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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 01:35 pm:   

Quitting smoking really takes the gas pipe. I should know, I've done it enough. This time around, though, there is a small matter of breathing that has to be attended to, so I'm at it again -- my adamantian will against the allure of the coffin nails. One of the problems with quitting smoking is it's really fucking boring. One less addiction to take up your time. So, this time I have a plan. I'm wearing the patch now, for what little good it does me. Even when I wear it I still get the shakes and that withdrawl feeling, but... Anyway, from earlier attempts at trying to quit with the patch, I discovered that if you leave it on at night, you have the wildest fucking dreams -- otherworldly vivid dreams that are easy to remember. So while I'm quitting, I've decided to leave the patch on at night while I sleep and check out the hallucinatory dreams and then write them down. Telling people your dreams is considered pretty boorish, so no need to read this.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 01:46 pm:   

Night The First:

I'm in Italy. How do I know I'm in Italy? I don't know, but people seem to be talking Itlaian and the landscape is kind of rolling hills dotted with groves of olive trees. I'm dressed in a 1930's type get up with a floppy hat and baggy pants, vest and jacket. I'm part of a gang and I have a gun, a silver plated rectangular looking thing. I'm with a bunch of other people and we're on the run from a gang of other people -- they all have guns too. We're getting chased across the hills. We get cornered and a gun battle starts and people are running every where and bullets are flying by, spiraling in their trajectories, and I can see them go as if they are slowed down like in the Matrix. I'm the lousiest shot in Italy. I can't hit anyone, even people running straight at me. Then I do manage to take out one guy. I couldn't miss, I was about three feet away. He goes down and then I get chot in the side. The bullet is topped by my rib cage, half in the skin and half out. I pull it out with my fingers and I see that the bullet is made of wood, as if someone carved it. Those of us who aren't killed run away and hide out in an old church -- the place is really old, with lots of rooms. In one alcove in the wall a young woman who was with it who had been shot dead has been laid out behind a glass door that lifts up and closes like on a bread box or something. When the glass is down, she's alive in there and she taps on the glass and tries to tell me something. But when you lift the glass, she's dead, laid out with flowers in her hands. As I ponder this mystery, I become aware that our enemies have entered the church. I peer around the corner into another room and I see the bad guys have one of our guys on the floor and they are going to cut his balls off with a razor. Yikes. Exit stage right. I sneak out the side door of the place and run like mad up and up a nearby hill. I sit there for a while digging the quiet and the beauty of the natural surroundings. Then the bad guys are coming up the hill after me and I get up and run down this curving path that leads into a dark woods.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 01:59 pm:   

Night the Second:

I'm living underground in this kind of warren of hard dirt packed rooms connected by miles and miles of dark tunnels. There are no lights in the tunnels but there are candles in the rooms. A couple of other people -- no one I know -- and I are in one of the rooms and we're sitting around listening to a guy with a bandanna around his neck play the accordian. We are eating the food of the tunnels which turns out to be these perfectly cut curved slices of only the skin of peppers and peaches. There's a girl there I'm interested in who kisses me before she leaves. Then I leave and it's a long long walk through the tunnels. Occassionally, if you make a wrong turn you come out of the tunnels and wind up in an old attic with cast off stuff, the detritus of garage sales, etc. I wonder why the tunnels have no lights or why I haven't taken a lit candle with me. As I walk along, trying to find my own room, I notice the tunnels are getting smaller and smaller. Then some of us are outside, beneath an overcast sky, sitting on the rim of a shallow crater with a big lake in the bottom. My maternal grandfather is sitting next to me, his complexion ashen grey, and he's smoking a Chesterfield. Every body is talking about a time when this kid stole a car and the water in the crater froze and he drove the car around crazy on the ice, beeping and fishtailing all over the place. I wasn't there when the thing actually happened, but as I sit there I see it vividly in my imagination. The kid in the car is this kid that had one time lived next door to me in Collignswood. Once when he was playing with my older son, I overheard him say that he was made of metal. He then proceeded to run full tilt, head first into the brick wall that was the back of my house. It was that kid in the car in my memory -- cross eyed and screaming like mad. I asked my grandfather if he remembered the incident with the car on the ice, and he shook his head and said no, that it was back when he had the troubles. The troubles he was refering to I just realized was when he died after having twenty strokes in a row. He smiled and then it was time to go back into the underground.
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Deborah
Posted on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 03:21 pm:   

Jeff,

A doctor told me recently that the only effective method he's seen with patients is the following:
First week you get one pack/day; second week you get 19 cigarettes per day; third week 18, etc...

It takes 20 weeks, but it lets your body step off the addiction in a gradual way and it allows you to gradually change your behavior (the boredom you mention). He says he's had fewer people start smoking again after quitting this way.

Anyway, I'm trying it. This is week one, so life is good.

:-)

Of course, your way gives better dreams.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 03:47 pm:   

Deb: Give it hell. I wish you the best. That method you mention seems like it could be a good one. Let me know how you do with it and if the patch lets me down, I may try it.
PS: Don't forget to tell me when the college football pool starts. I know it's a ways off.
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 05:44 pm:   

I've had good luck with the gum.

