I had my first ever writer’s anxiety dream last night. I was set to speak at what I thought was a librarian’s house, although her house turned out to be this old abandoned warehouse plus old falling-down house, the kind of scene you might expect Hostel II or Saw V to be filmed at. The kind of place that, in most dreams, I’d be invited to “speak” for a crowd, then slowly dismembered while the audience cheered. But that’s not what happened. This is way more mundane than that.
When people started showing up, the librarian decided I was “under-dressed” even though I protested that most of the ladies who showed up were wearing jeans skirts, just like me.Â But she insisted andÂ went to her personal closet, where she brought out an absolutely ancient dress which was probably nice at one time, way back in the 1920s when she first wore it, because, yes, it was a twenties-style swinger’s dress. And she gave me these old ratty blue shoes that I couldn’tÂ walk around inÂ (they were 3 sizes too big). So I slipped and slid everywhere I went and I kept slipping and sliding into these people who were here to hear me speak, and I kept leaving bruises, and people kept getting mad at me.
Of course, the warehouse absolutely filled up, with probably a thousand people in it, although I couldn’t see anything because it was dark and spooky and the bright lights shone right down on me but not on anybody else. It took them forever to get the microphones set up (there were about forty of them, small ones, tangled together in a bunch and hanging from the ceiling.) Then the microphones didn’t work and everything I said echoed back to me about forty times, so nobody could understand what I said, including me. In fact, with all the echoes, I got confused and kept repeating myself. Plus, there was a huge pile of stuff between me and half the audience. I could pull the microphones with me and go to one side but then I didn’t see the half that normally saw me. So that sucked. As I was trying to figure this out, the place where I was standing suddenly became really steep and I slid to the bottom of this enormous hill. Still talking into the microphone, I tried to walk up this hill again, slipping and slidding in those huge-ass shoes. Finally, I realized that the only way I was going to get up that hill was to start climbing up the bleachers, which at least had stairs. So I started climbing up and over my complaining audience, who weren’t that thrilled with my speech to begin with, which I obviously hadn’t prepared since I kept repeating the same thing over and over again, which was, and I quote exactly here, “The reason I wrote this book was…” Every time I repeated the phrase, I realized I should have prepared a speech and if I’d known there was going to be a thousand people in the audience, maybe I would have.
Â Oh, when I finally said something other than “The reason I wrote this book was…,” I made a terrible joke that nobody got, which is the way it is in dreams. I have often had dreams where I told hilarious jokes that I just knew would make me a ton of money when I woke up if I could remember it and write it down but when I write it down the next morning, I realize that not only is it not funny, it doesn’t even make sense. In this case, my “joke”Â made sense but nobody laughed, even in the dream.Â When the librarian who had invited me gave me a glass of water, I said, “At least this isn’t Las Cruces. There, the librarian gave me a glass of water that somebody had been spitting in! Outrageous, huh? I was afraid to tell her so I just drank it.” There was dead silence and I realized a) I was in Las Cruces and b) the librarian I had just told the joke about was sitting in the front row and c)maybe the joke was on me anyway.
Â Hey, at least there was a crowd there to see me in this dream, huh? First time ever a thousand people show up anywhere just for me!