Thursday, December 11, 2008

Baby I'm Just Jogging In the Dark

Yesterday my alarm went off promptly at 6:00 AM just like it does every weekday morning. I hit the snooze just like I do every weekday morning. What made yesterday different was that I actually fell back to sleep until the alarm went off again. Don't get the wrong idea. When it comes to the snooze button I'm no saint. Had it not been for my wife's threat of dire consequences if I hit that snooze one...more...time, I probably could have gotten the record for most consecutive hits. Hated getting up to go to a job I loathed.

Despite the roller coaster of crises we had this summer the job I have now isn't so bad. The repercussions from our little incident in June are still echoing and will be for the foreseeable future thus making work a lot less fun but when you've been to the fiery pits of hell working in a boiler room doesn't seem so bad. With this job it's been relatively easy to get up with the alarm (the first time) and spare my wife the torture of the recurring beep. That's why it was so surprising for me to hear the alarm the second time.

What surprised (and confused) me even more and probably added to my disorientation was that I not only fell back to sleep but I fell back to sleep deeply enough to have vivid dreams. For all of nine minutes I had Technicolor and CinemaScope going on. Also unusual for me because I don't generally remember my dreams.

I was alone outside in the driveway of house in a residential neighborhood. The kind with large lots where the houses are pretty far apart and there's no sidewalk. There were a lot of trees, mostly evergreens lining the street and spread sporadically on the lots through the neighborhood. It was at night and it was pitch black (then how'd you see the trees? shut up it's my dream) and cold. Like see-your-breath cold. I was dressed much like I was on Saturday when I put up Christmas lights in old jeans, a camo Army field jacket, heavy work boots, and gloves. With me so far? Good. So, there I am standing in the dark, in the cold in a coat and steel-toed boots...and I run out into the road...and start jogging.

Anybody that knows me can tell you that this was no longer a dream. It was a nightmare. For a very long time I have lived by the rule that there are only two situations which will cause me to run. 1. There is something behind me worth getting away from. 2. There is something in front of me worth catching. One or the other is a requirement.

I started friggin' jogging.

This is where the psychoanalytical look into my subconscious comes in. The neighborhood and the road seemed familiar to me but because it was so dark I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of me. It was hilly but I kept along at a steady pace. Then dogs (BIG. dogs.) start barking on either side of the road. All through the neighborhood - it sounded like the frickin' twilight bark. I could hear them barking from behind the trees but never saw them and the farther I ran the louder and closer to the road they seemed to get. Then I started hearing what sounded like a car coming up behind me but every time I turned to look there were no headlights and I never saw a car.

Then the alarm went off again.

So, to recap. I'm running in the dark and don't know and can't see where I'm going. I'm dressed inappropriately and not prepared for what I'm doing. There's some unseen potentially dangerous thing catching up to me. And I'm being assailed on all sides by barking dogs. Hmm. Wonder if I should get out the dream dictionary for this one.

I did notice one good thing. I never got winded during the entire dream. Does that mean my subconscious is in good shape?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Romance Supporting Romance - A Very Worthy Cause

Ya'll know that my wife is a romance writer. You also may know that I am a big fan of romance - in its written form, yes - but also a fan of romance in general. I'll admit it, I'm a romantic and I do what I can to promote romance whenever I can. Being married to a romance writer has given me the opportunity to meet a community of great people, mostly women, who work very hard to create romantic fantasies for the enjoyment of others. The majority of them do this for very little money and even less respect. They work to produce "those smut books" and "trashy romance novels" in order to express their love of writing AND of romance so that readers can pick up one of their books and escape for a short time into a world where the girl gets the right guy and they both get their happily ever after. That chance to escape is particularly important because the writers, and the readers, and everyone else knows that in real life the happily doesn't always happen. And sometimes it does but it doesn't stick around ever after. Which brings me to the reason for this post.

Romance author Jo Leigh lost her real life romance hero to cancer this year. Now, while dealing with her loss she is also facing seemingly insurmountable medical bills. The romance community has come together to help support one of their own. Please read the following, follow the link, and consider bidding on some fantastic items donated by Jo's fellow authors including Leslie, plus agents and editors in the industry. And please pass the word, especially if you or someone you know is a lover of romance.

Permission to forward

Author Jo Leigh lost her husband this year to cancer. Theirs was a story of reunited lovers worthy of a romance novel. The loss of her husband hit her hard, both emotionally and financially. (authors are self-employed, so often have no medical insurance.)In an effort to raise money to help her pay off those medical debts, the romance community has once again banded together to support one of their own and an auction is being held. This is a wonderful way to purchase gifts for yourself or a loved one AND write it off on your taxes.
Please spread the word to any loops, forums, etc. that you might be on.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sex and Intimacy

There's an interesting discussion going on over at The Simple Marriage Project. Corey Allan put up a blog post yesterday and posed this question to his readers : What's the difference between intimacy and sex? He's gotten a lot of interesting responses. Below is my comment to his post.

I don't think you can say sex isn't intimate. Even if it's "meaningless" purely physical sex. itself it is just physical intimacy. And that is a small piece of the total package. And you can most certainly have intimacy WITHOUT sex.

As humans we are not purely physical beings. We are a combination of physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual. Personally, I think one can, to varying degrees, be intimate in each of those areas. To have a truly, completely intimate relationship with someone I think you have to be intimate in ALL of those areas. It has to be a blending, a balancing of all of those areas and I believe the balance is somewhat fluid and changes (or should change) depending on the needs of the relationship (and the partners in it) at the time.

I think this is where we run into trouble sometimes. Men AND women fall into stereotypical roles, because that's what we're taught or for some other personal reasons, and those roles cause us to focus on one of those areas and neglect the others which leads to the person and the relationship being out of balance. Then you're put into the cycle of needs not being met, lack of communication, and resentment.

Real intimacy is opening yourself up on all levels to the other person and showing that you trust them to know you and love you for who you really are. The warts, scars, fears, insecurities, emotions, passions, beliefs, and on and on. The true intimacy and trust, the true union, happens when the other party returns it in kind. They open themselves to you just as thoroughly.

Like so many other things, finding balance is key. And what is the right balance for me may not be right for you. For that matter what's right for me today may not be right tomorrow. It takes work and attention to figure it out. There's no easy fix. And even if things are running great it still takes work to keep it that way.

Corey has a great blog on marriage and relationships going over there. You should check him out.