Of course, I never managed to stop smoking for more than 6 days. But the gum is the only thing I've tried that got me that far.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 06:03 pm:   

Jason? Jeremy? : Six days is pretty good. I've never attempted the gum. The least effective method I've ever done is hypnotism. That lasted until I got home from the hypnotism session and listened to the affirmation tape about half way through. It was such drivel I needed a smoke. The longest I've gone off them for was when I used Wellbutrin, but i'll never use that shit again. Zombification. I did stay off the butts for almost six months with it, and it wasn't hard to quit. You just didn't give a shit about anything. It was like I couldn't wake up.
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Stephenb
Posted on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 06:54 pm:   

Jeff: I recently quit smoking by sheer willpower (no aids), after weening myself off them for a couple months. I've quit for three months now, and the two months prior, well I was trying to quit for good, I would only slip up every week or two, when I was drunk or something like that. I personally think if your going to quit you just need to force yourself to do it (same with drugs and alcohol), and avoid anything that will interfere (like booze, friends). The problem with the patch and gum, is that they are just as addictive (and costly) in some ways.

Nicotine stimulates the snyapes in the brain, so it would be interesting to dream with a nicotine stimulated brain... although now that I've quit it's just not worth trying.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 07:14 pm:   

Stephen: Way to go. I take my hat off to you. When I do the patch thing, I only stay with it for a week or two and then I go cold turkey off it. I'm just trying to break the act of smoking thing, if you know what I mean. I know nictotine is the addictive part and that as long as I'm wearing the patch that's still a problem, but I need to get out of the expectation and fulfillment of lighting up for a few days. Also, there's no way one of these patches is as much nicotine as I was taking in
while smoking. So that is a reduction in some ways.
But, yeah, no reason to go back. You can still have good dreams without it and less fucked up to boot. Thanks for the advice.
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StephenB
Posted on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 11:36 pm:   

I'm sure my advice isn't anything you haven't heard before.... I know what you mean by the whole psychological side of the addiction, it's really half the battle. Good luck Jeff, I know you can do it. The first two weeks are hard but after that it's not so bad.
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paulw
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 04:57 am:   

Jeff -- more dreams!
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 06:13 am:   

Night the Third:

I had a reading gig and when I got to it, it turned out to be the base of this pier. It was night and it was cold. The water lapped the sand behind me. Boards were nailed up across the stantions of the pier so I really couldn't see too well underneath it. A couple of them were falling off. I stood there and read a story (I think it was "The Beautiful Gelreesh"). All I could hear was the ocean behind me. Then, from inside, I heard applause, and a voice told me to enter. When I looked up, there was a hole in the boards that I could just about squeeze my Mondello through. Inside was a very dimly lit, classy looking bar. The only light in the place came from behind the bar where they kept the booze. There were five beautiful women in evening gowns, and the greeted me in southern accents. They were really interested in what I had to say and were hanging on my every word (this is where I should have known it was a dream). Anyway, they wanted to dance, so I danced with a couple of them -- kind of a stately waltz type of dancing and then we got drinks and moved into this other dark room where we sat on a long purple couch. I was trying to talk to them, but one of them had a pet goat, and the goat kept trying to get up on the couch and get me off the couch. So I start wrestling with this goat and the next thing I know I'm out on the street walking and it's day time. I run into this guy who looks like a short Magnum PI. He gets in my face about something, I yell back at him, and then a fight ensues. Surprizingly, I'm much stronger than the guy and I'm really kicking the shit out of him. But he's like rubber, you can't hurt him, you can only stun him. So I knock him down and run. I go to a deli with tables and chairs and sit down and order lunch. Before long Magnum shows up and he's murderous mad. He lunges through the doorway and we fight and I pound the crap out of him, but he bounces back up. I slam his head into the wall to no avail. There's no stopping him. He's one resilient mother fucker. Finally I give him the slip, and I wind up at work, teaching writing at the grade school I went to when I was a kid. My office is a square of dirt in a line of squares of dirt out on the playground. When I arrive, I have a student waiting for me. Before I get to my square of dirt I run into an old friend of mine who also went to school there and he's teaching there too. I ask him if at lunch time he wants to play basketball or go down to the woods and smoke a joint. He laughs as if the answer is obvious. I go and check out the student waiting for me, and she's poking a hole in the ground in my office square with a stick. As I approach, she says, "There's bees in there." I tell her not to poke it because they'll swarm, and sure enough. I tell her to run or they'll sting us to death. We start running and I look over my shoulder and good god there's a swarm of bees like one of those sand storms from the movie The Mummy. I think to myself, I wonder what it would be like to get stung by all those bees.
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Christopher Rowe
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 06:25 am:   

Jeff, I quit smoking for a girl.
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rick bowes
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 06:28 am:   

Great stuff. Love the square of dirt office! Nicotine I don't know about. But, in general the dreams almost make the withdrawal worthwhile.
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Deborah
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 06:37 am:   

Great dreams...maybe I should try the patch.

The longest I ever quit was while pregnant and nursing, During that time I would have these dreams where absolutely everyone was smoking...adults, kids, everyone. Weird.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 06:41 am:   

Deb: I think that will come when I finally take off the patch. But I remember them happening too. It was also very satisfying in a dream when I smoked.
I think you should stick to your original plan, though.


