Monday, December 16, 2019

I was a college student, hanging around the dorm, reading a coffee table book. Someone took it and brought it over to another room and I had to go find them to get it back. In it I had been reading a story about the music scene in San Francisco in the ‘70s, and how Robert Hunter had done something wrong to a woman back then, and had not been held to account.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

S. found a house on sale in Rockland County and we decided to move there. Turns out it was on a vast lake with rocky islands in view. It had been owned by a famous man of letters. In the dream I saw his coterie lazing on the lawn, watching the water. It was a scene from another time, like the 1920s. Then I was in the water, though it was cold. I retrieved a piece of trash, a drink can in a plastic bag, and returned it to shore. The woman of the house accepted it from me graciously. Jackie was in the water with me too.

Monday, December 02, 2019

The band got involved in flying. It started when J. T. began playing a flight simulator video game I guess, and everyone else did too. But then again C. D. did pilot small planes for a long time, didn’t he? Got his license pretty early and flew when he could. But then he got a gig flying commercial jets, first in short trips and then in longer and longer ones. I knew I wasn’t going to be a part of it. And now C. D. would be gone for three to six months flying around the world. He took all this cash he’d saved up out of a book where he kept it and was gone. Could the rest of the band play some gigs during that time, I wondered? I hoped so. There was nothing else to do.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

I was roped in to buying a used van for the band. I drove it down our muddy, rutted driveway. There was just one spot available at the end, up a little incline. I stopped there but then saw a giant puddle had formed behind me. I thought I’d better back the van out through it to be safe. It grew deeper as the van rolled in. I fell out of the driver side somehow, into the cold, dirty water. I swam through it, hoping I would make it to the other side.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

We were hanging out every day at the same run-down bar, populated by riffraff and ne’er-do-wells. I considered the difference between a dive bar and a regular bar—you got watery ice in your drink at a dive bar, and less booze, for example, and the floors and walls were dusty and grimy—and this was definitely the former. I don’t know why we kept coming back, but it was our default location. I had a sense we were getting dragged down by the place and its people.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

I was recalling that night in North Franklin when J. T. and I drank a jug of wine. How it could be that I felt fine the day after, but I really felt fine.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

We were hosting a party. It was our home but it didn’t resemble our real home.. I was in a hurry pouring margaritas into little glasses before the guests arrived. When they did some were people I recognized, others not. J. L. commented on the large quantity of mites and mite dust. There were two people with guns I didn’t know. I sensed that they had some kind of extremist political views. They went out on the balcony to smoke. It reassured me to see them sitting out there, facing away, not an immediate threat to anyone.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

I was at a meeting for my old job in the client’s building. I went to another floor looking for a bathroom. I found one and it was unisex. I got back to the meeting. The client was some kind of foods company. They gave us sample packages of their sauce mixes and weird instant products. It felt like we were going to get the business and it felt good.

Monday, September 30, 2019

I was at a house party that lasted days. At one point Madonna arrived. She walked in with a bit of a smile saying, “Yeah, I’m Madonna.” She wore her hair short and dark. I was at a soccer stadium, watching a World Cup final between Holland and France. Holland went up 2-0 and then France scored on a weird, close-range shot that dribbled past the keeper. I woke up very late in my dream, thinking it was past noon, relieved it was only 11:25, but still dazed and a little bit ashamed.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

I was a freshman at Yale, arriving on campus, figuring out where my room was. Everyone gearing up for the start, forming their cliques, deciding where and when to get wasted. My roommate was an elusive, shadowy figure. I wasn’t sure when we’d meet. There was an orientation desk in the dorm and the woman asked me for my phone number. I had trouble remembering it, but I gave her my actual current phone number. I told her to dial it just to be sure. My phone in my bag buzzed when she did and I said, “That’s it!”

