In My Dreams
February 13, 2015 § 2 Comments
I’ve been sick now for almost seven weeks, two nasty viruses separated by a ruptured appendix necessitating surgery and several days in the hospital. Now depression comes, drawing from all the things that generally make me unhappy (difficulties with writing, sex, money, age) but especially this weakness, this inability to do anything to counter the narrative of disability.
Except for my dreams. They have been my safety net: complex, marvelous, not all good but rich and variegated as a shelf of world’s greatest fiction, the well-thumbed paperbacks of Bellow, Marquez, Dickens. I don’t mean I have had dreams like books by those authors—the first to come to mind—not at all really. My dreams have been decidedly realist, American and female, yet blessedly not me, even when known villains from my life make an appearance. The romances, the adventures, the conversations: none of it has the drag of my neuroses and preconceptions, my obsessive and boring attempt to tell the same story over again because I can never find the place where it bursts into magic, purifies with fire, and announces my transfiguration.
In my dreams, the magic is there, fully functioning and insouciant. It creates and sustains without effort; it has the hard brightness of a young genius giving a cocktail party in her Oxford rooms (cleaned by elderly, nameless people). She is someone from whom the veins of madness have been painstakingly removed, leaving more room for air and light.
I have been happy in my dreams and aware of it. I have opened doors in my chest for the books to come out, and they emerged arm in arm like English speaking animals, Noah’s ark elites. I have attended a Cathedral fair that was like a donor’s opening at the Metropolitan Museum, if the Metropolitan was also a consortium of linked living castles in France.
My dreams are my refuge from a same-same dirty and too-small apartment, the foul sweetness of take out food, clients’ questions about when the work will be done—the work that is not my work, that will pay bills I didn’t budget for this year, leaving the debt intact—from the stinky kitty litter, buckets of used Kleenex, rust-stained bathtub, Facebook chatter (my new book! My kid! The republicans! More snow! Three dead…) and husband’s relentless guitar practice—my dreams have a thousand pages, no copy writing errors, I can flirt and sing, and all the characters make sense.
Come inside, they whisper. There’s plenty of room. Be like Fitzroy and Mouchette—sleep eighteen hours. The real world is a heartbreak machine.
So I write this, doing my best to dream awake.