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Richard Parks
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 06:42 am:   

Some of these dreams almost make me wish I was a smoker so I could quit, but then sanity returns. I know me. I wouldn't quit. Still, cool dreams.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 06:44 am:   

Whooo-weee it was a busy night in dreamland last night. In all the rush and tumble of the Southern belles and the Rubber man and the bees, I forgot a side light of the dream. There was a scene I'm just now remembering where an old professor of mine was lecturing about The J. Geils Band. This was a band I know almost nothing about. That's it, though.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 07:08 am:   

Paul: Is your novel in the stores now?

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Lucius The Gypsy Fortune Teller
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 07:51 am:   

The five beautiful women are the five senses. The fact that they were boarded up indicates repression. The fact that you only danced with a couple of them signals that either you are neglecting the rest, or that you are indulging two that you are, in life, neglecting. The square of dirt shows the influence of Lars Von Trier. Magnum is, alas, only Magnum. He is shorter because he is in reruns. The bees are death.
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Sigmund Minz
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 09:21 am:   

"This is your rifle, this is your gun..."
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 09:47 am:   

Chris: When I got the girl, 27 years ago, she smoked and I didn't. Turn around fair play as Alex Trebek would say.

Rick: I had a teaching job once where I'd have been happy with a square of dirt for an office.

Lucius: Your analysis cracked me up. Excellent. Loved Magnum in reruns and the bees are death. I could have paid 120 bucks for that and here I get it for free. You're a regular swami.

Minz: Thanks for clearing that up.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 10:33 am:   

My bill is in the mail. :-)
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sharyn november
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 12:10 pm:   

whoa, good luck to you.

i tried to quit once. i got the patch. i was, as it turned out, allergic to the patch, and broke out in an itchy red rash. i figured that was a sign.

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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 12:51 pm:   

Richard: Good god, whaterver you do don't start. It's such a freakin prison. I know you know that already. Glad you like the dreams, though.

Lucius: I'll pay you off in boisson at the KGB

Sharyn: Thanks. This is my first day at work with the patch, and, man, it's touch and go. I'm going to miss hanging out and smoking with you and the other nicotine fiends once I have crossed over to the other side. I can still hang out, but the most essential ingredient, the smoke, will be missing. Damn.
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jeffrey ford
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 05:24 am:   

Night the Fourth

Scanty offerings from King Morpheus last night. Perhaps we are only allotted one nightmare an evening, and since I'd already watched Dick Cheney on the tube...
A quick walk through the woods near my house to the island of Barbados. I stay in a hotel with a late 50's early 60's look with plenty of wood paneling. This place is huge and the entire hotel is filled with dining halls where people endlessly eat dinner no matter what time of the day it is. I meet William Faulkner in the bar and he is bombed. He has a mound of closed paper umbrellas on the table before him and refers to them once as his apiary. Faulkner's face and look keep changing (always kind of grey and distinguished though) and nothing he says really makes any sense. He mumbles out these circuitous sentences that just sort of fall apart. Somehow I surmize that Faulkner is there tracking a criminal. We wind up in a screening room and are shown a film of this thief and murderer -- Joey is his name. He is supposedly a master of disguises. In the film there are six Joey's standing together in a room. He's a short, dumpy kid of about 16 with dark hair and looks a lot like a young Lou Costello from the comedy act of Abbot and Costello. A voice at the back of the projection room discusses his chameleon like aspects while on screen each of the six Joeys is wearing a different kind of hat -- fireman, police, post man, etc -- and making some stupid face. One is hopping up and down and one is doing the Twist. This is intercut with scenes of the remains of Joey's victims -- I remember these were horrible but the only one I can actually still see was like a gnarled leg bone with some gristle on it. Faulkner is smoking through the whole thing. From the projection room, it's back out into the hotel, a walk through eight enormous dining halls to a large picture window that shows grey skies and the palm trees bending in the wind, a choppy ocean. I overhear someone say that a hurricane is coming.
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rick bowes
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 11:13 am:   

This one's terrific! The finale has touches of KEY LARGO about it. I love the Faulkner. And the master of diguises.

By the way, a shrink I encountered, a Jungian, told me that when we remember a dream upon waking and then remember additional parts later on, we're not actually remembering what we dreamt but ringing changes on the dream even though we're awake.
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 11:19 am:   

Rick: I would believe that to some extent, but other times I know (or I think I know) I'm having a memory of the dream.
I have Niel Young on in the background and he just sang, "I've seen you in my nightmares, but I'll see you in my dreams. I could live a thousand years before I know what that means."
It's all syncronicity and those skanky nicotine withdrawl tremors. Onward.
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Cornelis Alderlieste
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 11:57 am:   

This is one whacky string of posts! :-)

More, more, more!
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Cornelis Alderlieste
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 11:58 am:   

Hmm... yer not goin for the dooby instead of the sigs are ya, Jeff?
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 12:38 pm:   

Cornelis: Not a bad idea at all. One joint for every cig I was doing would equal 40 joints a day. I'd be seeing Faulkner in my hall closet then. I like your thinkin.

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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:41 pm:   

Hey good luck to you, Jeff. I'd always been a social smoker until one day I found myself smoking close to two packs a day. There were all sorts of stressful factors that correlated in the smoking escalation, so I tried my best to squash the stressers, and then I did what Deb is doing, taking away a few cigarettes a day at a time. I'd count out my cigarettes that I'd allotted myself that day, and by mid-afternoon, realizing I wasn't doing a good job of budgeting them, I'd end up making a smoking schedule. Kind of pathetic, but that in itself started to help in quitting, because I hate schedules, so eventually it got to the point where I was ditching more smokes a day than taking them. Then I wasn't buying packs anymore, and now I don't smoke unless I actually feel like having a social smoke.

