Some Thoughts on My Dreams
Can someone please tell me why I’m so creative in my dreams but I can’t access that power in real life? Last night I saw two musicals in my dream and they were amazing! The lyrics, music, and story flowed so well, it could have been an actual show. In my dream, I didn’t write them, but I must have written them because they were in my head, right? Now I can’t remember anything.
I have had many dreams where I come up with musicals like this, and I am always impressed by their quality. The lyrics rhyme, make sense, and tell a deep and entertaining story. The music is unique and catchy (but obviously not catchy enough, as I can’t recall it in the morning). Maybe I just think they are good in my dream, but in real life they would be laughable. But still, to compose a whole musical in my sleep, even a mediocre one, is pretty cool. Have you ever wished you could see a recorded video of a dream? To experience foggy emotions and details clearly on the big screen? I wish I could watch even a bootleg recording of these musicals!
If dreams are what Freud said they were—manifestations of our subconscious brain—then I must be a genius in my subconscious. If only my pesky conscious mind wouldn’t get in the way, I could be a famous composer and lyricist!
In Psychology there are several different theories about what it means to be intelligent, but no one quite agrees.
Charles Spearman said it was "General Intelligence" that made a person smart. If someone is intelligent in one area, then they will be in another too.
Howard Gardner said there were eight different intelligences that a person could display: Kinesthetic,
Robert Sternberg narrowed it down to three:
Practical, Analytical, and Creative.
What makes a person smart?
What makes a person stupid?
Someone who is good at thriving in social interactions has a very important kind of intelligence.
Where would we be without leaders? Friends?
Someone who is good at logical reasoning has another important kind.
Where would we be without mathematicians? Engineers?
Someone who has a developed vocabulary, and can weave magic with language has an important kind of intelligence.
Where would we be without speakers? Writers?
Someone who cares deeply about the earth, its workings and its beauty has an important kind of intelligence.
Where would we be without scientists?
Someone who lives and breathes creativity has another important kind.
Where would we be without musicians? Artists?
Different smart does not mean more smart.
Different smart does not mean less smart.
Who's to say who's smart?
Who's to say who's stupid?
Does different= smart?
anything but stupid.
The Right Thing...
I always thought Lydia was a strange girl. For one, her name was strange. Unlike mine and my sisters’, it wasn’t from the Bible, or a virtue name. Charity is my older sister. My two younger sisters are Tabitha and Mercy, and I am Patience. I love our names. They are there to remind us of our devotion to God, of people and qualities we want to emulate. But Lydia... A beautiful name, but strange.
It wasn’t just her name that was different. Even as a young child, there was something about her that was just... wrong.
I remember when we were very young, Charity found a kitten down by the river. The poor thing was soaking and shivering. Someone had obviously tried to drown it, but by some miracle it survived. Charity brought the kitten to where Lydia and I were playing with dolls we had made. Lydia thought it would be great fun to make dolls that looked like we did. We tied scraps of fabric into little shapes of people. We found some corn silk to use as hair. It worked perfectly for my blonde hair, and we rubbed charcoal in Lydia’s corn silk to look like her darker hair. After we had made these dolls, Charity approached us with the kitten. Wanting to warm the poor dear up, I stole the kitten away from Charity and wrapped it in my apron. I had no sooner gotten it, than Lydia stole it away from me.
In her arms, the kitten started behaving strangely. It moved its head left and right; its muscles convulsed and twitched so violently and unnaturally. Lydia stroked it passionately, and whispered something in its ear. She then put the kitten down on the stump where we had left our dolls. It rubbed its tiny, wet head against Lydia’s doll over and over. But then it turned its attention to my doll. After staring Lydia directly in the eyes, it slashed at my doll with its claws and bit down hard.
Immediately, I felt such an awful, searing pain in my stomach, and ran home screaming. I was sick with a stomach ache for the rest of the day.
Charity told Lydia’s parents, and they drowned the kitten in the river, and kept Lydia locked up in her room for almost a week.
She did many more small, unusual things. So many, that I forget exactly what they were. I know there were times that Tabitha and Mercy saw her muttering something, and ran home terrified that she had cast a spell on them. She always preferred the eerie quiet of nighttime to the bright and sunny daytime. In church, Lydia always looked uneasy. She shifted her eyes about as if she had something to hide, and she never paid attention to the sermon.
Perhaps the signs should have been clear much sooner.
Yes, she was always strange, but she was not always bad. She did her chores, and she sometimes helped me with mine. She had a great singing voice. She told great stories. We used to throw sticks into the river and see whose was the fastest. She taught me how to skip stones.
But I suppose none of the good matters when someone has turned so bad.
