Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day #14 — What to do?

Since I took a little detour yesterday (responding to a prompt from Linda Cassidy Lewis), today I am facing two prompts from Lisa Romeo in my inbox. Such a dilemma! At first, I wasn't sure what to do. Should I respond to two prompts in one day to "catch up"? No, that does not follow the rules or intention of this blog. Should I do them in the order received? Should I peek and pick the most fun prompt? Should I just keep one in reserve?

Well, I peeked. Yesterday prompt was "black and white"; so many possibilities! Today's prompt: "Jumped the Shark." I don't even know what that means. Since my goal is to get more creative in my writing, I should probably do the second one, but my logical brain is responding, trying to figure it out, and my creative brain is off cowering in the corner at such a prompt. So:

Prompt: Black and White

My husband swears he dreams in black and white. I don't see how this is even possible. Why would anyone dream in black and white? Why those two colors? If you need contrast, why not blue and orange, which are across the color wheel from one another and therefore complimentary? And why just two colors – why not three — black, white and red, for example.

The answer probably lies in the fact that he was born in 1950 and is among the first generation of children raised with television. Of course, back then, TV was all black and white. Again, I don't really understand the science behind that, but I'm sure there is some logical, or at least technological reason.

But why would the subconscious be limited to black and white if the conscious brain is capability of perceiving the full color spectrum? What does that say about one's subconscious? I'm no shrink, but my guess would be it has more to do with his need for utter control, even in sleep, than the effect that black and white television had on his life. 

I'm not being critical here (OK, maybe a little — but I like control, too) or judgmental (OK, maybe a little because, frankly, I don't really believe him). He actually says that he hardly ever dreams, but that when he does they are always in black and white. Part of me thinks "No, they're not. You dream every night, just like everybody else, you just don't remember them; AND you dream in color every night, just like everybody else, you just don't remember.

But the other part of me, the generous, empathic part, thinks "how sad". What would I do with out my Technicolor dreams — sometimes dozens, even more in a night? It's true that my dreams are often exhausting — frequently involving my inability to get something done, some small task or enormous endeavor accomplished or resolved. But, I've found that as I've gotten older, I am somehow partly conscious of being in a dream state and can alter the course of my dreams. (How's that for being a control freak?) Sometimes, when I get really frustrated, my semi-conscious self will remind my sleeping self that it's just a dream and that I don't have to stick with it. I can move on to the next dream.

Maybe that's a good lesson for me as a writer: if the story in my head — my awake dreaming, if you will — gets too frustrating, maybe I can move on, at least temporarily to the next story, or an older story that needs revision.

And who knows. Maybe my husband is telling the truth. After all, nothing is ever black and white.

Time:  12 minutes

Damn. I ran long again. I really must get a better timer. Or just learn to be less wordy. Still, the control freak in me would feel really uncomfortable if I didn't bring the prompt to some logical stopping point. Of course, this blog is designed to take me out of my comfort zone, so maybe I should get that timer that will signal me to stop and let go at exactly the 10-minute mark. I read that one writer always purposefully stopped for the day right in the middle of some important part of his or her writing. The idea was to give the subconscious something to keep working on while s/he went about the rest of the day and into sleeping/dreaming. It's something to consider.

1 comment:

Lisa Romeo said...

Hello friend! I wondered if anyone on the prompts list might not know the origin of that phrase...

In the 1970s TV series Happy Days, after it had been running for a long time and the actors looked to be 10 years too old for high school, and all the likely story lines had been used up, there is an episode in which Fonzi jumps over a shark. I can't recall whether it was in a dream sequence or what; but ever since then, when a TV series (or anything at all) seems to have lost its way and gone beyond its limits (and is getting really stupid), one says it "jumped the shark."
And now you know.
- Lisa