The dreams are way cool. I had a few of those types when I took melatonin to change my sleep schedule after I moved to Japan recently. Fun stuff, though the quitting isn't fun.

Rooting for you!
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 04:24 pm:   

Chris: It's great to hear from you. Thanks for the well wishes on the quitting. So far so good, but tentative. Rick told me you moved to Japan. What are you doing over there? Have you been writing any fiction lately? I hope you're new home and life are good.
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paulw
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 04:29 pm:   

Hi Jeff,

The novel won't be out until March, but I did ask Diana to send you an ARC.

And no, you *can't* smoke it!

P
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 04:35 pm:   

Paul: It's a good thing I saw this, because it came today in the mail and I have the first two chapters rolled up and the flame was inches away. Seriously, looking forward to reading it. Will probably start tonight. Best of luck with it.
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 03:52 am:   

Hey Jeff, I just finished a story, though I'm still tinkering with it. And I have another one I'm waiting to start on after I'm done messing with this one. I should probably go back to working on my second novel, but right now I just want to write short stories. I've got a couple of stories out right now (one in the new 3rd Alternative, one coming up in Strange Horizons, and just sold one to Realms of Fantasy) so things are good. Japan is good too. The only thing I really have to complain about is the cold that's beating me up right now.
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Ellen
Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 07:28 am:   

Jeff, you've really got to work a bunch of these dreams up into stories. THey're brilliant!

(posting from Maine)
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 08:19 am:   

Night the Fifth

A gorgeous day -- blue skies, autumnal chill. I'm walking down a road in a suburban/rural area. It's an old town with wide sidewalks, short curbs, old fashion telephone poles with wires drooping down. The place is a little beat up, but very relaxing. Lynn is with me and our sons and some of their friends and a couple of our nieces and nephews and we've got a couple of footballs. We're walking along, throwing the footballs to each other. It's exhilirating. I'm throwing that pig skin like Johnny fucking Unitas -- perfect spiral and the distance of about three telephone poles. On catches, I'm jumping like 8 to 10 feet in the air. Everybody is laughing and calling things out and talking. Just a wonderful dream, which melts into a scene of a second story artists loft, but huge, like a warehouse. I look out the window into the night and it's raining, but the street below is empty. Lynn is there and we are drinking some kind of lime cocktails. The phone rings and a voice, male, offers to show me some finished pages of a comic if he can see my wife's "sexual devices." I'm not really sure what he's talking about, so I turn and tell Lynn, and she says, "Hang up." I do and then the dog starts barking. I go to see what he's barking at and the next thing I know I'm in a car out by the beach, driving along a rode that has both dunes and undergrowth like stickers and bushes, etc. I pass a couple of old shack houses that are abandoned and see these things in front of them I, at first, think are old lawn ornaments, but when I look closer I see are actually little shaggy monkies the size of lawn ornament trolls. They're dressed in overalls and they're doing gymnastics moves in slow motion, like somersaults and hand stands. Then, as the car continues, I see the bushes and undergrowth move at the side of the road and I peer into it and see a woman in kahki pants with just the most enormous ass, crawling around in there.

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rick bowes
Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 08:28 am:   

WOW! The last part of it has a kind of psycho-noir feel. Like Hammett on acid.
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 11:29 am:   

Ellen: Thanks! I might do that. The sleeping addicted brain is a conrucopia.

Chris: Sounds like you are doing really well. Congrats on the publications. I'll look the stories up when I get a chance. Glad you like the living arrangements over there. Stop by here when you can and drop a line. Keep writing.
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 08:17 am:   

Night the Sixth

I remember driving around the parking garage of a sports stadium, a huge and convoluted structure, dimly lit and grimey, in a station wagon with the artist George Condo (I saw a documentary about him on tv a couple months ago). I was trying to find a way out of the crazy structure, and he was madly vociferating about the antipodes of something or other. I couldn’t figure out what the fuck he was going on about. Then we spot a football team’s bus, parked in the middle of a huge thoroughfare. Condo yells, “There they are, Stop!” I stop the car, he gets out, and runs toward the bus yelling curses at them. Three professional size football players tumble out of the bus, grab Condo and start beating the crap out of him. I reach over, shut the passenger side door and drive off. Soon after, I find the way out of the parking garage. While I am making my way through an outside parking lot, I light a cigarette. One toke, and man was it good, and then I remembered and said to myself in the dream, “You’re not supposed to be smoking.” I opened the window and tossed the butt out. I felt a great sense of disappointment but at the same time thought to myself, “Well, just one inhale, that’s not gonna hurt anything” (not good).
Next I know, I’m standing in the living room of an old row house like the kind Lynn and I lived in in Philly for a while. I was talking to this older guy, dressed in either a fire man’s or a cop’s uniform, and his wife, thin, younger than him but stressed looking like she’d been squeezed through the end of a whiskey bottle – still, both very calm and nice. Someone was with me, standing beside me, but I could not see them and am not sure who it was. All of a sudden, I look down and in the corner of the room, there is a small cat with another cat standing, all four paws, on its back, heads facing in the same direction. I point to it and say, “Check that out.” The guy in the uniform says, “They do that all the time.” Right after that I notice that on the table next to where the woman is sitting, a round mirror topped table, there are a collection of little dog figurines that are perfect, replicas of the real thing – right down to the strands of hair. All of a sudden, one of them, a collie with long silky hair, stands and runs around in a circle and barks this little pin prick bark. Then I noticed that the other dogs are also moving. I’m blown away by this. The woman smiles at me. I ask her where she got them, and she says, “T Model Trains over on Westmont.” I tell her I have to get one of those for my wife for Christmas.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 08:17 am:   

