The Knight of My Dreams

The anxiety dreams began in college.

Not the usual "showing up naked for a test you haven't studied for in a class you never attended without number two pencils" sort of anxiety dreams which we all have. (Digression: If I went back to get a graduate degree in something, do you think those dreams would stop?)

The dreams were not identical, but the course of events followed the same general path.

In one dream, I was in Chicago and I was trying to get to Metro to see Robyn Hitchcock perform, but then I kept finding myself in different, unconnected parts of the city-the laws of time and space being different in dreams than they are in waking life make it possible to move over great distances in no time whatsoever, as if the space-time continuum folds and unfolds itself in an entirely different shape, taking you along for the ride-and, eventually, I realize I will miss the concert.

In another dream, I was taking a tour through an English country home and I enter a room where Robyn Hitchcock is sitting cross-legged on the floor, playing for a small audience, and he says (just as I realize what is going on), "Well, I have been playing for hours, I really must be going."

In yet another dream, I was hanging out in my dorm room when someone (can't remember who) burst in and asked what I was doing there, the Robyn Hitchcock concert was happening right now.

Do you see a theme here?

I started calling these dreams "Robyn Hitchcock anxiety dreams". At the time, I wondered what the dreams meant. I knew that it couldn't be something so simple as missing a concert, though concerts were, and are, pretty important to me and I was, and am, a huge fan of Robyn Hitchcock. (Digression: I remember a guy once was chatting me up at Reckless and he was wearing a Robyn Hitchcock t-shirt and said something about losing track of the number of times he had seen him in concert, but it was "over ten" and thinking that was impossible to forget how many times you have seen someone you love perform, but here I am 18 years later and realize that I have seen Robyn Hitchcock perform at least ten times, but alas, I too have lost track. Maybe this is why Robyn Hitchcock became the subject of the dreams?) I ended up deciding these dreams were manifestations of my dissatisfaction with my circumstances; I was in college, researching and writing a thesis I loved, but not pursuing my artistic aspirations, I was in an awkward and unfortunate romantic entanglement (I thought I was in love with him, he thought he was in love with someone else who lived thousands of miles away so, of course, she was perfect and I could never compete), I was unhappy. I eventually came to recognize these dreams as manifestations of my fear that the life I wanted was happening somewhere else and I was missing out on it.

I grew up. I finished the thesis. I moved back to Chicago and began to pursue a career in acting. I fell in love with Fred. But still, I would have these dreams occasionally. Not exactly the same as the ones in college. Sometimes, it was Roddy Frame whose concerts I was missing (which could perhaps be taken literally as I didn't get to see Roddy Frame perform live until September 2001).

I am not sure when the dreams stopped. I am not sure if the dreams have stopped. However, it has been a few years since I had one.

I wouldn't bring it up except I had this dream a couple of weeks ago. I was going to a reading being given at a hotel. I was juggling getting out of the house and having someone take care of Julian (I have no idea where Fred was, but he wasn't around at the time). I got to the place late, and seeing the low turnout, assumed I had missed it. But then someone told me that it hadn't happened yet. Then people started arriving. Then Salman Rushdie walked in, wearing a lavender salwa kameez, and hugged me. He said, "Alison, M.K. was just telling me how proud she is of you." In my dream, I understood that Salman was talking about my poetry, which he had read because M. K. had shared it with him (Digression: M.K. is a friend of Fred's from work and the only poetry of mine she may have read, in real life, would be here, and I am not even sure she reads this blog.) I woke up excited and happy because Salman Rushdie had read my writing and knew my name.

I don't know what to make of this dream yet. I can't quite accept that it may mean I am content with where I am right now in life. Maybe the anxiety aspect of the sleeping dreams is lost when one actually meets the rock star of their daydreams. Maybe my dream is prophetic? Or maybe it is just a chemical reaction in my head, signifying nothing at all.

Regardless of all that, I was still pleased to hear that Salman Rushdie will be receiving a knighthood. Sadly, it seems that there are still allegedly educated people who would suggest that the writer of novels has blood on his hands, as opposed to the people who issued death sentences and encouraged acts of terrorism just because they were offended by a work of art. You can read the timeline of events, but I recommend reading the book itself. Just remember, it is a work of fiction and art.


Anonymous said…
Huh. I see what you mean. Well, maybe if you did make that list, the dreams would stop. But then, is this what you want?
Anonymous said…
Yes, it's always the artists inciting violence, never those people with guns saying let's go kill people. The best part of the article that you linked to accused Rushdie of "[being] abusive to Muslims, but also to Christians - because he used abusive language towards Jesus Christ - and also Margaret Thatcher." Ah yes, we must be careful not to say anything negative about... Margaret Thatcher? Can we take a minute here to consider that learning from someone is usually a better alternative than killing them, even if they are deliberately insulting?

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