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Pocket Full of Words

October 9, 2009

Woke from a dream where I was hanging in our kitchen – not our real kitchen, but our dreamkitchen in our dreamhouse. And not our “dream house,” because our real house is our dream house, but rather the house I happen to inhabit while I sleep. Follow? Anyway, we were having a small party, hosting a group of maybe six or eight friends, and while people were hanging out drinking and laughing I was empyting the dishwasher (of course). 

I get to the back of the top rack and there’s a full, unopened bottle of Green Tea. I didn’t put it there, and my wife didn’t put it there – for some inexplicable reason, one of our guests, a friend of mine from college, put it there. This is a little quirk of hers I guess, putting newly purchased jars and bottles in the dishwasher to rid them of the germs they bring home from the supermarket. And I was teasing, asking whether she would like me to put the eggs, milk and butter in there next for a quick sanitization cycle. 

Now, even in the waking world, this seems like an odd and funny notion. Even in the waking world, I would want to make note of a quirk like this. In my dream world, I took leave of the friendly gathering and found a nice quiet spot in another room, a dining room I guess, where I pulled a scrap of unused paper from my pocket and began jotting the whole thing down. I also remember thinking, while I dreamt, that I was probably destined to misplace this scrap of paper before doing anything useful with it. It seemed to me an unfortunate burden that now I should have to worry about keeping tabs on these scrappy little notes in my dreams as well. 

Note taking of this nature is essentially anti-social behavior. Unless you’re a reporter named Skip, sporting a fedora with a little card that says “Press” on it, the act of flipping out a notebook and jotting down every interesting or funny thing the people around you do and say is frowned upon. It makes people uneasy. And it breaks up the natural flow of conversation. Of course, I do it anyway. I just sneak off to the dining room. Or the bathroom, that’s a good place too. People rarely interrupt you in the bathroom. Unless they’re your kids.

I can’t bear the thought of passing on a great idea; most of these never pan out, but occasionally one clicks. The playwright Sam Shepard once said that he never wrote ideas down; he trusted that the good ones would be there in the morning, as if ideas are something loyal, a trusty dog or a partner good for something more substantive than a roll in the sheets. My ideas – and my brain by association – are nowhere near as trustworthy. If I don’t write it down, it’s gone. Could have been a million dollar idea, or the lousiest idea in the world, but I don’t want to take the chance. I’d much rather catch it, put it on paper, push it around a bit and see what more I can make of it. Life is the stuff of stories.  It’s also distracting as hell. You’ve got to do what you can to catch what you can, stuff it in your pocket, save it for later when you might make some sense of it. It’s uncanny, really, how similar dreamsean is to real Sean in this way.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2009 11:43 pm

    So great. Every word.

  2. Peg Beck permalink
    November 8, 2009 5:56 pm

    Great stories, Sean. Whether pulling from life or sleep and dreams, you pull the reader in with great word choice and colorful imagery.

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