I've told some of you about my recurring dreams of the Elysian Fields. (That was the name I came up for it, after I thought I knew what I was looking at.)
Don asked me to write about it, and I may be ready. Let me try to give you a sense of what I remember from my dreams. Then I'll take a stab at an interpretation.
I realized after three or four times that I was dealing with a recurring dream, by certain similarities, for instance:
These are high places, physically speaking. Hilltops. Or in Cleveland's case, in 1985, a sky-high cable-car barn. They are very exclusive places. Not that they are fancy, anything but. But they are rich in something else, a camaraderie, an identity that can only be felt, not described. Here is the home of masters, adepts, and all who realize how interconnected we are here on earth and in fact, how much we are one.
Ha ha, no wonder it is deserted. OK, back to seriousness:
The road to it is a path, twisting upward, always arduous, steep and unmarked, petering out until I think I have lost it, until I burst into the sunlight and am there. But once I find the path, I know where I'm going and where I want to be. It is there.
"There" hasn't always looked the same. A hilltop hobbitville one time; another time, a rolling rural expanse, with a white barn, that could have been lifted from my own Ohio. With the exception of my dream of the EF in Cleveland, there have been no people in them (but me, the disembodied dreamer).
Since I remember my Cleveland dream so well, I'll start with it.
I was in the cable-car barn getting the tour. A royal welcome. Was I a visiting dignitary, or did I work there? Somehow, it was home, not new to me, and the others moving quietly and competently about me, were collegial and I remember thinking, Wow. Let me just pinch myself, I must be dreaming this. It is too great, too awesome. Mover and shakersville at least. Without pressure.
In life, after trying to start my graphic design business up for just long enough to get my brochure made (almost a year) and trying to spiff up the rental in West Oakland to be appropriate for a studio/office, the summer of '85 came along and I got caught up in the anti-apartheid protests that were being held in response to yet another wave of brutal repression in South Africa. I did a flyer for a rally the day of the Labor Day parade that is still one of the best pieces in my portfolio; I wrote the copy, and got it printed at the worker-owned print shop, Orange Blossom Press, and walked alongside the parade, handing it out to attendees on Labor Day. Orange Blossom Press offered me a job in the bindery, I jettisoned my plans to be self-employed, and took it. Only when I saw the choo-choo train logo on the front of the shop, did I get an inkling of what the cable-car barn dream was all about.
My job at Orange Blossom was a second home, and kept my in Cleveland for the next three years. I came during one presidential election campaign, I returned to SF during the next one.
- to be continued -