The Good Book

On a neglected shelf in the back of a store, I spotted a thick book with an unpolished wooden cover and a black silk bookmark hanging from the middle of its pages.  I thought that the book was an empty journal, and I was already coming up with thoughts and schemes to fill it with as I brushed past a large woman who stood rooted in place between me and the shelf.  But when I got to the book and picked it up, I was disappointed to discover that its pages were already filled, printed in a rough typeface that filled every page with no room for margins and no breaks for paragraphs, not even spaces between the words.  I couldn’t make out what any of it said.  It just looked like random letters stamped to the paper with ink and madness.

But then I looked back at the woman who had blocked my way.  She was dressed in her Sunday best, a dress of blue with white polka dots and a pair of long white satin gloves.  And there were men standing behind the shelf where I had found the book.  They wore suits and their grey beards were trimmed and their hair was combed back.  They all stood still and they all faced towards the front of the store like they were listening to someone, and it was then that I finally heard the preacher speaking from far in the front.  I flipped again through the book and realized now that it was a Bible, printed by the unskilled hands of an amateur on some backwoods home press.  This amateur had probably even cut down the tree that had provided the wood for the cover.  I looked around, wanting to slip out.  But I had the book in my hand now.  I couldn’t seem to put it down.  I couldn’t seem to leave.  They had drawn me back into religion.

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18 thoughts on “The Good Book

  1. Gimme that old – time religion! One of your most vivid posts, makes me wonder what events in daytime reality might have prompted it.

    (I dreamt that K and I were at a Donald Trump rally, but then I'd been watching the movie of Woodstock 1969, for old times' sake.)

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  2. Ha. Yeah, when you look at it like that, it sounds like some crazy paranoia scenario. “Sure, I think I'm out now, but one of these days, I just know, I'm going to be in a store looking at a hard back journal and it's gonna end up being a Bible and I'm gonna be right in the middle of a church service. That's how it happens. I've seen it before. That's how how they got my Uncle Bob.”

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  3. No, we didn't even see Trump. At first we got seats in the third row near the stage, but something happened and then we found ourselves near the back, facing the wrong way, and if we craned our necks round, the view was in any case blocked. But we saw that there were lots spare seats, so we went to the front again. Most of the seats were empty. We had somehow missed Trump, but it was OK.

    And as I tell you this, I see the Hendrix connection. Watching Woodstock I couldn't believe how pretentious and posturing the acts all were, apart from Richie Havens at the beginning. So we skipped to the Hendrix set, saw him actually lift his head & purse his lips to kiss the sky.

    I was expecting to pan to the open-air audience, but we didn't see them at all after the opening bars. We saw the acres of mud and litter, and a few stragglers, after the whole thing had ended, with the sound of Hendrix still playing. (Not unlike the actuality, apparently. I read that “He didn't take the stage until 9 A.M. on Monday morning and played for 2 hours to a dwindling audience.”

    I'd been watching part of Trump's Florida rally on YouTube. The dream conflated both gatherings.

    I notice that you haven't taken my bait when I wondered what events in daytime reality might have prompted your dream. Such is our privacy and personal space, to be respected always.

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  4. I don't know if it's so much a question of not taking bait. I just couldn't think of anything recent that was all that relevant to the dream. Sometimes these things just come out of left field.

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  5. I find your take on the Woodstock performances interesting. It's been quite a few years since I saw that movie, but I remember there being things that grated on my nerves as well, although I don't specifically remember what they were. A lot of the “hippy” behavior from that era seems very affected to me in retrospect.

    The only thing I remember specifically was a part where they were going to “pray” or “wish” the rain away. I thought, yeah, good luck with that.

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  6. By any chance did that preacher's voice sound like Ted Cruz? The reason I ask is, because I had a dream I stumpled on Hillary Clinton in my dark kitchen, going through my purse. I ran to the bathroom and locked myself in, so she couldn't get me. But she stuck her hand through the door like a ghost and dropped pieces of torn up paper on the floor. I picked up a piece to see what it was and she had ripped my real estate tax receipt.
    I wonder if any more people are having bad dreams, because of the horridness of this election.
    Maybe we should file a mass lawsuit on grounds of psychological trauma or something. .

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  7. Bryan, your Good Book dream is fascinating on many levels, not least the visual one. I can almost picture the scene, the book, the people. I can't presume to interpret it but my instinct tells me that the symbols in it (Bible, preacher, etc.) need not be taken literally and may be saying something quite different. My guess is that it might be telling you something about your own creativity. If I were you I'd go ahead and make a book like that, with a wooden cover, and write your dreams in it.

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  8. Cindy, that's a dream warning not to vote for Hilary…as if you would! From this perspective as an outsider, my sympathies are with Bernie and I hope he'll get the votes. But this election campaign is so insane, a real nightmare!

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  9. Hey there, Natalie. Welcome. Yes, I hardly know how to interpret them myself most of the time.

    I've used a number of blank journals like the one I assumed that the book was in the dream, sometimes buying them with the best intentions only to end up leaving them blank. I picked up one not long ago for a creative writing class I'm taking (which was probably part of the instigation of the dream, although I don't know how the church goers or the preacher got involved.)

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  10. I'm probably projecting myself into this but another look at your dream came up with:
    At first you're excited by seeing the unpolished wooden book but someone blocks your view – a symbol of conventional opinion. Then before you have a chance to work out what the jumbled text in the book is about, you're confronted by further blocks: a panel of elders or judges who cause you to turn away in order to listen to more conventional views. But the heart of the dream message is in that intriguing hand-made book. The coded words in it are your dreams, the book is your 'good book'.

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  11. Yeah, I had a similar thought about it, like I wanted the pages to be blank to express something new, and they were already filled, and not just filled, but filled by the book to end all books.

    And writing that, I'm reminded of a passage in Revelations that I first heard about in Sunday school, where they basically call a curse down on anyone who would add to the scriptures, which really has to be one of the most definitive instances of capping the well ever.

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