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Popeye Muscles

Dreamed 1986/7/14 by Chris Wayan

I want to join a caravan of psychodrama actors.

They reject my application, but I won't take no! I bike after them stubbornly. It's hard work to keep them in sight--I quickly tire, breathing that Silicon Valley smog. When the Bay appears, I realize the psychodrama crowd lied to me! They're headed deeper into the San Jose smog, not out! They said they were going north to San Francisco!

I turn away, north, toward the City, on my own.

Passing the old Navy base, Moffett Field, I'm startled to see commercial airline logos. Was I wrong, is this really SF International? If I'm by the airport, I'm miles further north than I thought--nearly to the City!

Then I turn over in bed. I can feel my sleeping body, and faint light under my eyelids; yet even when I move, the dreamscene of me biking on the freeway, remains! But even in lucid dreams, you normally don't feel both bodies at once, or have control of your long muscles--REM normally paralyzes them, or you'd sleepwalk. I shouldn't be able to move like this in bed! Yet the clear, vivid dream, AND my lucidity, AND my ability to feel myself in both places, all persist.

I think "So if it's a dream, those signs are symbolic!" Suddenly the dull smoggy scene is charged with meaning! From the corner of my eye I see a logo for FREEDOM AIRLINES. I turn and stare... and it says FEDERAL now. I glance away--FREEDOM again! A feeling of significance hovers like the smog behind this aggressively mundane bike-ride. But I can't look FREEDOM squarely in the eye. Maddening! Digital sketch of a dream by Wayan: as I change my posture, I manifest huge, uneven, ephemeral Popeye muscles

I bike into a mall, and rest. Sit on a sandbank in their rest area. Notice my thighs have huge knotted Popeye muscles. Wow, I've really been biking! But then I shift position, and the effect changes--now my thighs are sticks and my calves have five big muscles inserted into the knee. Even more Popeyish! But I shift again and yet another pattern appears. Huge ephemeral muscles whenever I tense! Like I'm a host of virtual people...

Curious that I only manifest the ones I need, and only as long as I really need them--in flashes!

Like lucidity, like out-of-body dreams?

Like that sign of freedom.


What if my character isn't really me? Maybe life's whole shape is just an artifact of the way I hold myself at the moment! If I shift my stance or attention, other traits and abilities will suddenly grow. I've always known I was a bit more protean than most people, but maybe the 'real' me is even more of a shapeshifter than I think.

Possibly I have no character at all.

And you know what? I don't think I mind.


I was indeed tangled up with a circle of psychodrama actors (and drama queens) in Silicon Valley, but over the next few years I gradually cut my ties and finally moved to San Francisco. Glad I did, too.

LISTS AND LINKS: lucid dreams - out-of-body work - mystic tales of Popeye - body-image dreams - inheritances - psychodrama - pure digital dream art

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