Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A headhunter forwarded me a job opportunity working for a major hotel. It would be some business executive type job, not my thing, but tempting, maybe for that reason. The lengthy description included details about a project that had been very difficult for their team to achieve, calling it a “terse, bittersweet success.” Evidently the new hire was expected to improve on that. Also there were weird perks, like “a blonde personal secretary.” Then I was watching as a female colleague at my current job took a position there. She too would be doing very different work.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

We were trying to play a Dylan tune, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” I think, at C.W.’s instruction. I asked him whether a change at the end was really F sharp minor to D major seventh. We were driving somewhere in little cars, remote control cars that we both rode in and controlled from afar. I kept bumping into the car ahead of me. We had a gig somewhere, an outdoor space, like a festival. It was weird, we had a lot of technical problems, starting and stalling.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

My job involved driving back and forth from two locations, offices in nondescript industrial parks. I had to be at one by 10 am. In the real world the room was cold and the wind howled outside the window, and this penetrated the dream, or interfered in it a bit. Several of my teeth crumbled in my mouth like rock candy. I spat the shards into my hand and hoped I could bring them to the dentist.

Monday, October 02, 2017

C.W. was living in Manhattan and hosting regular parties. Peter Tosh was there, sitting on the couch. He had no dreadlocks. “Downpresser Man” played on the stereo and it sounded ghostly and beautiful, some kind of dub version. I was proud that he was there. We were low on beer, so I asked C. for some money. We both ended up going downstairs to look for a liquor store.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The rebels’ manifesto needed updating. The entire section on human rights. But that would have to wait. They were conducting raids. Another water hoarder’s land had been forcibly reclaimed. He was shot as he stood on his second floor deck. He knew what was coming so he took a long drink of whisky from a bottle. He wanted that to be the last taste in his mouth I guess. Two shooters got him, first in the chest and then the head, and he tumbled down over the railing and fell to the grass below. Now we all invaded his lair, made ourselves at home. Took all his water, of course.

An ad in the campus paper claimed that Led Zeppelin was playing a run at a local bar. Each performance would feature another entire album. I told G. E. I wanted to go so bad, I said, I’d even go to In Through the Out Door night. I wanted to do it all. Meet Jimmy Page, give him a hug. But first we had to make sure it wasn’t a joke.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

In last night’s work dream there were two jobs that had languished and now needed to get done.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The jet lag dreams seemed to arrive intertwined, or one within another. I overslept and realized I had to contact people at work. I decided to call in sick—in fact I was sick, I thought, with some kind of cough and fever. It was 11:10—pretty late for this, but still morning at least. I reached my boss by instant message. All the while I was working on a complicated project. It wasn't much like my actual job—maybe more like my old one. I thought about writing, about how easy it is. Just pick a time period, a circumstance. An ordinary, put-upon man in 19th-century France. He marries a woman and finds he cannot satisfy her. He becomes obsessed. What's wrong with her? What's wrong with him? This is writing. I heard French chanson and someone asked, “Who is this?” and I said Jacques Brel, and then I realized it couldn't be him—“Jacques Brel has quite a strong accent,” and this singer did not. “It must be Charles Aznavour,” I concluded. In the meantime Brel was doing an acrobatic act as part of his show. Swinging with a woman on trapezes that led higher and higher. I considered how scary and dangerous this was and imagined I was him. I'd quit right away, abandon whatever was left of the engagement. But what excuse would I give to save face? “I'm bored,” I'd tell them all. We were living in a big house, me and Sara and my siblings, maybe some others. My brother was staying in a room at the end of the kitchen. He'd left a pan on the stove with butter burning. I turned it off, thinking he'd gone to sleep and forgotten. He emerged, explaining that he was thinking of staying awake until some ungodly hour, like five o'clock, when he was to visit a morgue as required by a study program he was in. He dreaded it. He described the corpses he'd have to see, “their flesh torn by polyester strings,” and I knew exactly what he was talking about, and told him so. In the other corner of the kitchen I was cooking something with rice, brownies, and candied almonds. My sister Weezie came in and peered at it curiously. Later my brother again had something on the stove, and again I turned it off, and again he came out of his room. “I'm sorry,” I said, “I really thought you were asleep.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

Frank Zappa owned a record store. Its particularity was that it sold only music that he liked. Avant-garde composers, doo-wop, R&B. Also classic rock—but only what he liked.

I wanted to ask him a question. I tried to get his attention but he turned to another customer, holding up a long, crooked finger to scold me. It was unnaturally long, like a cartoon wizard’s. His demeanor was perfectly aligned with what I'd always heard about him—arrogant, intolerant, demanding.

Finally he turned to me.

“Do you have any Rolling Stones?” I asked. I was apprehensive, afraid he'd scoff, but more so curious. Did Frank Zappa like the Rolling Stones?

“I have The Last Time,” he replied with a slight grimace. In the dream this was an early Stones album, though it's really just an early tune.

I detected his ambivalence. “Yeah, I don't like the early albums as much.” I said. “They didn't really get great until Between the Buttons. Or Aftermath.”

I thought he nodded slightly.

