28 January 2014
I came bounding home with the start of a poem in my head, but it disappears, you know? I mean, I still have the bones of it, but I feel like I wish I could just drop everything whenever that feeling comes, like a migraine, or needing to pee really badly. These are all of the same feelings, really. They come from the same insane sense of urgency and physical wrenching. Why can’t I be allowed to place the world on pause, like how you pause your friend’s story while you run to the bathroom. Granted, my friends aren’t always happy when that impulse emerges. But you know — when you gotta write, you gotta write.
I really have to start carrying the smallest notebook in the world with me everywhere. Then, at least I could write a line to jog my memory later.
But then that goes back to my famous lightning story: how, early on in college, I woke up in the middle of the night from an immense dream, and — determined to remember it — fell back asleep repeating the mantra lightning, lightning, lightning. I was convinced that when I woke up in the morning, I would remember it exactly. Obviously, what did I end up remembering? Just this lesson: the mantra doesn’t always recall the experience. Especially not in dream states.
Writing about this to you also makes me wonder how many of my so-called “famous stories” I’ve told you. I’m terrible for remembering whether I’ve told people stories before, so I either tell them all repeatedly (there is your repetition again for you), or I stick to recounting current experiences and inspirations. The story I’m wondering about now, though, is another dream sequence. I’m sure I’ve told it to you, but I’ll tell you again, and I’ll try to tell it differently.
Sophomore year of college, to set the scene. It was the night before my final term paper on Heidegger, which I hadn’t started. It was supposed to be 10-15 pages, and I slogged through them for most of the night, but at 7am, I was stuck on the conclusion (essay was due at 10am). I just couldn’t crack it. By 7:20, I was about to pull my hair out, and I told my friend Amanda (who had been studying with me through the night) that I had to lie down and just sleep for a second. Could she wake me up in 20 minutes? Of course, she said. I wish she had just let me sleep. When my eyes closed, I was in a clearing in the middle of a forest. Almost immediate transformation — eyes closed, and — zap — straight to this place, this quite place, this peaceful clear. Out of the sky, I was handed a thin book, which was a copy of my finished Heidegger essay. Knowing how crucial this luck was, my dream self flipped to the end of the book, and read the final conclusion (which I pretty much ended up using in my real-life essay, almost word for word). There was more to the dream. There was a conversation, and some imparted knowledge. I’m pretty sure the wind asked me if I wanted to know the secrets of the universe, and I’m sure I said yes, but then — lightning — can’t remember anymore, at least not in my conscious mind. The end of the dream, though, was one line that has repeated in my head throughout the years: it is true that the truth is closer to silence. Amanda, the dutiful one, woke me up at ten to 8.
It’s time to throw myself into bed, but I’ll try to sketch some notes down along the way.
I miss you. I hope everything is well. I loved your most recent letter too. It’s constant, this thread, but sometimes life gets busy, and then it’s nice to feel the change in the air again when we head back to each other. Like Mary Poppins, who always transformed when the wind changed.