Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Finish A Story With A Dream

The other night I had a classic writer's nightmare that a book was in my house and it kept opening up and revealing all sorts of horrific things -- devil children yielding knives, ghosts, Ann Coulter. You get the idea. I'd run from room to room in the dream and couldn't get away -- the book turned into a mist and kept chasing me. Dreaming for Dumbasses 101, no doubt. I've been working on some difficult material lately, and I'm certain that it has taken a teeny-tiny psychic toll, like Three Mile Island was a teeny-tiny mistake. I keep a God's Eye by my bed to deter such dreams -- one of those little knitted ones from the seventies -- I haven't seen them in years, like pet rocks. In their purest spiritual sense, they are supposed to give one the power to see and understand things unknown. It was my mother's, and I also have her tiger's eye ring. I once had a student who knew someone who "read" jewelry. I'd love to see what she had to say about it because I can't decide whether it's powerful or harmful. No doubt, it is both. What isn't?
You never start or finish a story with a dream, I have told my students in the past. But look, I violated my own rule! And I often use the comparision of writing and dating to bring my point home with the fevor of some demented off-brand channel televangelist. When I ask my classes what kills dates, most of them say things like when the date starts telling him or her about dreams or talking about exes. The men, I have to say, are often more direct. If she's fucking hot, she can do whatever she wants, man. I had this girl who started in on her ex, her tiny little problem with cocaine, got totally wasted, and cried half the night. I was in love. I couldn't argue his point. Sometimes it doesn't matter where we start, so long as we get to the right place. If we're travelling through some rough patches, we might be so deep in our dreams that we can't tell them from reality. As John Lee Hooker says on one of his live albums, We travel late at night to bring the blues to you. And so our books open in darkness and try as we might, we cannot escape them, even protected by all the charms left to us from the dead.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"But the greatest desire of all is to be/ in the dream of another/ to feel a slight pull, like reins/ to feel a heavy pull, like chains." Yehuda Amichai
Cocktail Party
Drinking movie suggestion: Wonder Boys -- this movie is a laugh riot for all writers and it gets funnier with each passing year. Robert Downey Jr. is at his best, playing a drugged out, bisexual, literary agent.
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!
34 more days until The Sopranos! And for hard-core fans, I saw that James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) and David Chase (the series creator) are appearing on the cover of April's Vanity Fair.


The Elephant Man said...

What's wrong with Ann Coulter?

Tony Soprano said...

The dream that freaked me out the most(a recurring one)is the one with the talking dead fish. It always reminds me of how we made my old buddy "Big Pussy" sleep with the fishes. My shrink, Dr. Jennifer Melfi, says that it's a dream of magic realism, and then she goes on to talk about some South American writer, this famous dead guy who's famous for magic realism, but I forget his name.

Danny Deck said...

You're as attractive in that photo as my college sweetheart Sally ever was, Michelle.

Short bus and Special said...

You're dress reminds us of Valentime's Day! But now your our Easter Bunny!

Rev. Jack van Impe said...

Dear Michelle,
Your sentence with the words "with the fervor of some demented off-brand channel televangelist" is superlative in its satire. By the way, I attended Denby High School in Detroit.

Charles Gramlich said...

Great nightmare. I truly love my nightmares. What great imagery. And the thrill? Better than any horror movie. My wife once woke me up during a nightmare and I told her never to do that again. She never quite understood, but at least she listened.

Paul said...


the walking man said...

Now you make feel like I am missing out on something because I never dream. Never. I know people will say I dream but don't remember them, but it's been so long since i have had a sleeping or even a waking dream that I have absolutely no recollection of them.

I do remember you saying that "never start or end a story with a dream" I think at the time you mentioned the Dallas episode where the guy was killed and came back because his death and the whole next years worth of story was his wifes dream.

But I know I am fortunate that my old lady dreams because I am always in them and when she remembers them I am always the one being normal. The only time in my life that I can be accused of that particular trait.

Maybe my mind is not active enough to get to the REM sleep where they say your dream state is but to be honest with you when I sleep it is just rest for the body which I leave behind and I go floating through the ether which is rest for the soul and spirit.

I'd like to hold your mothers ring for a moment and see where it takes me.

And SHORT BUS AND SPECIAL thanks for reminding me it's Easter coming out time to dust off the old classic piece entitled Happy Fucking Easter. I think I know it well enough where I could use it as a slam piece...mostly an audience that thinks of themselves as Christian...at least I'll get my one point. And in case anyone cares i am still in the top fifteen (11) of the slam poets in the official Detroit competition so a little positive energy sent my way wouldn't hurt. Maybe you could dream I was number one. Thank you



Anonymous said...

Ah, what is wrong with Anne Coulter? Is she a mental case, a witch, a conservative? Is she also someone who needs media attention and will do anything outrageous to get it? Or is she a bigot? Where is Dr. Melfi when we need her. Or better yet, how about Tony. He would be sure to know what is wrong with Ann Coulter. And what to do about it.

Jason said...

First, of all Ann Coulter is a man. Probably a power bottom who likes to play sub while wearing a Hilary Clinton/Al Franken mask.

I wrote a dream sequence once. It was well received.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Yeah ... finish a story with a dream or kill off the main character. Then again, sometimes it's more interesting to kill off the main character at the beginning of the story and end it with a dream.

etain_lavena said...

Their is a way of cleaning cristals/rocks....but sometimes it does not work....:)
Gosh when we dream we must listen...
Interesting blog...I am here via Charles:)