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April 22, 2022: Per Chance, to Dream

A few nights ago, I had a dream, and woke suddenly in what I think was the middle of it. I dreamt that the seven-year statute of limitations was up on my dissertation, and that I was out of time to finish it.

What was most interesting was that this dream then and now seems so real. I recall that I’d forgotten until right then that I had to get the dissertation done. And it appeared as though I didn’t have the time to finish it.

I mentioned this to Pete who simply said, “you finished and defended your dissertation” in a rather disparaging way for, yes, I had. And so why belabor the point? He had also finished his dissertation in a timely fashion, and to my knowledge never he has had this sort of dream. I’ve had like dreams before.

This dream was so real that even in being awake, I had a few times to remind myself that I did finish. Maybe I’ve been having this dream because this was a flawed document. My committee knew this but by then they just wanted me out of their hair.

Alys reads to chicken

I was trying to do what they wanted me to do, and it was not working out. They wanted me to first pose an argument and then defend it through the use of example. That I was not able to do what they wanted me to do has given me the self-label damaged goods. Usually this applies to those who for one reason or another, don’t finish at all.

Me, I do have the memory of a reassembled committee sending me out in the hall and having a discussion as to whether or not I passed, then calling me back in the room and telling me that I had indeed passed. I didn’t even have to revise the damn thing.

I was pleased, but still, I wish that I had written a publishable document. So there we might have an interpretation – I didn’t produce a passable dissertation.

I now see how I might have done things differently – in fact, I have often thought that I should have scrapped what I’d written for committee number one and just started over. Yes, this is what I should have done. My new committee chair would have approved. If I’d done this, it might have ended up being a publishable document.

Had I gotten a teaching job, I might have been motivated to write about teaching.

I am not writing much of anything these days, just dispatches and an occasional article. This is because I am now living the story. I will someday write about the book project, and about the Bright Lights Book Project videographer taking on this story. I am depending on my brain to record the salient details.

So now Logan, who is the owner and head videographer of Alaska Nomadic Cinematics, says to me that he sees this project as being one worthy of being a documentary. Maybe, just maybe, it does not matter how the story is told, or who tells it, rather that it just be told.

Having written this, I should sleep better tonight.

Next: 111. 4/23/22: Talkeetna Earth Day

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