Dream journal: writers, journeys, and complicated futons

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), and, recently, I’ve decided to let them start showing up here.

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’s were actually a series of dreams in fits and starts, but there seemed to be an evolving theme . . . .


Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly, (c) Andy Anderson
  1. Last night I dreamed that the creative writing workshop I thought I was teaching was actually one I was taking, as a student. And it was a cool class, because my classmates included Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin. The instructor/workshop leader was faceless and voiceless, like a Peanuts teacher, just denim hips that passed at eye level from time to time. The room was small, with white cinderblock walls and only two narrow windows, and the chair-desks were pushed close together in clusters. I was late to class, so I’d only just sat down when class was basically over and people started packing up. I realized I’d forgotten to bring my copy of The Tilted World for Tommy and Beth Ann to sign, so I tried to meet up with them for drinks afterward, but they were busy. I asked about AWP next year, too, but I couldn’t hear Beth Ann’s response in the din of departing students. I tried to see who else was in my class — what other fantastic authors I was lucky enough to be working with — but the classroom was already empty.
  2. Later, in another dream, I ran into another power couple, my writer/scholar friends Darin Bradley and Rima Abunasser, on a sidewalk outside some store. The day was so bright everything looked colorwashed, and I kept blinking and squinting as I looked at them, as though they were the ones giving off the light. I’m pretty sure I was in North Texas, where they live, though I have no idea what I was doing there. Rima and Darin seemed in a hurry, and I noticed they had luggage with them, so I asked: they were headed to the airport. One of them (I never found out which) had gotten some kind of professional gig in the United Arab Emirates, where my wife and I used to live, and they were leaving for the airport. They were going to bring along a friend of theirs but he’d backed out, and seeing as I’d lived in the UAE before and they had a free ticket, they invited me to come along. Just to help them move in and celebrate the new job. Apparently, the ticket was a flexible round-trip, so I could join them for the flight, party for a few hours in UAE, then turn around and come right back home. For some reason, I fixated on the “party for a few hours” part and ignored the fact that the flight would take roughly full day, each way. So I said sure and tagged along. Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean it dawned on me that I should have called my wife, but of course, it was too late by then, and — in my dream-logic — I was only going to be gone “a few hours” anyway.

    At Darin and Rima’s new flat, friends gathered to celebrate, with lots of coffee and whisky and (for some reason) buttered rum, but I spent the entire party looking for a cup or a glass. In every cupboard, all I could find were these tiny ceramic flutes, like small vases or large thimbles, and I wasn’t sure if they were actually okay to drink from. I kept wondering if they were weird for not having any regular glasses, or if I just wasn’t hip enough to know what cool drinkware looks like (Rima and Darin are very cool), or if they simply hadn’t unpacked all their glasses yet. Meanwhile, the partiers swelled in numbers, the music got loud, and at some point Darin stood on a coffee table and announced that he was publishing a new book, and everybody cheered and started refilling beverages, but of course, I still couldn’t find anything to drink from. Finally, I left the kitchen and made myself a spot on Rima and Darin’s sofa, which was like a cross between a college futon and a traditional majlis set. That’s when I remembered I needed to call my wife, but — stupid me — my phone didn’t work overseas. So I decided to head back to the airport and fly home before I was gone too long.

  3. Back at home (in yet another, separate dream, but despite all the waking and falling asleep again, I’d developed a kind of narrative flow), I decided I’d liked the idea of the futon/majlis thing so much that I wanted to replace our bed with one, so I bought one from that Texas store where I’d bumped into Rima and Darin. (Apparently I did the shopping between dreams, because while I knew where the bed had come from, I never actually dreamed the buying of it — I just arrived at the house and found the boxes, already half-unpacked, with the styrofoam cubes and plastic wrapping scattered everywhere). While I’d intended to buy something like Rima and Darin’s couch, what I’d wound up buying was more like a cross between a futon and a hospital bed (and maybe a Transformer), because the new sofa bed was a complex half-motorized machine of levers and gears. The way it was supposed to work was, you pulled a handle somewhere, and through the leverage of the pulling but assisted by electronics and hydraulics, the bed would contort itself into a kind of giant chaise lounge, ideal for both sitting and sleeping. What it contorted itself from — folded couch or flat bed — I never found out; I’d gotten it stuck in the half-transformed position. And this was a concern, because not only had I been gone for roughly two days without any word to my wife, but now I’d replaced our bed with this expensive and complicated contraption, again, without any word to my wife.

    When she came home from work, I rushed through an explanation about my trip to the UAE and then launched into a kind of sales pitch for the bed, inviting her to lie on it feel how the mattress was practically like anti-gravity (it was, actually) and how the reclining position was ideal for both sleeping and watching tv (it was, though we had no tv in the bedroom). She was clearly annoyed by all the shenanigans I’d been up to, but she also was patient and let me go through my spiel. And she liked the bed, sort of, assuming I’d configured it right. But somewhere in my speech, as I looked around the bedroom, I started to realize that the bedroom wasn’t our bedroom at home. We were in our old bedroom from when we lived in Abu Dhabi. And I started to wondered how I’d gotten back overseas — again — and how I’d managed to bring my wife with me this time. Which is when I began to wonder if this wasn’t all some weird dream.

    Which, of course, is when I woke up.

 

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