time

My Christmas present. Thanks, Red!

The turning of the year always seems to bring out introspection in people. Wednesday morning, Dec. 29, I found myself going back over some of the same old thoughts and propping myself up with the same old motivations with a, shall we say, a new resolve? RESOLVE, noun, with the same root as “resolution.” Ah yes, the same old same old, but I really mean it this time, Mom! We shall see.

I am, living as I do near the shores of the bay of Green Bay, a Packers fan. As the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLV began, the Green and Gold led 21-17 but the Pittsburgh Steelers were moving upfield toward a potential go-ahead touchdown. In a moment famously captured by a camera person, defensive coach Kevin Greene grabbed hold of talented Clay Matthews, looked him in the eye and said, “It is time. It is TIME. IT IS TIME.”

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Matthews barreled into the ball carrier and knocked the ball loose. The Packers recovered the fumble, scored another touchdown a few plays later, and eventually won the game 31-26.

So: Am I going to react to the motivation like Clay Matthews, get the ball and win the Super Bowl? That sounds much more fun than running out the clock and hoping for the best. What’s it going to be? “Prevent defense” or a go-after-the-ball blitz?

I think I want the ball. I still get a little thrill when I think about sitting down and manipulating words until I have something grand or lovely or exciting or all of the above. 

What’s making me hesitate is all those years of having that feeling and, instead, sputtering and letting it drop and chitty chitty bang bang oh man it stalled out again …

I’m into the fourth quarter and it’s a tie so far, or perhaps a slight lead. I’ve made a touchdown or two, maybe a field goal, but the end is not far away and the W is not quite nailed down.

IT IS TIME. Oh, yeah, I’ve written some books, even sold a few handfuls, I’ve blogged more than 500 straight days, picked up some followers, got a couple dozen email readers whom I rarely regale.

IT IS TIME. What is it I want to say? Entertain – Enlighten – Encourage. Meh. My mission statement/vision consists of three wandering generalities. Let’s be more specific.

I want to encourage people to use their brains and common sense and take initiatives. Encourage people to act with fearless freedom and not let busybodies and bullies run their lives.

I want to enlighten people about what came before – fun but semi-forgotten books and songs and TV and radio, and thoughts like Wallace D. Wattles’ “you are a creator, not a competitor.” 

(“Not a competitor”? So what’s with the football analogy? Well, it’s an analogy not because it’s an exact fit but because the example is similar. We ARE competitors but not against each other. We’re playing a game, fighting to the death against Father Time, and winning is not defined as beating him but by playing the best game we can in the allotted four quarters, however long they last. And what is the best game? “Love the Lord your God and Love Your Neighbor.” And we are all neighbors. Right, Mr. Rogers?)

I want to entertain and give the world adventures, stories that do all of the above and a few thrills and chills and spills — but after every chill a warming, after every spill an ascent.

Those thoughts are a little more focused, and here I sit a half-hour after starting to write, a little hesitant, a little inspired, and not sure what to do next. “Just get started.” Who said that?

It is time.

Study war no more

It’s ironic, in a world of constant war and gleeful hatred wherever we turn, that our most sacred holidays celebrate the birth, death and resurrection of a man whose coming was heralded with angels singing, “Peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

Every so often, and especially around Christmas, we pause and consider the new testament Jesus brought, with God’s law condensed to two commandments: Love the Lord your God, and Love One Another. How’s that working out for us?

One of these days we really are going to lay our burdens down and study war no more.

I see members of the ruling class badmouthing each other and rattling sabers, safe in the knowledge that they’re not the ones who will have to wield the sabers if push comes to shove, and I despair that a day of peace on Earth will ever come.

But then I see strangers smile at each other, I hear children laughing together, and I feel the emotion in a song everyone loves, I see all kinds of people working and playing together, and I remember that we have more in common than we have differences. The political class have to work hard to keep us driven apart.

If we could keep the spirit that pervades this season and make it 24/7/365 … what a world that could be.