Jeff, I sorry to interject my own dream material into this thread, but I had one last night, that albeit not as complex and rife with personal meaning as yours, was remarkable as to format. In it, I was sitting on a couch, facing a dark TV screen, when a formidable disembodied baritone announced, The Hearts of America are mad, and their eyes are mad, and their (inaudible)...With the fading of the voice, the screen brightened and I found myself watching a talk show hosted by a smiling, joking Jeffrey Daumer complete with theme music and co-host. I tried to change channels, but found that I, too, was disembodied (as I commonly am in dreams) and so was forced to watch. I seemed to watch several programs on the same channel, most of which I can't remember, but I do remember one, a kind of Hee Haw, starring George Bush and his cabinet officers. There was George in overalls and a plaid shirt, Condoleeza Rice in a Daisy Mae outfit, a jolly Dick Cheney, thumbing up a pair of suspenders, John Ashcroft in a sort of Marrying Sam costume. The show consisted of loud bluegrass music and a gabble of voices (all of them talking at once) that lasted the entire length of the program. I think that's what woke me up.

Perhaps the dream's serial structure is reflective of the difference between Prozac and nicotine. Whatever, I don't want to tune into that channel again.
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 08:32 am:   

Lucius: Definitely add dreams to this thread. I was kind of hoping others would as well. This He-Haw you saw, is indeed a show. It's been playing in Washington since 2000. And the american electorate, like yourself, has been diembodied. The John Ashcroft in a Marrying Sam outfit cracked me because I know what you're talking about -- that's the character from Lil Abner, right? Yikes! Hope that Prozac is going down smooth as Thunderbird. More dreams, man, more dreams.
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montmorency
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 10:33 am:   

Jeff: You can write a new edition of Ten Nights' Dreams a la Soseki Natsume.

http://www.trafford.com/4dcgi/robots/00-0059.html

By the way, please do not lose track in Arabian Nightmare.
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John M Bennett
Posted on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 12:37 am:   

Just found this place yesterday, and I planned to lurk a while before actually posting. But Jeff's dreams were fascinating, and he hoped to see some others, so here's one of mine from about three days ago.

I'm at my grandfather's house in Arkansas. Behind the house are five or six graves of the restless dead. You can tell that they're restless because the grave mounds change shape as the dead move around below. Father Ted [from the Britcom] shows up and we walk past my grandfather's place to a dirt road that has 6,000 unmarked graves beneath it. I remember reading about the graves in National Geographic, but now I'm actually there. We're supposed to so something about the restless dead, and I'm a little afraid.

The graves have the same shifting mounds, but they also have covers that you can lift off. Under the road is a wide, deep trench. The actual graves are down there, partially covered by large scraps of lumber and metal. I'm afraid to go down, but Father Ted does an amazingly unconvincing pratfall into one of them. I climb down and help him out, and then he falls for real, going over backwards into another grave. I can see that his head hit one of the boards, and he doesn't move for a long time. Finally, he's up, and we go to the end (or maybe it's the beginning?) of the road.

We go underground there and find a secret room full of treasures and gold. It's a storage room for the Catholic Church apparently, and we decide to get out before we get in trouble. While we're closing the door, I notice that I've brought out a cigar box full of gold coins, except that some of them aren't coins, just smooth, polished gold disks. We're trying to put the gold back in the secret room when another priest walks up. I wasn't trying to steal the gold, but I have to hide it from this priest, so I put the cigar box in one of the graves.

The new priest takes me into the priests' building where a party is going on, a Christmas party, in fact. But the priests' building is actually my grandfather's house. Inside, each priest is getting his present, a single Hershey's miniature candy bar. Then I notice my father's head lying on an end table, and an old woman nearby tells me to clean the head and prepare it for storage. My father's head looks at me and says something. From his smile, I know that he's had an idea for a gruesome trick that we could play on the priests. Since he's just a head, he can't talk very loud, so I lean close to hear what he's saying. I can't quite make it out. Then I pick up his head, but his hair is covered with Vitalis, which feels very strange, so I drop the head on the floor.

JMB
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 04:40 am:   

Montmorency: I went and checked out this book. It looks like something I'd like to read along with quite a few of his others. Thanks for the tip.

John: Great dream. Love the Vitalis and the entire dream. Thanks for adding to the dream mass on this thread. If you have anymore, please don't hesitate.
Also, this one came at just the right time, because even though I'm still on the patch and wearing it at night, I was blank last night and have nothing to offer this morning.
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 04:42 am:   

Night the Seventh

One week of no cigs. Still wearing the patch, but Morpheus took the night off. He was at John's house. Nothing came through but a vague muddle. I'll try again tomorrow. Onward!!!.
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brainshades
Posted on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 11:15 pm:   

Jeff - I really hope the patch works for you. I've been off the Marlboro mule for over five years now; can't stand the smell of them anymore... I had tried quitting several times before, but it just came down to not really being serious about quitting, I think?