“Or Beggar’s Banquet!” I said excitedly, eager for him to agree. “The early albums are too, you know—jangly.” I grasped for the right words as I searched his face for affirmation. Surely this was a musical characteristic that Frank Zappa would scorn. “They're too strummy.

Again, he seemed to agree. But maybe not. He didn't reveal much.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Very vivid dream in which I was married to a black woman and we ran an etiquette consulting company together. This somehow evolved into me working on a novel called “Etiquette.” In the dream the story was profound. I kept telling myself to remember it when I woke up, so I could write it in real life. The theme seemed both timely and eternal. Etiquette.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Somehow I was contemplating a career as a racecar driver. I was my real age or close to it—too old—but I thought that if I could borrow some money from my dad I might make a go of it. I had to get into shape, I realized. That would be tough. But not impossible. I’d eat right, train. I’d also have to get out on the track. I’d have to learn how to go flat out everywhere you were supposed to go flat out. Like on the Mulsanne Straight. I’d have to be brave. But I thought there was no reason I couldn’t do it.

We were in a building where Jackie was going to summer camp, probably a big school, with a gym. There was a sign advertising one of the activities: The Circus of the Hope and the Hix and the Dry Flour. “Oh, that kind of flour,” I thought to myself. In the dream I must have thought I’d heard it before and assumed “flower.” Some time after I woke up it occurred to me that Hope Hicks is an actual person, a Trump aide—his PR person, in fact.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Strange dream in which S. and I got to know Ivanka Trump. She was nicer than we expected. It struck me that she was just like everyone else, really.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I came upon a journal that my grandfather had written about my grandmother’s mental problems. In real life she’d been an alcoholic and a depressive, but in the dream it was something more debilitating. He described her as having the faculties of a child. He wrote in the kind of old-fashioned cursive you’d find on a banquet menu. As I read a few pages it occurred to me for the first time that he was ashamed of her.

Then I was in some kind of class where we were to take turns performing an anecdote or a stand-up routine. I hadn’t prepared enough. I had written down a few ideas but I wasn’t sure how to elaborate on them. One was “that time I saw a piece of construction equipment explode in front of me.” One of those “tank-like things with a plow.”

Friday, May 12, 2017

We took a trip from somewhere in the Gulf States to Syria to Paris. We realized we couldn’t take Syrian Airways because “Bashar Al-Assad runs the country.” Sara was wearing a headdress and her face was painted light blue.

Later I took a psychedelic drug, and as has happened in other dreams I felt it coming on very, very strong. I was tripping like crazy.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

There was some kind of work event, every employee gathered in a sort of meeting house that was open along the side. I approached from the lawn outside, feeling alone and outcast. A basketball was bouncing around among the crowd, like a beach ball at a concert. It came my way. I bounced it off my fist and it flew into a trophy shelf on the opposite wall. The trophies—the agency's awards I guess— were all made of glass or crystal, and they shattered and fell to the floor. I cringed and clutched my head, trying to show remorse. Work turned into school. I was working on a project with M. B. Some kind of art project.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I was sitting with a group of people and Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin’s manager. There was a ping-pong table nearby and someone asked him if he wanted to play. He was a bit coy but sounded game. I asked him, “Who was the best ping-pong player in Led Zeppelin?” He answered straight away but it was unintelligible. I asked him again. I couldn’t understand him again, but pretended that I did.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

M. R. and I got on an elevator going down and he gave me a chewable narcotic that he promised was strong. I popped it into my mouth and before the doors opened again I was high as hell, and told him so. I could feel the drug pulsing through my veins and the euphoria flooding my brain. He just nodded, like, see what I mean? We sat with a group of friends in the waiting room of some institution, maybe a hospital. A cop-like figure was asking us pointed questions, like what’s that in your mouth? We managed to evade him but I don’t know where we went from there.

I was at a restaurant with my dad at the top of a medieval tower by the sea.

I tried out for a job as the caretaker of a big sailing ship that ferried tourists around some islands.

I was watching TV with S. and a woman singer was fronting a band of heavyset, bald guys who looked exactly alike. “I wonder if they’re brothers,” I said. It was some kind of protest event, maybe anti-Trump.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Disturbing high school dream. I had the sense I was surrounded by more diligent, optimistic, and popular kids, and that I would end up scorned, forced to desperately justify my presence.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Eagles had the ball in the red zone. In fact, the entire field consisted of just the red zone. It was their last chance, and they could win with a touchdown. There was a reception on first down for five yards or so. I was watching from the sidelines for some reason. The crowd, just a few people, were gathered around the perimeter like it was a kids’ soccer game. I watched with disgust as two straight incompletions made it fourth down. Why hadn’t we run at least once? I felt like I’d seen this before, or that the outcome was preordained. I watched with dread and disgust as the last play unfolded. The quarterback stepped tentatively between the pass rush and threw the ball down the middle. It landed pitifully, nowhere near a receiver. I noticed that the quarterback was Matthew McConaughey.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I was riding in a car with three other people, not clear who they were. I was wearing a suit and tie for some reason. I felt self-conscious, being the only one dressed up. We drove into San Diego. I realized we’d just recently driven into LA. The highway became a dirt road, like a dirt path through a massive construction project. “It’s always so weird coming into these southern Californian cities,” I remarked. “Always so dreary.” We passed the football stadium and realized that it being Sunday, the team was playing at that exact time. In the dream they were the Rangers.

