At Books & Books last night Steve Almond (do get a copy of his latest collection of stories, God Bless America) introduced me to a friend and former colleague who was interested in maybe taking some classes at FIU. As I shook her hand, she said, "I didn't know you'd look like that." Hmm.
Most of the time my subconscious mind is doing all the work, doing things I couldn't possibly explain with my conscious mind--like how I just wrote that scene where the TV anchorperson who wants to leave his partner of longstanding sleeps with a crucifix or even how I drove to work and made all those split second calculations and lifesaving decisions without thinking about any of it, while listening to music and considering what else to talk about in class and asking Siri why the sky is blue.
I'm a lucid dreamer. I'm also a recurrent dreamer. I have a series of writers conference dreams that are ridiculous and predictable. I can't find the classroom, can't find the restaurant where we're all gathering, can't find the student I have a conference with. In a conference dream last week, a woman with dark hair and peach-colored dress looked at me over the shoulders of two other writers milling about the cocktail party and told me I was the handsomest man at the conference. I said I wasn't. She raised her eyebrows and insisted I was. Okay. Then another, somewhat younger woman smiled at me and with her martini glass at her lips told me I was the handsomest man at the writers conference. At this point I told my dreaming self: "Johnny, it's your dream; you're making those women say that." And I laughed and said, "It still feels good."