If you’re one of those people who hates the whiny-self-absorbedness of bloggers, you can probably skip right over any entry that begins “I had this dream last night…”
(Actually, if you’re one of those people, you probably shouldn’t be here at Hypergraffiti, because this is as whiny and self-absorbed as we get here in the blogsophere).
Anyway. I had this dream last night where I got invited to read at a major writers’ festival. It was held in some warm, beautiful place, like possibly Hawaii. Sounding like a pretty good dream, right? Think again.
I seem to have had a surprisingly laid-back attitude towards reading at this large, well-attended festival, because I don’t remember thinking about what I was going to read until I was actually at the event, about to go onstage. I looked down at the copy of my own book, The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson, which had been handed me. The book didn’t look quite like itself. The cover was almost the same, and the title was there, but my name was missing and the book was much thicker than usual. I started to leaf through it and … it wasn’t my book. It was like an anthology — kind of a bad anthology, actually — all little snippets of writing by other people. There were also ads on the pages. I thumbed frantically through the book, looking for my novel buried in the midst of all the verbiage.
It wasn’t there. Nowhere in this entire thick book was a word I had written. I sat in frozen horror, about to go on and read, realizing that somehow my publisher had issued a whole bunch of someone else’s writing inside my book covers.
But I knew my real book existed. I owned a copy! But I’d left it home. I just had to go find a first-edition copy of my very own book so I could take it up on stage and read with me.
Events occured sort of out-of-sequence, as they do in dreams, but the best I can reconstruct is that I went all over the festival, and the city where it was being held, looking for my book, and it was nowhere to be found. Not one real copy of the book I actually wrote on display anywhere, nothing in the bookstores, no-one owned a copy. A few copies of the fake book were still out there, but my real book had disappeared without a trace.
At some point I think I frantically decided I could get up there and fake it — reconstruct a passage from memory, without anything to actually read in front of me. It may have been about then that I noticed I was about to go on stage for my non-reading … barefoot. Not only had I lost my book, I’d lost my shoes too.
It’s a good thing I’m into dream interpretation as a hobby, because otherwise it would have taken me ages to figure out that this dream exactly encapsulates how I’m feeling about my writing career at the moment.
Fortunately, I woke up before I had to go onstage, barefoot and bookless.