Thursday, September 12, 2019

There was a long way to go to the gig. We stopped along the way at someone’s parents’ house. Not a band member’s parents. It was Sara’s cousin’s parents, except the father had divorced the mother and now lived with a younger woman who greeted us and invited us in. We’d be spending the night and making ourselves at home, but really tiptoeing around self-consciously, trying not to inconvenience or intrude. It was a beautiful, modern home set in the woods. Jackie was there, but was a younger version of herself, rolling around in the shag carpeting of the living room.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

I went back home to Storrs and learned that a mass shooting had taken place there, nine dead. The culprit was an old school friend who always did seem unhinged. I howled in horror. But I was not surprised.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

I was driving on a highway, trying to get home, trying not to fall asleep. I wondered if I was running out of gas, but couldn’t focus on the dashboard. It was hard to stay in my lane. As I swerved over the line I checked the rearview mirror but it was facing the wrong way. My turn signal was on for no reason.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

I was working somewhere and someone else showed up, a temp. someone who was threatening my job. Or was he me? I decided to write a play about it. I set out to write the cast of characters first but pen was leaking on the page.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

I went back in time, living in a dorm room. Some semi-famous musicians came to jam in the room, which then became an arena, or a large performing space anyway. Tight 70s rockers, like David Lindley. The bass player took a drum solo, wandering around a maze of giant drums. The guitar player talked to us after about cars, about rebuilding muscle cars. He wanted to stay in touch, to play with us sometime. It was me, J.T., some vague others.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Waiting in line to get into some general admission event, maybe a tennis match. Gazing at the people at the front, waiting to be rewarded for their enthusiasm and tenacity. Some were sitting in folding chairs like they’d been there for hours, or maybe since last night. Someone just ahead of us let one in our group skip over them and I said thanks, it’s very nice of you.

I was in a Formula 1 car for a moment, going through a familiar spot from some famous track. Under a bridge and to the left.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

I was with a group of friends and relatives, my wife, my sister, others. Suddenly I felt compelled to rise and tell a joke, which I delivered in the manner of Johnny Carson: “I hear President Trump is planning to attack Iran this October,” I began. “I’m told members of the military will be wearing pink—in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

They all peered at me in stony silence. I muttered curses at myself as I sat back down, for having misjudged the crowd, misjudged the joke, for having failed.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

A group of us had gotten together and we were eating, drinking. I grew bored and drew a picture of an airplane, copied from somewhere else, the back of a little brochure maybe. Three-quarter view from the rear, climbing slightly. It became a picture of a horse.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Many people lived with me in one of the old band houses. College kids. There was some concern that bills would not get paid and things would get turned off. I had to explain to them all one morning, as I lay in bed, that the band had taken care of these things before and I’d make sure they would still. There was so many tenants now, though, I thought—maybe everyone could contribute a couple of dollars a month?

Monday, June 10, 2019

I had befriended a cabbie of Middle Eastern origin who was now bedridden, and from time to time I’d visit him in his apartment in midtown Manhattan. On this occasion he told me a parable, or a joke, or whatever you want to call it, about a spiritual seeker who decides he’s transcended whatever there is to learn in his holy book, so he burns it. “But he should have just put it up on a shelf,” the cabbie said. “What’s wrong with burning it?” he asked. I answered, and he spoke the words with me: You can’t unburn it. I hugged him and wished him well. Now I had to figure out how to get home, and I was in London, not New York City, and home was Paris.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

At a bar with P. C. In reply to something he said, I remarked that I was just another white guy in a blue shirt. There were these other guys at our table and I said, “I guess we’re all just white guys in blue shirts,” and one of them called me an idiot because his shirt was more of a green-blue. P. C. added up the tab, which was a very complex sort of ledger, with rows indicating numbers of each drink ordered. He did the math quickly, and in the dream it occurred to me that he used to struggle with math. “Yeah, that was because of the plague,” he said. “The bubonic plague. But I’m better now.” The guys at our table were bearded hipsters, and they were ironically eating classic Drake’s Cakes—Funny Bones, I think. They lived in the renovated top floor of a nearby building, the rest of which was gutted, with empty windows. We could see it right across the street from the bar. P. C. got right near me and I thought I’d make a joke: “I’m afraid you can hear the voices inside my head,” I said, then covered my mouth coyly, like I was really shy about what those voices might be saying. The table erupted in laughter.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