I believe that the time I spent going from full-time smoking to part-time over several months made a big difference in being able to finally quit. Just don't get discouraged if the patch or gum won't help.

I really enjoy your work and wish you the best in your struggle.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 07:12 am:   

brainshades: Thanks for the encouragement. I'm over a week now and things are still going well. I'm closing down the dream factor, though, because although I'm still having dreams, I no longer feel like writing them down. This could be good or bad, but my feeling is recording has served its purpose.
Not only that, I never get a really good night's sleep wearing that patch throughout. I hope to stick with the not smoking. Breathing -- what a novelty.
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 10:22 am:   

Just checking in -- day 12 today of no smokes.
I don't wear the patch at night anymore but last night I was shooting yellow mice off my fireplace mantle with my wife's bb gun. The whole family was joining in and man were we good shots. A couple of knic-knacks took one the hard way, but it was a laugh riot. I wonder if a little nicotine in the system could have made that dream any better.
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rick bowes
Posted on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 01:03 pm:   

Shooting yellow mice off the mantle is just the kind of good old fashioned fun, that the Family Marriage Act was designed to promote.
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John M Bennett
Posted on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 11:57 pm:   

Jeff: Just checking in -- day 12 today of no smokes.

As a former ex-smoker, I'm cheering for you. Your night vision should be improving at this point. Do you track your pulse and blood pressure? When I'm off tobacco, my pulse runs about 60, down from its usually high pace. The idea of my heart taking jogging instead of sprinting was an encouragement to me.

btw, your last message disturbed me, briefly. I didn't realize it was a dream until I got to the end. For a moment, I thought it was some new quit-smoking activity.

JMB
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, October 15, 2004 - 07:11 am:   

John: Lucky 13. Thanks for your encouragement. I appreciate it.
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Nels
Posted on Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 01:49 am:   

Mr Ford, I hope you won't mind me doing an impression of a cheerleader for you...

Best of luck man! Keep at it!

Nels
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 04:32 am:   

Nels: I won't mind at all. Thanks for the cheer. 14 big ones. Yesterday wrote the end of a story. Whether it's any good or not remains to be seen, but this is the first time I've been able to write without smoking. That's definitely something different. This isn't a dream is it?

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rick bowes
Posted on Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 09:04 am:   

Congratulations!

This thread in itself is one hell of a story.
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 10:45 am:   

Rick: Thanks! It is quite a story, but from what I hear from a lot of people who have e-mailed me and written on the board here, a never ending story. Still, it gets better. As Matthew Cheney said to me about it, when you quit it frees up a lot of time, all the time it took in planning the next smoke, getting somewhere where you can smoke, and smoking. Do that 40 times a day, and we're talking a couple of hours turned to the spiritus. Now I have plenty of timew for those Green Acres reruns.
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John Klima
Posted on Monday, October 18, 2004 - 10:18 am:   

I guess I'll put a dream down here first: when I was a child I used to have a recurring dream that a Tyranasaurus Rex was coming to raze my town so my friends and I build a wall to stop it. One part that remains in my mind is that someone pulled up in a car asking directions and we sent him into a nearby building and dimantled his car to add to the wall.

In other news, here's a link you might find some interest in:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-10/ucl-mfa101804.php

JK
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Jeff ford
Posted on Monday, October 18, 2004 - 12:37 pm:   

john: Thanks for the article and the dream. I've read about this kind of stuff before with people and their attendant colors. Not a bad item to be worked into a story. I remember reading a novel by Flann O'Brien, I think it was The Third Policeman, where people have these color auras. There's something about this in the study of chakras too. Have to look into it more.
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John Klima
Posted on Monday, October 18, 2004 - 06:39 pm:   

Sounds like a great story for Electric Velocipede! (hint hint) :-)

JK
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JV
Posted on Monday, October 18, 2004 - 07:34 pm:   

I used to have a recurring dream of being chased down a furrow of a path between long, man-high blades of grass. I was being chased by guerillas with AK-47s, but they were also gorillas. They would keep shouting their political agenda at me but I could never understand them. The path would become like a maze garden, convoluted and with many openings and dead-ends. Eventually, the grass would go away and I'd be on a long stretch of mud-dirt between two large bodies of stagnant water. In the water would be large crocodiles and alligators and other saurians. But oddly shaped--not of this world. I would run along the path while they snapped at me and still behind me the guerilla-gorillas pursued. Eventually, I would come to a point where the path ended and there was only water ahead of me. At that point, the gorilla-guerillas would evaporate into the air just as they were about to catch me. A giant crocodile lolling at the end of the path, in the water, would open its jaws and I jumped right into its jaws, passed through its maw, and found myself in another world entirely, again populated by guerilla-gorillas engaged in some kind of war against The Man. Again, I'd find myself in a maze, but this time of a totally different kind. In a burnt out city world with skyscrapers in ruins and ripped apart. In this world, the sky was fresh blood red and the smell of slaughtered flesh was everywhere. People were clinging to the naked girders as flying dinosaurs swooped up and pulled them off. Huge carnivorous dinosaurs, misshapen, roamed the rubbled streets. And once again I'd be trying to escape my pursuers. I could feel the grit under my feet and hear small creatures in the shadows, watching me. Usually, the dream would end with me on the end of a girder high on a skyscraper, trapped between the guerilla-gorillas (who by this time had stopped being comic booky and become deadly surreal) and the flying dinosaurs. At that point, I would suddenly realize that I was in a dream and, knowing this, would take a running start off the girder and jump into the sky.

