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Anxiety dreams

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Last night I went to a birthday party/story reading for a high school friend, Mark. It was nice, even though I didn't get a chance to read the thing I most wanted to read ("Clear Glass Marbles," a piece from Jane Martin's play Talking With...). I read a brief Barthelme piece instead, "The first thing the baby did wrong..." It went over very well; lots of laughter, lots of applause, several compliments later. Other people read a bunch of interesting stuff, too, but the only thing that's especially standing out in my memory at the moment was a brief very funny bit about reading adult stuff (like Rimbaud) aloud to a baby in ways that the kid will enjoy, from Mark Leyner's Tooth Imprints on a Corn Dog.

Got home late, spent a little while sleepily replying to a couple of email messages, stumbled off to bed. Slept reasonably well (I've been sleeping pretty well lately, except that I keep waking up in the middle of the night, but at least these days I can usually get back to sleep fairly quickly), but toward the end of my sleep I had a dream in which I was in college and Mark was teaching a class (about comic-book art, I think, which probably means that Jenn's comment about reading Understanding Comics stuck in my head) and I was taking the class and I hadn't done any homework or any of the reading, and eventually I went back to my dorm room to try to catch up on my homework (as often happens in these dreams, I hadn't done any schoolwork at all in weeks or months) but I couldn't find my dorm room. And so on. Eventually I woke up.

Most of the elements of that are from assorted random sources of things I encountered yesterday, except for the not-having-done-the-homework anxiety part, which I suppose is probably due to a general feeling of being behind on everything.

When I woke up, I realized that I never posted here about a dream I had back in '97, which I took to calling The Last Test Anxiety Dream, though I've had others now and then since then:

This particular dream started out just like most of my test anxiety dreams. I walked into the lecture hall and the teacher handed out the test; I looked it over, knew I’d done all the wrong reading for the course, knew there was no way I could answer more than one or two of the questions. And then I said to myself, “Wait—I don’t need to take this exam.” And I got up and walked out of the lecture hall into the bright sunlight.

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Well that was a blast from the past... I performed "Clear Glass Marbles" as a monologue for a high school drama review. Not a dry eye in the house, and especially difficult with my mother sitting in the third row.


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