I was at a pub in England somewhere with my dad and a few others. Three guys who had been friends of my older sister and I had just recently met. One of them lit up a bowl and passed it to my dad, who smoked it a little self-consciously, as it was his first time, but without much hesitation. He held it out over me for the person to my right and I intercepted it, a little annoyed. I drew deeply and exhaled. The smoke didn’t taste like normal pot smoke, and I remarked so to someone, who agreed. It was time to get more pints, at least as many as I could carry. When I returned to the table Julia Child was there. In the dream she had known my parents a bit, so it was normal for her to say hello, but I was quite proud that there she was, sitting with us. I tried to explain to her how we knew these other people, what their connection was to my sister, long story short, etc.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

We were watching practice for a Grand Prix in Macau. Various local drivers were in the mix just for that session. One of them turned around, drove the wrong way and forced another car off the track. The other driver was ejected as his car crashed and tumbled. A spectator went to see and found the driver moving, alive. It was Lewis Hamilton. In the pits everyone was shaming the errant driver. Someone grabbed him and delivered him to the Mercedes pit to get yelled at.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

I went to a bar alone and ordered a beer. People there were dressed funny, in suits, but not formal ones, whimsical ones. I lost my phone. Actually it was replaced by a different phone, an old flip phone. I stood up and addressed the entire room: “Please check your phones. Make sure it’s your phone. I lost my phone and I might have yours.” I realized the old phone was in fact one of my old phones, with my call history on it. Eventually I did find my phone again, on the floor somewhere.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A dissident free-thinker from some dark Middle Eastern place and his wife were about to have a child. They entered a kind of medical complex run by their native country, though it was in the U.S. She was allowed to give birth but they were separated and he was detained in more and more horrible circumstances. He knew he was to move to a floor where he’d be tortured and kept indefinitely. There were different areas of the facility—a floor for the privileged and a floor for those like him. Now this all was a documentary I was watching on TV. When the man was moved to the torture floor I wanted to stop watching. I had a powerful sense that all civilization was reverting to barbarism.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Donald Fagen was at the center of some kind of intrigue. I’d been invited to play on his new album. This involved traveling to his house, where all the musicians were congregating.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

We were on vacation in Mexico, floating on inflatable toys in the shallow surf. It was very crowded with mainly young people, maybe on spring break. There was a bar in the water and I was drinking a beer. I worried about the sun, about whether I’d put on enough sunscreen. I examined my arm, which had a blotchy tan but revealed a burn when I pressed it with my finger.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

J. K. had met Miles Davis by chance and had recorded their conversation, and somehow I was able to step into it, to be present in it. Miles was sitting on the floor, leaning back against the railing, of a little elevated place, like a terrace, to the side of a wide hallway of what seemed like a high school or office building. At first I was only witnessing this, like a ghost, but then I became a participant and was able to talk to Miles. There was another young man there asking questions. Miles was unusually chatty—even “affable,” I said to J., a word you don’t associate with him. At one point he stepped away to go to the bathroom and as he moved through the crowd in the hallway I examined the faces of the people coming the other way. I expected them to be amazed at who was in their midst but none were. I made a remark to the others that this goes to show how ignorant people are. When Miles got back he was telling a story about a boy and a girl and something the boy did that impressed the girl and I said, “That kid’s gonna get some tonight.” I was hoping to get a laugh out of Miles, and also afraid he’d just think I was stupid. His reaction was a little cold, suggesting he disapproved of the innuendo or maybe just disapproved of it coming from me. Classic Miles. After a while we all got up and moved on. We came to the apartment door of our friends the B’s. Surely they’d like to have a drink with Miles Davis. I knocked on the door but C. B. answered it bleary-eyed, like they all were sleeping. Then we went to a music studio with instruments lying around. Miles picked up a fretless bass and played it a little, absentmindedly. There were people asleep next door so we had to be kind of quiet. I really wanted to start a jam with Miles so I made a beat by clapping and slapping my leg. It was simple but steady and I hoped it would earn his approval. For a long time he did nothing. There was a little microphone on a stand between us, raised just two or three feet off the ground. Finally he brought something small in his hand close to the mic. It made a percussive sound. It was a pair of tweezers that he was opening and closing to the beat. At some point J. K. admitted to me that this entire scene didn’t really happen like this in real life. It had been a briefer encounter. This was his fictionalization of it.

