Dreams and family history are two rich story mines. Below are a couple examples from my life:
This morning, shortly before waking, I had a long and detailed dream about my old job. There were new faces and new ideas, and none of the rookies seemed unsettled to see me, but started telling me what was going on, whose idea was whose, what worked, what didn’t, and why.
However, before I could meet the new employees or reach the new workspace (a shiny new and bright concession stand, one of many places I oversaw in the old job), I had to pass people with whom I used to work. They didn’t greet me or smile, but immediately began complaining about my absence. They were sarcastic, passive-aggressive, unhappy.
When I tried to leave that little conclave of depression and blame, they followed me, still complaining, still muttering. None of them, however, set foot into the bright, new workspace.
I turned around from admiring the new setup and speaking with the smart, young assistant manager, and looked out the open door to where the conclave gathered in the dark. They shot ugly looks, quieted but never stopped muttering.
That’s when I woke.
That’s also when I was reminded that 1) those burdens are no longer mine to bear, and 2) vision and gratitude turn on the lights.
(originally written March 1, 2014)
Most of my social media connections know what I think about racism, the pernicious, persistent misnomer that’s not about race — we’re all the human race, there is no other — and all about skin color and ethnicity: Racism ends when we let it end. When skin color and ethnic origins are simply allowed to be, without the assumption or the weight of something ugly attached.
I don’t tend to make ethnicity a big deal in my stories. People are who they are, who they decide to be, who their actions lead them to become, and sometimes their origins have an impact on that.
“The Deer Place“, however, directly addresses racism, and mixes elements from family lore and my father’s childhood. He recalls being called a “dirty Indian” and other names when he was young. He also had a special place on the mountain where he met the deer, and one day he discovered where they went.
(originally written February 28, 2015)