Writers: Even Their Dreams are Weird

So there’s the standard poor-preparation anxiety dream, the one where you find yourself suddenly required to take a final exam in a course you don’t remember having signed up for, or required to give a classroom lecture for a course you don’t remember having agreed to teach, or one of any number of uncomfortable variations on that general unhappy theme.

What they don’t tell you is that when you’re a writer, those variations can get surprisingly elaborate.

Take last night, for example, when I dreamed that I was at a Worldcon somewhere unspecified (it was in the US, but not in any of the places where I’ve ever been to Worldcons in actual fact), where I was scheduled to be on two or three panels.  The first night at the con was the usual good cheer and meet-and-greet and dinner-with-friends, and the next morning for some reason we had to change hotels, and what with one thing and another it wasn’t until midafternoon that I remembered I had programming obligations, and I couldn’t remember when my next panel was – and worse, whether or not I’d forgotten a panel the night before.

At that point the traditional anxiety-dream rabbit-chase kicked in, as I tried in vain to find a copy of the pocket program to check on my obligations, and likewise tried in vain to download the Guidebook app and search for them.  I could have looked on the back of my badge for my list of panels, but my badge was back in the room at the new hotel.

Finally, some kind soul loaned me a pocket program, where I discovered that I had, indeed, missed a panel I was supposed to be on.  (Children’s writer Bruce Coville wandered through the dream at that point, and paused to assure me that I wasn’t the first or the only person to ever forget a panel.)  Further perusal of the schedule revealed that I had a second panel in only a few minutes.

Cue dream-panic, and the hasty solicitation of a ride back to the main programming venue with another con-goer – who was, as it turned out, anther person on the same panel.  She said, cheerfully, that since we were both present in the car, we might as well go ahead and have the panel right there, because the audience didn’t seem to mind.  And indeed, the car was filling up even as she spoke, with far more people than one would think a small sedan would be able to hold . . . .

And at that point I’m awakened by a household member bearing the glad news that the flush mechanism in the downstairs toilet has ceased to function, and on that note, my day begins.

(I wish I could have gone on dreaming long enough to finish that panel, though.  It sounded like it was going to be interesting.)

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