I don’t have a coherent post to offer today, just random thoughts.

I’ve been having a recurring dream for the past few days. It’s annoying and I can’t figure out why I’m fixating on this particular image. It involves the Union Jack and its components somehow: I am usually trying to explain the pieces, or assemble the pieces, or explain how to assemble the pieces, or something. I’m not clear on what’s going on, and I’m thinking the dream itself is not very linear.

Sometimes a little girl is involved (hush, Jeff), sometimes a large group (hush, Jobie). The overriding feeling is one of frustration, but since I don’t have any clear (waking) idea of what I’m trying to accomplish, I’m not sure what the frustration is about. It’s entirely possible that not knowing what I’m trying to do in the dream is the frustration.

The easy symbolism is that it’s a metaphor for my composing. I know what the pieces are and have some idea of how they go together, but I don’t know enough to actually assemble them. What the little girl has to do with it, I have no idea. It’s like Faulkner’s Little Sister Death that I mentioned the other night at the Lichtenbergian Annual Meeting: in the face of some college student’s question, he claimed not even to remember the character in The Sound and the Fury. (I think I placed her in Absalom, Absalom at the meeting, but I got the character Quentin Compson right.)

As for the Lichtenbergian Annual Meeting, let’s just say that I was the essential Lichtenbergian: of the seven goals that I had listed at last year’s meeting, I had accomplished not one. The ones I can remember are picking up painting again; completing the symphony; completing the songs for A Day in the Moonlight; writing a trio for piano, trombone and saxophone; and getting some pieces done for a couple of choral competitions. There were two more, but I can’t remember even what they are.

I put off working on Moonlight to work on the symphony. That was scuttled when Czarkowski decided not to return to GHP. I didn’t have time during the summer to work on the trio, and no drive to work on the choral works, and then everything was subordinated to the labyrinth. So there you go.

All the non-Lichtenbergians in my life ask if I just rolled them all over to next year, and the answer is, of course, no. I’m pulling back in a lot of ways. Fewer goals, smaller goals, baby steps. Who knows? Perhaps the symphony will come bursting out of me in January, but I’m not planning for it.

8 thoughts on “Musings

  1. You’d think somebody who claimed to know something- even the most basic information- about what Jung had to say about dreams would at least have a comment on this. Hrm. Who knew?

  2. I don’t recall Jung having anything particular to say about the Union Jack. Of course, he did seem to be obsessed with fours.

  3. A preface to further comments on the Dream in which I touch upon why the analyst doesn’t really know anything–perhaps entitled Put Up or Shut Up–about what it all means.

    The QED proof, the final Sherlockian solution, it’s part of the fun of any interpretive psycho-dynamic school of behavior. It’s a fantasy that draws in both the professional and the enthusiastic lay practitioners. It’s part of the attraction (a key Freudian insight is, after all, that knowledge is sexy). And though it’s a fantasy, and an enjoyable one, haunting it is a figure-function that is actually meant to be used to set analysis in motion, the Supposed Subject of Knowledge (also translated as the Subject Supposed to Know). The analyst is supposed to know what the dream means and this expectation mobilizes the patient to speak.

    The analyst, however, doesn’t know the meaning of the signifiers revealed in the dream. All the analyst knows is that there are certain possible structures to which a dream may point. The dreamer must begin associating to the elements of the dream, and a dream is most informative when the dreamer is in a transferential relationship with the analyst. Dreams often are most informative when they come in a series, though one could also argue that the structure at work is present in every element of the series, at any magnification, like the structuring algorithm and arrangement of a fractal. But still it depends on the response of the dreamer.

    If I offer an interpretation, I’m playing out my Hercule Poriot fantasy at Dale’s expense. I’ve excluded the Subject, the dreaming Subject. If I hold forth on possible structures, it’s just my dance of the seven veils. What I thought I’d do instead is offer questions and oracular pronouncements which Dale can deal with as he wishes. Maybe he will dream about them.

    What was your father’s work?
    What was your mother’s work?

    Do you consider yourself first and foremost a teacher? How do you qualify that characterization?

    Were you your mother’s favorite?

    How might you connect your siblings to flags?

    Union. What do you wish to unite? What cannot be united?

    Compare and contrast Union Jack to American Flag.

    Why isn’t it the American Flag that’s in your dream.

    When can a Composer not compose?

    Various identifications implied: composer, teacher, Faulkner…

    Rule Britannia.

    Flag as ultimate materialized Symbol.

    Burning. Allegiance. Inherited rule over “democracy.” Lack of relevance?

    To wrap oneself in the flag.

    Symbolic identity vs. day-to-day identity…

    Betsy Ross.

    Teaching vs. composing…

  4. The phrase “lack of relevance” was meant to refer to the Union Jack’s role in our contemporary American outlook (the exceptionalism of the Anglophile), but I realized it was ambiguous. Maybe I’m just asking if any of this is useful.

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