JeffV
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, October 18, 2004 - 07:41 pm:   

Jeff: Wait a second. That was no dream, that was Worldcon in Boston. Seriously, that's a great one. We need more dreams. Whose got a dream out there?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, October 18, 2004 - 10:08 pm:   

A very dull one that I don't have the heart to bore you all with ;-)
Unfortunately, not only do I usually not dream in detail but usually not even in color. And my dreams are not intriguing noir B&W either.

I'd rather read all of yours.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 06:02 am:   

Naw--that was Blackpool/EasterCon, I'm pretty sure! LOL!

JeffV
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 06:25 am:   

Ellen: Bore me, go ahead. Write down a dream fragment. I don't care if it's in black and white. I dare you.....
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 06:33 am:   

Jeff: Yes, Blackpool it was. Actually, Blackpool was a pretty cool place (a sort of Victorian malarial fever dream with signs announcing upcoming dates for Engelbert Humperdink and itinerate pools of vomit on the street along the seawall), but the only thing about it that I can't get out of my mind was that black disc shaped shit they served in the breakfast line. Did you check that at the hotel? What was that shit? The stuff of dreams.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 07:27 am:   

That, I think, was fried blood. Taken from the streets the night before.

Yeah, Blackpool was cool. Just unexpected. Nobody expects Blackpool. Although you could probably expectorate Blackpool.

JeffV
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 08:25 am:   

No way. But if I have a decent one I'll let you know.
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neilw
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 09:01 am:   

Re "black disc-shaped shit" - that would be "black pudding" (this sort of thing also comes in "red", "white" and "fruit" varieties, and pretty much as JV says is fried blood, and in Scotland it is shown the due respect paid to all such "delicacies" of being deep fried.

:D

Dream-wise - normally I do not remember dreams, but the last few nights have been really rather colourful. Two nights ago I had an "observer" type dream in which my girlfriend, Em, and another person were approaching a guarded compound somewhere in Italy, dressed in camouflage gear in the middle of the night. Their important task, while avoiding the searchlights and jeep patrols, was to scale the fence and use their special hi-tech thermometers to measure the temperature of the poo of a herd of deer on the other side.

*ahem*

It may not sound it, but it was very dramatic, honest!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - 02:08 pm:   

Black pudding when done up right is delicious. I've had it in a diner in NYC that serves up an irish breakfast. Now white pudding I could do without. Don't know what it's made of but didn't like the taste.
If you're not squeamish about eating blood. There's a delicious Italian dessert made of blood that takes like chocolate. You can only get it around Easter (If I remember correctly). It's so rich a few people can share it. I've had it in the east village at De Robertis's.

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John M. Bennett
Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 09:44 am:   

JV: At that point, I would suddenly realize that I was in a dream and, knowing this, would take a running start off the girder and jump into the sky.

That's a pretty wild dream. But what happens when you jump? Do you fly, fall, or just wake up?

JMB
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John M Bennett
Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 09:53 am:   

NeilW: It may not sound it, but it was very dramatic, honest!

Measuring the temperature of Italian deer poo sounds pretty dramatic to me, especially since it was so well guarded.

I'll toss in a short dream from a few years ago. I remember this one because a few days before it happened, my brother gave me a copy of the "Dreamer's Dictionary," which is supposed to explain dream symbols.

I'm in a grocery store, one of those huge warehouse places where you have to be a member to shop. There's no ceiling to the store, and the walls are about 40 feet tall. I'm checking prices. Milk is 69 cents a quart. A big bag of potato chips is $1.29. While I'm shopping, Conan of Cimmeria comes in. This isn't Arnold from the films; it's the real dude, just the way Frazetta pictured him. He tries to buy some groceries, but three angry young clerks in white aprons confront him because he doesn't have a membership card. Then the clerks grab Conan, carry him up a ladder, and throw him over the wall.

This one stuck in my mind because I checked the "Dreamer's Dictionary" the next morning, and NONE of the things in my dream were listed. I don't think I've consulted that book since.

JMB
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 11:06 am:   

John:

When I jump, I wake up before I start to fall sometimes. Sometimes I wake up right before I hit the pavement. LOL! Luckily, I haven't had this dream for several years.

JeffV
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John M Bennett
Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 11:47 am:   

JV,

I don't think I could make a jump like that in a dream. I spent about five years as a roofer, and I've never been too fond of heights, so a common theme in my dreams is hanging onto a roof that's getting steeper or beginning to collapse.

Hmmm... I've got a scar from a dream. Should I tell that story?

JMB
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 11:51 am:   

Well, like I said, I knew it was a dream at that point. I think you *have* to tell that story now.

JV
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John M Bennett
Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 12:15 pm:   

Okay, here's how I got a scar from a dream. This happened years ago, when I was about 16.

In the dream I was in a cousin's house. This cousin actually lived up the road from us, but in the dream I had the impression that we were in Florida. Anyway, I looked out and saw people searching the street. Some of them might have been cops, but most of them were civilians. I didn't know who they were looking for, so I hid in a closet.

I was peeking out of the closet door and saw one of the searchers walk into the room. I don't know who it was, but in the dream it was somebody I knew. So I opened the door and stepped out into the room.

And he shot me.

