The Secret Screen
Twin dreamlets 2018/4/19 & a followup dream 2018/5/16, by Wayan
I'm reading The Power Of Different by Gail Saltz. A bit shallow--ignores how us weirdos see things--Saltz is too eager to tell us how to fit into the normal world. Dyslexics master adversity so they're hard persistent workers and can often run their own firms; autistics like me are good at detail work and routine, making great techies and bean-counters. Oh, that's what we're good at? I thought it might be art and science and transforming the world by not having selfish little chimp minds obsessed with cliques and status.
Saltz ignores one kind of different--treats brains as an unmixed good. Really? To me brains look like one more weirdness alienating normal folks. Saltz's model (moderate difference lends perspective; severe difference hurts) seems to apply quite well to brains: nice in moderation, but genius often means cut-off, frustrated, even (in many times and cultures) persecuted. In Galton's 19th-century study of genius (the first), 15% saw prison time. Smart isn't just weird; it's punishable.
The book's best advice? Most successes focus mostly (80%?) on developing your talent, and way less (20%?) on remedial drills to ease disabilities. "Neglecting rare talent to focus on disabilities is both discouraging AND unproductive." Amen!
Saltz says manics can be creative but have trouble evaluating or prioritizing. Do I? Others seem to think I can't tell major versus minor work--though for me, autism explains that without assuming my judgment's poor. I'm just so far from human concerns that of course I can't tell what THEY'd value. Any more than they get me and mine.
And... well... different ages, different priorities. Shakespeare valued sonnets over plays; posterity, the reverse. Newton's alchemy, theology and astrology don't excite us much. Most of my readers like Planetocopia not WDB; fewer yet download my songs. So is the crowd wise, are my dream art, poetry and music worth less? Not to me; nor, I hope, to future times more open to shamanism--not that I blame my age! Religious violence makes moderns skeptical; it's hard even to admit curiosity about the paranormal, let alone explore the spiritual. Anyway... I doubt my own judgment, so I hedge my bets--split my creative time & energy half a dozen ways, stunting each body of work; but who knows which will be valued later? At least I've done some of each: dream-tales, poems, comics, songs, sculptures, paintings, virtual planets, webgalleries...
Still, Saltz's warning makes me ponder priorities. I can't choose between media and topics, but within each, I do know which pieces are major. Thing is, I'm comforted by the flow state from creating lesser work too, so when I'm tired or sick, I dabble. Wastes energy and slows recovery. Better to rest up and tackle major pieces.
ACTION: Quit doing art as mere comfort. Prioritize! Do the work I came to do.
Dream 1: PASSIVELY ABET MURDER
A friend says a woman's spying on him--they're in rival political cabals or cults. Hers is early Christian--really, really early. She once told me Jesus is leading them directly! Maybe she meant it metaphorically--we're in modern times, and my friend claims she's quite vengeful--if Jesus were personally supervising his early flock, you'd expect her to turn the other cheek. Nope.
My friend goes over to her suburban home at dusk to break in and steal some papers. Drags me along, reluctant. I know it's a terrible idea, but I'm weak and don't rebel.
More than reluctance. I can sense a perfect storm of bad luck forming--setting up the worst possible outcome. He'll go in, she'll come home and surprise him, they'll fight, and he'll kill her by accident. I can sense this, watch all the factors lining up wrong, yet I just stand outside, afraid to intervene. Think "I'm abetting a murder!" yet I can't move. Intense guilt. For something I could still prevent--maybe. If they'd believe me.
Half-wake. Shaken. 5AM. Back to sleep at last...
Dream 2: THE SECRET SCREEN
I'm learning a card game on a computer screen--a kind of solitaire. It opens by showing you ten cards. The odds are, most cards will be unplayable, but the law of odds means one or more out of ten will let you begin--and even a single opening usually lets you bring a few of the inactive nine into play.
Most of the time, then, I can win. But about 1% of the time, by chance, all cards are nonstarters; the game's stillborn.
After playing for months, over a thousand games, I finally noticed a microscopic button. It opens a second, hidden screen.
This one has a list of ten words. Bland technical terms from business and psychology. The words are about as playable as the cards; most are nonstarters, but out of ten, a few are likely to be usable. As with the cards, just 1% of the word-arrays are hopeless.
So... when the default cardlist is stillborn, just hit the secret button and switch screens! Only one game in TEN THOUSAND, 1% of 1%, is truly doomed.
STEP THROUGH GLASS AND COBWEBS
I find myself in a dark maze--old storage areas in a big house. L-shaped, long narrow closets. Rough splintery wood. Find a couple of dollar bills on the floor, which I pocket, a rack of fur coats (fake, or so old they're real?) and endless rusty tools. Dusty and allergenic; I'd better get out of here soon. But how? See no exit.
I hear friends' voices round a corner. Do Mike & Nic own it, then? Or are they lost too?
Round the corner, a hint of daylight. Grope down the dark half-finished hall. The light grows to... a narrow glass windoor, 2x5' (60x150 cm), up on a sill a yard or so above a neglected garden. By the spots and spiderwebs seaming the glass, untouched for years.
But then a boy in the garden hops up to the sill and walks in--WITHOUT opening the windoor! Steps through the glass--not even disturbing the cobwebs! He vanishes in the dark.
As I absorb that, a girl comes round the corner out of the dark, steps up to the sill and bounds out into the garden--again, as if glass and webs are illusion.
Yet the air in here is stuffy dry and still; the door seems to block wind and rain like real glass. Is it a property of the glass, or the kids? Is it illusion, or are they? Or... how can they both be real?
I step up to the glass, stoop--it's small for me--close my eyes, and push through. And find myself in fresh herb-scented air. Open eyes. I'm standing on the outer sill. Hop down to the garden, baffled--but out of the dark labyrinth.
Dante would be proud.
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