Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Book To Live Up To?

I have always been a vivid dreamer and last night’s dream was no exception.  Most of my dreams are meaningless drivel, although I am sure that Freud would find meaning in them.  His meaning might involve all sorts of unconscious and deep seated complexes, which may or may not be there. In this case he might be right.

The setting was a shopping centre that incorporated a multi-screened cinema and a theatre.  I was with my husband, Joseph, and two of my nieces.  It was the end of the day and the two girls suggested we go and see a film or something.  There was some kind of high action film with lots of car chases and gun fights.  We were all spent out but I decided the debit card could take the hit.  The man behind the counter told me that it was a good idea as being so late in the month as it wouldn’t show up on this month’s statement anyway. 

I don’t know what happened to the film, whether we went through the wrong door or something, but we ended up in the theatre instead.  It was a musical set in the 1950s or 60s.  It was also one of those productions where not everything happened on stage.  There were three or four places where music stands had been set up or seats had been removed to clear a space.  The seats weren’t built in but were stand-alone one anyway.

The girls had disappeared to wherever young girls go just before the start of the play.  There didn’t seem to be a row of four chairs, or even two.  People had draped coats or themselves over a number of chairs saving them for friends.  It didn’t matter too much as the chairs were easy to move.  I shifted one next to where Joe was sitting.  The girls were happy to sit further to the front by themselves.

The play began.   The action on any of the stages was being filmed and projected on to a screen, so you didn’t have to keep turning your head, or looking behind you to follow the story.  But, of course, you did look around you all the time.

A small stage on the right hand side of the room held a bedroom scene.  It lit up with low lighting.  The music wasn’t slow or seductive but very fast paced.  The scene was over and done with in a dozen bars of music.  Two people entered the stage, very swiftly pulled of their clothes, velcro-like.  She was down to a satin camisole and he was down to boxers. All they did was roll over the bed, him rolling over her.  They rolled off the other side, replaced their clothes and left.  It was all in a matter of a dozen beats to the very fast music.

I laughed, simply because it was so swiftly done, to the beats of the music.  I thought it was great choreography.

An old lady sitting next to me took issue.

“Why are you laughing?  It’s not funny!  They are committing adultery and you are laughing at it!”

I hadn’t given much thought to anything like that.  I had just seen the swift choreography and thought it was a clever device.  I hadn’t thought about why they were in bed.

The woman continued her tirade.  She wasn’t whispering or hissing her condemnation of my laughing but speaking loudly.  Head began to swivel not to the action on the stage, but to the woman and me.  My husband, a usually patient man, told the woman to be quiet and let us watch the play.

She just got louder.

Finally, I put a hand on her arm and apologised.  I said that I was sorry that I had upset her by laughing. I didn’t try to explain what I had found amusing.  I just apologised and she stopped ranting.

I woke up at this point.

Some dreams are meaningless, others aren’t. I had been thinking earlier that day about what happens next book-wise. There is the whole marketing thing to get my head around.  A friend of mine has said she will buy the book when Waterstone’s have it on their shelves.  Yeah…right…that’s a challenge for me.  I could have started the whole ball rolling yesterday but needed to take a break from the book stuff.

“What happens next?” is not about the book, but about me.  Poetry, more so than any other kind of literature, reveals the heart of the writer.  Personal stuff creeps into the poems and your own heart is laid out in front of the reader.  “Wider Than The Corners Of This World” is Christian poetry. It’s about trying to see the God that stands outside of time and space, outside of church walls and hymn lyrics and the places you would expect Him to be.  It’s about seeing God in godless places and in godless people as well as the godly ones.  The book published, bought and read tells people about God and me.  I am not sitting on a fence where God is concerned but have firmly placed myself beside Him.

The woman in the dream is like those people now who have read the book.  It’s not just my head that has appeared above the parapet.  I am, apparently, dancing on it - head, body, arms and legs are doing the samba on it.  Caution has been thrown to the wind.  Can people now feel free to pull me up when I appear to laugh at the things God takes seriously? Does the day to day woman, Melanie Kerr, who does her washing on a Sunday, match up to the poet, Melanie Kerr, who writes words to compel people to worship God?

God and I were talking about this yesterday.  What bits of me will I need to change now that the book is out?

“Nothing that you didn’t need to change before the book was out!”

The book is the fruit of my life lived trying to walk as closely to God as I can.  That life is full of intimate moments, interspersed with times of disconnection.  Lots of conversation happens between us, but there are awkward silences too.  It’s not a perfect life, but it is a life that returns time and time again to God’s presence.

I need to make the changes I need to make, not because I need to live up what’s written in a book but because I simply need to make those changes anyway.

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