Old School Dreams

I typed hundreds of pages that wound up as part of a published book on one of these

I was on the second floor of the school I went to Elementary School at, actually what we called Catholic Grade School. It’s where I went for grades 1 through 8, St. Pius X school. I walked into an empty classroom, where I had some stuff I needed to clear out of there. Just as I was getting ready to go into the classroom, my current boss was down the hall, and knowingly watched me go into the classroom.

On the floor in the room, where there were no desks, were three or four old typewriters, ones I had used at various times in my life, from the old Underwood and Royal manuals, to an IBM Correcting Selectric, and an old HP-150 Computer. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. I knew it was time to do something, though.

When I woke up, I had the sense that this had been a recurring dream, though I’m pretty sure it was the first time I remembered dreaming it. It just had that feeling of déjà vu about it.

It was still early when I woke up — before 3 a.m. — but I knew I was awake, and probably wouldn’t fall back to sleep. I didn’t feel like fighting it, so I got up. I came out to my favorite writing place, an old easy chair I got from Mom, and sat down.

There beside the chair was a printed out copy of the series of stories I wrote several years ago, all 280 pages of it, about my journey to freedom. I wrote that whole series in 40 days, and knew, when I’d finished it, that I had just written my first full-length book.

I’d recently read through all but the last 20 pages or so, so I picked them up, and finished reading it. It was good. It will need some serious editing and rewriting before it is ready for publication, but the whole story is right there, in black and white, and there’s nothing else to write in it.

I’ve had very little motivation to go back and do the editing and rewriting of it. I have continually told myself that I will do that when I retire. Now, I’m not so sure when that will be. I might not be ready to retire for quite awhile — I’m going at least to age 70, but I may go significantly beyond that.

The view outside my office window — pre-dawn

I like to work. I love my job. As long as I can have an impact, and make a difference, and, of course, keep collecting a paycheck for whatever it is I do that they find value in, I see myself working until I can no longer work up the energy to go in there and do my thing. But, I know that energy is a decision, and as long as there is a good reason to do it, I am sure I will keep making that decision to keep working.

So, at some point, I will have to make a decision about the rewriting and editing of my publishable work. Maybe I am in the process of coming to that decision now. After all, there is no time like the present, is there?

The National Arboretum in D.C. — photo taken last month by me, at a fallen fellow colleague’s memorial service held there

I have been losing interest in writing these stories. While I have been fighting it, trying to find a way back into that connection with my muse that has allowed me to write so many, for these past five-plus years — maybe it’s time to re-channel my energies. Maybe it’s time to start sending everything to the editing department, and begin that process with all of my work.

Maybe the closing of Cowbird was really a gift, a way of saying, “Okay, Pete — you wrote your ass off for five years, you said everything you have to say, at this point in your development as a writer. Take a break from the writing. Now, put your editing hat on, and start editing all this material you’ve written. Start putting it together into books, and then start publishing it.”

Another shot from the Arboretum

Could be. I’m open to the concept, anyway. Maybe that’s what that dream was all about. Those old typewriters symbolized all the stuff I’ve written. The old school house symbolized getting back to basics. My boss was there to encourage me to do what I know I need to do. She was, after all, “knowingly” watching me walk into that classroom.

So — what am I waiting for? I think I need a cup of coffee. I’m feeling like I’m getting a sense of direction, here, after months of feeling like I was going around in circles. I think I like it.

Shot taken on a walk about D.C. at lunchtime, one year in June

Oh, I went in to the V.A. yesterday for my followup with Dr. Hoa, taking a look in my ears to see how well the area I had surgery on is holding up. He had to hook up the high-powered sucking machine, and went in there with sharp instruments, and I felt, typically, beat up inside my head when he was through, but he liked what he saw in there.

He said it was healing quite well, and he felt confident that I might even begin to see some improvement in my hearing. After he was done with the machine and the poking, he asked if I was dizzy. “No, that thing just made a lot of noise.” He smiled, knowingly, like he does. No more vertigo!

Ponta Delgado — early morning shot

I asked about going off the medication he’s had me on for the migraines and vertigo. I told him of my concerns with that, having read the article my brother sent to me about the guy who was on medication for the vestibular migraines, who went off it three years later, the migraines returned with a vengeance, and when he went back on the medicine, it no longer worked.

He smiled again, and said, “We’ll take you off slowly. Cut back from 20 mg to 10 mg for the next three months. Then, go to taking it every other day for a month or so. If everything looks fine, then you can stop it altogether.” Sounds good to me, Doc! I am also cleared to start swimming again. Hallelujiah! Just in time for summer! I’m ready.

Dawn on the ocean, between the Azores and England

At work today, I have to clean out my old office. It’s time. Since I was finally made permanent in my current job, three months ago, I hadn’t gone over to clean out my old office, since there was a guy still using it, and I just wasn’t finding the time on Fridays to do that.

Fridays used to be a day in the week when I had time for such things. Anymore, they’ve been getting filled up with meetings and often, wrapping up things from the week. Today, I should have time to finally clean it out. My old colleague, Carl, said something to me about it last Friday, joking around, but I know he wants that office back.

Most of what was in it, I’ll eventually wind up throwing away, but I need to go through it all, and decide what I need to hang onto, and what needs to go into a dumpster. Since I haven’t needed any of it for the past fourteen months, at this point, I would say most of it can go. That’s what I’ll be doing today.

I don’t think I left any old typewriters over there. But, I suspect that’s part of what brought that dream on. I think.