It wasn't a regular pistol. More like a flare pistol. The impact didn't really hurt, although it slammed me backwards onto the floor. I raised my head, which was all that I could move, and saw a big, smoking hole on my right side, just under the rib cage. My head fell back, and it got dark. Very strange sensation as it got dark. I felt like I was surrounded by a lot of warm, black balloons that were inflating and squeezing me.

I woke up and told my mother about the dream, because it had been very vivid. As I pointed to the place I was shot, I noticed that there was a patch of slightly darker skin there, the same shape, size, and location as the dream wound. I don't remember it being there before the dream. My mother didn't remember it, either. Nobody in the family remembered it. So as far as I can tell, I got that "scar" from being shot in a dream.

JMB
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mike bishop
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 04:37 am:   

That's a helluva dream.

I was going to tell one that I had as a young writer, when I was trying to break into a number of markets, specifically F&SF, and getting back nothing but rejections, almost all of them many months after submitting my stories. Once, during this period, I dreamed that I traveled to New York City to visit Ed Ferman at his editorial offices in a Manhattan skyscraper (even though his offices were really in Cornwall, Connecticutt) and rode an elevator dozens of floors up from street level to the floor and corridor on which Ferman had his suite. As I walked down this corridor toward this suite, however, I saw two men in complicated assault-style uniforms, with large helmets with heavy see-through visors and AK-47s at the ready, guarding his door. I halted in complete befuddlement, irrecoverably stymied. The dream, of course, dramatized my frustration at being unable to sell to F&SF, and it ended with me standing in the corridor drop-jawed and intimidated: the perfect objective correlative for my emotional state.

But I've told this elsewhere, anyway, and it's not a patch on a dream from which the dreamer wakes up with a scar!
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 06:16 am:   

Neil: The deer poo your girlfriend is skulking around trying to take the temperature of sounds more appetizing than dried/fried blood. I dug the dream, especially the fact that the whole crazy thing took place in Italy.

Ellen: The image your e-mail brings to mind of a bunch of people sitting around, spoons at the ready to dig into a bowl of dried blood is grim. Yeah, it tastes like chocolate, sure.

John: Awesome dreams. Shit, you don't even need the patch.

Michael: I know that dream you had. I might have had that some one somewhere along the line. And, while you're here, great message re: the upcoming election on your own board. Well put. Thanks.
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rick bowes
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 07:23 am:   

Black pudding has killed more Irish than the Potato Famine.
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Matt Cheney
Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 08:43 am:   

Here's a poem that describes my dreams:

BORING DREAMS
by Joel Brouwer

Filled ice-cube trays -- dozens -- then mowed
the lawn. The end. Next night: searching midtown
for a parking place. Tuesday I filled out

insurance forms, then diced enough onions
to make Nebraska weep. Toenail trimming,
Pittsburgh layover, painting the whole house

beige. If, as spake Zarathustra, to be boring
is a sin, my dreams have surely pushed me
to hell's icy edge. Why does my psyche

insist on stuttering blah while I sleep?
Over toast and jam Francine recounts
surreal megillahs Bunuel would have sliced

out both eyes for -- crows reciting Rilke,
a soldier shampooing a goat
in a rowboat floating past -- but I wake

having shuffled a deck of cards all night,
as if I were resting, marking time
like an actor backstage or bivouacked GI,

until the lit world and its plenty-
weird particulars return: this grin of melon,
that man on television crawling

across the sidewalk in his suit of blood.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004 - 12:07 pm:   

Rick: Black Label has probably killed more too.

Matt: I really like this poem -- It strikes me that there is truth in it. Thanks!

Day 26 sans cigarettes. All is cool, the only thing is I want a cigarette. Other than that, all is smooth as a river of gravy.
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mike bishop
Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 04:35 am:   

Let me second Jeff's approval of your poem, Matt; good stuff. It conveys the frustration of the dreamer starved for exotica (or erotica?) when all that manifests every night is "[t]oenail trimming," shuffling cards, picking one's teeth, or watching grass grow. Sometimes, I fear, it feels a little like that to be a writer struggling to break through the prosaic images at the forefront of the brain to the poetry lying deeper in. Anyway, thanks.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 08:40 am:   

Hey good for you Jeff, you've kicked the habit.:-)
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 11:14 am:   

Stephen: Thanks for the well wishes, but I still have miles to go. It's getting easier, though.
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, November 06, 2004 - 11:29 pm:   

Confession time: This nicotine fiend crumbled and fell like the walls of jericho at the recent WFC in tempe arizona. A killer blow, but it was worth it. Lasted out the first night to get my one solid month in and then ripped that baby off and was drinkin and stinkin. Now that I'm home, I have the patch back on and I'm chalking it up to a lost weekend. But oh what I weak willed fiend I am. Still, Onward!!!!
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Cornelis Alderlieste
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 10:33 am:   

Hmm.. Harry Mulisch preys on weak mammals like you Jeff. Watch yer back, especially around the couch. Beware! =]
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 05:53 pm:   

I was there, I saw it all. It was more a willing fall than a crumble, a man expressing his long-repressed love for the killer weed....a surrender to lover's embrace, if you will. Basically Jeff took one look at my cigarette and said (to my cigarette) I want to be with you. :-)
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 10:43 pm:   

Cornelis and Lucius: I readily accept all ridicule and jibing. Like Cato, I throw myself upon my cigarette, or patch.

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