January 20, 2010

Dreams of War

What does it mean that I dream about war? That I write about war? I don’t dream about combat particularly, though it is sometimes there in bits and flashes, like I’m channeling someone else’s PTSD. I dream about cultures, societies, worlds at war and what that war does to the people, how they become hard and strong, how they adapt and survive. But they are lonely, too, and always reaching out to each other and always afraid, not of loosing but of loving. I dream in third person, the omniscient author, and I am nowhere in the dream, nowhere in the story.

Does it mean I’ve simply watched too many movies, read too many books, and gotten lost in the so-called glories of war, the glamorous lonely warrior mythos? Or am I the one who is lonely and afraid? Do I thrive on conflict, seek out challenge (whatever little of it there is to find in my cushy waking life), in order to make myself that strong person who doesn’t need to reach out? Is it an allegory? Or just good fiction? Am I trying to understand why war happens, how people can hold both love and hate in their hearts so easily, why the horror of violence never seems to overshadow the desire for conflict?

Why do I dream of war?

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