Dream journal: Meryl Streep in the mall

I sometimes have dreams so vivid I have to write them down when I wake up. Sometimes those things wind up in notebooks, other times they wind up on Facebook (and sometimes they wind up as fiction), but except for a couple of old Writer’s Notebook entries (this one, and this one), I haven’t really written up any of those dreams here on the blog. I think that’s mostly because I don’t actually keep a formal dream journal — I just scribble ideas that feel fully formed enough and narrative enough to merit a little storytelling, even if only casually — so I hadn’t thought to include those here on the blog.

But the dream I had last night was so much fun (and has gotten such a fun reaction on Facebook) that I figured I might as well share it here. And maybe I’ll keep doing so from time to time. I don’t anticipate this becoming a regular feature on the blog, but once in a while, if a dream seems share-worthy, I’ll go ahead and toss it up for everyone to enjoy.


Last night I dreamed that my wife, Jennifer, sent me out for fast food breakfast, which for some reason I could only find in the mall, but as I was walking through the mall to the food court, I got stuck behind a slow walker. After a few minutes, the slow woman turned around and joked, “Are you stalking me?” And it was Meryl Streep.

By Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY
By Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY

I swore to her that I wasn’t stalking her, and she laughed and said it was okay. For some reason, I mentioned the Oregon Book Awards, and she said, “Oh, are you a writer?” And then she invited me to sit on the floor of the mall, right there in the corridor, to chat with her for a bit. I said, “Won’t people mind?” But she said, “Oh, I do this all the time.”

I told her all about my novel, and she asked if there was a part in it for her, and at first I said not really, but then I said, “Well, there’s a lot of accent work, Southern and Cajun, and you know you and accents. You could probably play anyone you wanted.” We talked for maybe half an hour, and I kept thinking, I’m late getting Jennifer’s breakfast, but then I thought, it’s Meryl Streep! Jennifer is going to be thrilled! Later, my friend Karma Dorje walked by and spotted us, and after I introduced him to Streep, he said, “No one is ever going to believe this.”

When we got up from the floor to go our separate ways, Streep asked if I had a business card, and I did, but as I rooted in my satchel, I remembered I’d cut them all up into little paper horses and Batman symbols. I don’t know why. But finally I found a whole card and Streep took it and I thought, I wonder if she’d let me call her Meryl now, but I was still too intimidated to ask.

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3 thoughts on “Dream journal: Meryl Streep in the mall

  1. Keep those dreams in a folder and may turn into another chapbook or whatever.  Would like to know if you got Jennifer’s breakfast and what she said about your encounter.   Julie Snoek

    1. Ha! Actually, in the dream, after I left Meryl Streep, I found the food court, but it turned out that even though the food court was deserted and dark, like it was still before opening hours, I was actually too late for breakfast. I went to a fake-Taco Bell and tried to order breakfast tacos but they only had chicken burritos. I started to text Jennifer to ask what she wanted me to do, but in typing the text, I realized I had to tell her about Meryl Streep, which is when I woke up. 🙂

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