1. Read bits of a few lovely books the past two days. Continuing my newfound fascination with the technology of war through a great chapter in a Cambridge history of Europe/WWI/WWII, even as I found a book on interesting mathematical problems, which had gems like how to create your own learning/adaptive ‘system’ to beat you at a simple devised game using matchboxes and colored beads. That had me in awe, a little bit. With virtuality and computers so rife nowadays, it’s these mechanical systems that manage to amaze; their ingenuity stems from their accessibility, it seems. Sporadically getting through A Terrible Beauty (which simply reinforces how much I wished I’d been alive in the 20th century where all the exciting intellectual things were happening). Idly browsed through a book called The Drawing of Life, which talked about the purposes of journals, with some gorgeous prints included. Evidence of continuous, painstaking effort has always drawn a little envy, but also vicarious fear from the grave, blatant risk of meaninglessness.
2. In that final book were mentions of dream journals. I don’t dream with enough regularity to make that worthwhile, and in any case, my subconscious doesn’t interest me to a sufficient extent to compel that, but I did dream something fairly complex last night, and it amuses me to recall it: it seems like I was living in a drastically changed world as part of a dispossessed or fringe group. There was the impression that a huge paradigm shift had occurred, and I was part of the last bastion of resistance. The first thing I remember in the dream was that we had to escape this underground room which was either collapsing, flooding or on fire – it feels like the heat of the latter even as I remember distinct grey sludge – acid, perhaps? It was rising and rising and we had to get out, but once I was out, I realized there were children left inside, and there was a brief but relaxed moment of inner debate about whether I was going to go back in. I think I was more resigned about the fact that I had to, and was going to, than determined. Also, possibly subconsciously I realized it was a dream and I couldn’t really die, which explains the lackadaisical way I made my decision. In any case, I rescued the kids, we got on a bike and went to our new safe place, which was oddly only accessible through a side door. All this time, there had been people milling around us, uncaring. We’re right in the city, not quite downtown but definitely a bustling street. The rest of the dream was less remarkable – I had to go around on my bike, always with this vague trepidation, even as none of the pedestrians seemed openly hostile. On one of these forays, I came back to the safe place to find a couple, clothed but upper bodies blocked from my views by the stairs, necking. At one point, a friend and I were trying to get somewhere but there was no pavement by the road and ahead, where there was a curve, cars were swerving ruthlessly to the far edge where we would have walked. It felt like a movie in my head, almost.
3. Had a couple of good conversations last night (despite the fact that it ruined my study schedule for the night). Trying, trying. My study plan for May is fairly structured now, and I’m a little relieved. I’ll get there (without even killing myself!)