Her unusual incidents started to become more frequent.
My poor, poor Mercy! Two nights in a row, we all were woken in the middle of the night by Mercy’s screams. She swore that she had seen Lydia peering through the window, gnashing her teeth at her, and hissing an evil spell. Mercy’s sobs quickly became shouts; she fell on the floor and shook so violently. She had never had a fit like this before. I wanted to believe the best of Lydia, but when it was so clear that she had tortured my little sister into a fit, it was hard to be friendly.
As we grew older, and Lydia was close to marrying age, she was known to scream at her parents that she refused to be married. Lydia’s mother and father tried to discipline her and stop these outbursts. They tried everything. Her father beat her a few times. But she was so stubborn.
Somewhere the rumor started. It was whispered, then it was muttered, then it was spoken aloud in conversation. The reason Lydia didn’t want to be married was that she had already given herself to the devil. Lydia was a witch.
It was a perfect explanation for everything we had seen her do. It makes me sick that an agent of Satan was near me. I try not to think of the times I may have been under her power. . .under the devil’s power.
She protested so boldly at the trial, shouting and waving her arms. She never did cry. Over and over she declared her innocence, but there was just too much evidence. I spoke. I don’t remember what I said. I felt like I had betrayed someone... but I was doing the right thing. God would be proud that I had told the truth and fought against evil. I was doing the right thing...
Even today, after the trial, after the testimonies of my family and several others, including Lydia’s own family, it is hard to believe that someone so close to me could have been so evil. I don’t think I would believe it, if I hadn’t witnessed so much. She had seemed like a friend to me.
I am not sure I want to watch the hanging.
What am I afraid of?
The vibrant darkness
That creeps and floats
Somewhere between sleeping
But not quite a dream.
The twinge in my stomach
Before an audition
That some people call
“butterflies” but really feels more like
Shattered glass and lightning.
When something happens
That I can’t explain.
The frightening familiarity of
The vastness of space
The prospect of being completely
in the Universe.
The prospect of not being alone.
The feeling of being watched.
The feeling that I’ve failed before I even try.
The fact that some of the stars
We think we see are dead,
Exploded into super nova oblivion,
And their light is still reaching us.
What am I afraid of?
I don’t know of anything about this list that should scare me.
And maybe that’s what scares me.
The Saddest and Happiest Place I Know
Grandpa did things old-school. He wanted to be buried on his own property, in a simple, homemade wooden coffin, in a hole dug by a tractor. There was no viewing. He wanted his kids and grandkids to remember him alive. I think it was better that way.
In my mind, there is only grandpa—alive, joking, talking—and then a wooden box that his sons and sons-in-law lowered into the hole with ropes. They are not the same. I never got to see the in-between, I’m not haunted by the image of a man who was almost grandpa, and I think I’m happier for it.
Being with my family, sitting and sobbing with my little brother as we sat by the coffin once more before it disappeared into the earth, and with him singing one last song for grandpa (he loved to come to all of our music recitals) was the strangest mixture of emotions I’ve ever felt. It was terribly sad. How could it not be? But I felt more peace at that simple graveside service in grandpa’s yard than at other funerals I’d been to where I didn’t even know to person who’d passed away. That moment in time was probably the saddest and happiest I’d ever felt. It was the worst place ever—we were saying goodbye to a father, grandfather, and friend. But it was he best place ever because we were together, united in our love for him, and our hope of seeing him again. Family members who hadn’t spoken to each other for a long time, and had refused to come to family reunions, were able to come together, and share their common grief.
He wanted to be buried facing the Kolob Canyon cliffs—beautiful, colorful faces of rock almost hidden by the surrounding plainer-looking mountains. I can’t even describe how beautiful the shades of red, orange, and purple rock look. They remind me of a sunrise. Of a new birth. We buried him facing those peaks, but in my mind, we never really buried him. Sure, we lowered the wooden box and the “bag of bones,” as grandpa liked to call his mortal body, into the earth, but his soul never touched the ground. It soared up to those cliffs, and kept going straight to heaven.
As I have gone back to his grave to visit, it has always been a place of serenity, a place of silence. A somber place, but not a lonely place. A beautiful place full of his spirit. Just as the best songs have both major and minor sections, this place is made all the more beautiful by the opposing emotions I experienced there. There is a very clear and comforting presence. But it doesn’t come from the ground. I feel him as the sunflowers bend in the wind. He loved sunflowers. I feel him in the quiet breeze. I feel him in the strong boulders he chose to be the marking of his grave instead of a tombstone. I feel him in the sunset, as the first stars begin to appear. And I feel him in those mountains. Oh, those mountains!