Monday, May 06, 2019

We were in LA at a park. A great Cuban band was playing right on the lawn. When they took a set break I wanted to tell P. C. or J. L., “What if I went up to the leader and said, ‘You guys are really terrible’”? I thought this was the funniest thing in the world.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

I was on a high floor in a hotel, looking out to the sea below. Big drops of rain were falling, making ripples on the surface.

Monday, April 08, 2019

I came to work and saw that the wall was already filled with work for me to do. I went to my desk but fell down for some reason. I thought it might be comical to stay there, on my back, and tell my neighbor—actually someone from my previous job—I was taking a nap and could he bring me a blanket and a glass of water. He played along and soon returned with them. Then I got up to begin the day.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

We drove up a winding road that unexpectedly became snowy. We were going a bit fast but I felt like I was in control. The road got narrower and eventually we could see we wouldn’t pass. It became a footpath leading into woods. We stood outside the car and contemplated it.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

The last words someone shouted in my dream, the moment before the alarm went off: “Bring out your dead.”

A complicated trial was going on. I had been the victim of some chicanery in a foreign country. My dad was managing the process. I left work to meet with him, but I was anxious to get back in time for a meeting at 3.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Was listening to a demo cassette of someone’s songs with J. T. The first one was incredibly beautiful. Like Nick’s songs, but someone else.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

I was called upon to speak to a children’s class, about their school, about their learning. I didn’t know what the hell I was going to say but then it happened and it was fine and after I completely forgot what I had said and I tried to remember.

Monday, March 25, 2019

We are going somewhere in a car. We stopped and looked at the sky. Something weird was happening with the stars. Some were circulating a big transparent moon, moving like birds.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

A game of pool in a bar. I was playing against a good player, but strange. He and his friend insisted on arranging extraneous objects on the felt: shells, pebbles. Little obstacles. He used the 9 ball to hit instead of the cue ball.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

On a vacation in a European country, the three of us split off from some larger group we were with, maybe extended family. We were looking for a go-kart track. Our cabbie couldn’t quite get us there, infuriatingly, but he described to us how to go the rest of the way on foot.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

There were jazz pickup bands playing everywhere, along a promenade. Someone onstage—not a musician—had two faces, one on either side of her head. She turned to show them both, and both were smiling.

I was watching an Eagles game. There was a tremendous first down on the final drive, the receiver running after the catch and stretching for an extra yard when he was tackled. But they lost.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

We were at Lime Rock for races, with M. P. We found a place to park and then got beers from a stand up on the hill where I used to go when I was a kid. The track was near the ocean now. A giant tidal wave came in and swept me off my feet. After it receded I asked the bartender what she had and she pointed to a single tap of IPA. “I’ll have that then.” S. came over and decided it was best we buy a pitcher.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

My older sister bought a guitar and strung it up weird. I was trying to fix it.

I had befriended the sixth man on the New York Knicks. I was walking with him from practice to the locker room. I don’t know if I was a reporter or what.

Monday, February 11, 2019

My colleague was trying to reach me in the middle of the night, telling me there was work to do. I replied with some difficulty, the email breaking up as I wrote it. I was practicing guitar in bed. My parents each came in and told me to stop, that I had to sleep.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

The band was recording in a house somewhere—not the band house. I forgot my guitar of course. We worked on a song of mine. I wanted it to have a loungey feel. C. W. hummed a bit of “The Girl From Ipanema” and I said yeah, that’s it. As I was demonstrating the song I had the disconcerting feeling that I was making it up as I went.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

My workplace was a chatbot development shop. We hired someone new and sure enough, I’d worked with him somewhere before. It was the type of thing where we barely recognized each other, but we did. We were in a large and sinister building, with several levels deep below ground that we didn’t have access to. Who knows what went on down there. One of my colleagues was talking about a new book by Wally Lamb in which the protagonist is a writer who tricks the entire community of writers’ agents somehow. I was testing one of the bots I had coded and the word “almost” was synonymous with the word “home.”