I had just entered high school. It was a good school, well-regarded, but authoritarian. We all had to get used to being yelled at by teachers, their strict demands. There was a bass player in the school who was a prodigy. Kids gathered in the hallway to watch him through the window of a band rehearsal room. He was warming up with ridiculous thumb-popping riffs. Then he and a band played some heavy metal tune. It segued into a Michael Jackson song.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Knicks were in a playoff game, and winning it, thanks to a short white guy who had become an unlikely standout. I was watching the game on TV at some bar. Then the dream was about the player: he belonged to some Christian sect, like Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witnesses or something. It required him to live an austere life and to be completely honest at all times. His wife had mixed feelings about this, and it was unclear whether they were together anymore.

Bob Dylan was playing guitar on a street corner. He sang a blues. It was a you-done-me wrong kind of blues, sung to a woman. I can’t remember the first two lines, but the third was: “You better get up in your spaceship and go.”

Chris Hayes was my new supervisor at work, or teacher at school. He pointed out some distinction between Trump and John F. Kennedy. “That’s not the only difference,” I said, and he laughed, and I was pleased that I’d made such a witty remark.

The UConn Huskies women’s team was about to play Syracuse. In my dream that was the last team to beat them, which isn’t actually true. There was some fanfare before the game, because the Huskies are who they are and because Syracuse are their rivals. Various assistant coaches were recognized and stood up to acknowledge the crowd. The coaches were invited to take the remaining few minutes before the game for final preparations. Jim Calhoun was there for some reason. He huddled with the other Husky coaches and began diagramming furiously; who covers who, where they go, and so on. The scene took place in what looked like a university lecture hall, not a sports arena. I spoke from across a few rows to J.L. about how much we hate the Oscars, and he introduced me to a Dutch person who felt the same way.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

I dreamt I was Jerry Garcia, playing a gig from the middle of the street. He—I—was alone there, with the guitar but not the rest of the band. It came time to play a solo and the way to do it was to scribble quickly on the surface of the guitar with a pen. I made nonsense symbols and doodles, frantically, hoping it sounded good.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Unpleasant recurrence of the high school dream where it’s the end of the year and I haven’t attended any classes. I was late—it was past 10—and I asked my dad to drive me. I felt scared and ashamed that I had become so irresponsible. Only recently, I’d been getting to school at nine-thirty—late, but not horribly late. I remembered that at the beginning of the year, when I, along with all the others, was innocent, I’d arrive in plenty of time to fuck around in the hallways before the first bell rang. Now I was scrambling just to show my face in at least one class each day. I had only a dim recollection of the ones I was skipping. English literature, with that daunting syllabus of unread books?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

We were at a house party that seemed to last for days. There were excursions out, maybe to buy supplies. A massive snowstorm had struck the city. Trains were delayed, cars were stuck. The house became one familiar from my childhood, maybe the one we stayed in during summers in Woodstock. I saw the stairs that went from the second to the third floor, where there were two kids’ bedrooms for us. One for me and my sister and one for visiting cousins.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Eric Clapton was going to join the Duke basketball team, despite his age. As my brother and I were discussing this, I declared, “By the way, I know this is controversial, but: Clapton is terrible!” I was surprised and pleased that my brother agreed. “Terrible!” he said. “Except for a couple of albums which were brilliant,” I added. “But since then: terrible!

Friday, February 10, 2017

I was in a weird city, taking a bus twice through a touristy district. I think I was staying at my stepmother’s. I was waiting for my brother and his family to arrive. I had some time on my hands and thought I should see a movie. Near the theater I downloaded an app to my phone that turned out to be some kind of horrible virus. It looked like an old video game that was impossible to escape. I desperately tried to turn it off and return to the home screen. There were all these other buttons on my phone, including one called a “battery reset.” Someone suggested I try that, but it didn’t work either. I knew that when I got home, at least, I could reset the phone.

Later I watched a play in which a character defecated on stage.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The band had a gig at some ski resort. Family were there too—Lis, her kids. K.C. was there. We were staying in a place that was owned by George Harrison. C.D. asked me if I wanted to go skiing the following morning. It seemed like a cold and unpleasant prospect, but he said George would be there. “Well, I’m not going to pass up the opportunity to meet George Harrison,” I said. I imagined myself shaking his hand and saying it was an honor to meet him, and his response: modest, polite, but maybe a slight bit annoyed that I hadn’t treated him like an ordinary person.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Pierre sent me an instant message with a link to a tribute video to Michael Schumacher. In the dream it was “Stephen Schumacher,” and he had died, not sunk into whatever limbo he's really in. It was typical of these kinds of videos on YouTube, highlights of his career set to a Europop soundtrack.

Later, watching football. A receiver had just scored a touchdown. The defensive back mouthed the word “motherfucker” to him. Evidently he was insulted by the fact that his opponent had walked the last step into the end zone.