Thursday, January 31, 2019

I stopped at a rest stop along the highway. Two men in line for food inside appeared to be prisoners. They were saying something like, “That one’s for me, that other one’s for you.” I realized they were talking about women at a whorehouse that had been set up out back. Later in the dream I was recalling the dream itself to certain people who had been in the dream.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

We were on vacation at a beach. I had packed extravagantly but had forgotten my sandals. There was talk of going home briefly on the first day and I was hoping we could get them. I found myself in an office in a building on a sprawling campus. I had the feeling I was in a TV show. A man was telling me that all of human knowledge and experience was located here, within a sculpture of a brain that was set onto a table. I contemplated it with awe. Suddenly another man walked into the office and I knew he was the personification of that knowledge.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

We were on our way out of a vacation home, packing and locking up. We went to a restaurant for a final meal. I got most of my dish, a mixed salad, to go. Then I spilled it as the next guests sat at our table. Some landed in a woman’s handbag and I apologized. I realized I’d forgotten some things at the house—my phone, some other things—and I told S. to wait for me. I realized it was taking me a long time.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

I was watching a documentary about the last, miserable days of the Grateful Dead. The tour beset by riots and threats. They were onstage now, with Jerry fading into the background. At one point he played from behind a wall, half backstage. He didn’t look too bad though, and bore a whimsical smile, like it all amused him after all. They played “El Paso,” which turned into an impromptu song with the refrain “Fuck Roger Goodell.” Vince led this, and at the end he turned to the band and said “fuck that guy!,” like he’d been personally wronged. I noticed J. T. was playing bass, not Phil. Come to think of it, I did remember him telling me he sat in with the Dead way back when. I made a mental note to ask him about it. Because it was remarkable when you think about it.

A book of old texts and photographs depicting rugged men of the Old West, long-haired and bearded, who belonged to some esoteric spiritual group.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

I was trying to buy a guitar, a knockoff Gibson semi-hollow body, on Amazon on my phone. I was in a classroom and the bell had rung and I was still trying to decide the color—maybe green, maybe black. I really wanted to do it before class began. The teacher was up front, annoyed that my phone was making all kinds of noises.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A gambling dream. It was a table game that looked like an elementary children’s board game, like Candyland, where you roll the dice and move your piece. I was doing very well, at first taking my turn and then betting on other peoples’ turns. Then something happened in someone’s move that was a derivative of the game and required another bet. I put down much more money than I needed to, thinking what the hell, and lost. The dealer counted the spaces in the resulting move and the piece landed squarely at the end of the game. I thought that had to mean we won. But he shook his head and said, “Not good.” He admitted he didn’t like the odds for us in that situation.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

I was taking a computer programming exam that I was completely unprepared for. Fuck it, I thought. Maybe I could guess at some of the answers. Maybe it would be multiple choice. The pencils they provided were very short. I had some difficulty writing my name clearly in the designated spot as there was a background, like a heavy watermark. A part of the test was collaborative so we broke into groups. Mine entered a room where the instructions were to "find a calendar with equal sides with another equal side." I thought I saw it, there, on the floor.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

A rich man’s estate. One space in it had a zigzagging floor that led you from indoors to outdoors without noticing at first. I was with J. T., J. L. maybe, someone else. We were playing tennis against the wall of a room, darts against the door.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

C. W. was suggesting that my guitar parts were too repetitive and that I played better when I had longer hair.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

There was a terrible scandal at UConn that made the front page of the Times. Something to do with administrators who had lied to cover up sex abuse. There was something else, too, a scheme to embezzle funds maybe. The story ran to multiple pages in multiple sections—continued on page A whatever, and so on. I struggled to figure out where it began and where it went. I thought about the basketball team, soldiering on through it all. Then I was in school, neglecting my duties. Skipping that English literature class again, the one with tons of reading that I’d never done.