Do you remember your dreams? I almost never do. But last night I had a vivid dream that unfolded, not in bits and pieces, but as a story.
In my waking life, I'm the president of the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters in Crime, an international organization of mystery writers and readers created in 1986 to promote women mystery authors. Los Angeles is the largest of the chapters. We meet every month at a library and feature speakers related to crime, including those in law enforcement, crime scene cleanup and forensic science. For thirty minutes before each meeting we have refreshments and network and that's where my sleeping story begins.
In my dream, the chapter was meeting, not at the library, but in a large auditorium at a convention center. The speaker was an author who was lecturing about writing. Prior to the meeting I had met a man at another event. He was in his 60s, shy but sweet, who told me he was a musician. I invited him to perform during the 30 minute networking event before the meeting. I assumed he'd arrive with an old guitar and murmur a few folk songs in exchange for a store-bought cookie past its sell-buy date and a plastic cup half-full of Sprite.
However, when he arrived, he wasn't alone. An entourage of at least 5 other band members and a publicist trailed him like ducklings. And then other people started arriving in droves and filling the seats in the auditorium. He was obviously an important musician whom I had failed to recognize. The publicist told me the event was sold out. I was nonplussed. I told her we were a non-profit and couldn't afford to pay a band. She told me not to worry, that payment was covered by others. It was explained in the brochure, she said. Except, there was no brochure.
The band took the stage and began playing music. Their repertoire was part performance art, part comedy, part political satire and totally entertaining. The audience was thrilled. Just as I began to worry about pushing our scheduled speaker off of the program, one of our board members rushed over to me. Something big had just happened in downtown L.A.—a game changer for everyone. Before she could tell me what it was, I woke up to my cat, Riley-girl, licking my chin. Her food bowl was empty and she wanted it filled.
I complied. Then I consulted a tome that's been on my bookshelf for years. It's called The Dream Book by Betty Bethards. I once attended a workshop presented by Ms. Bethards at the Whole Life Expo in Pasadena. The book includes a list of key words that appear in dreams and her interpretation of each. Below are several words I lifted from my dream. Unfortunately, Riley-girl kept me from learning if that last event was good or bad. It was probably bad because this is a story and stories always have heightened stakes. Here's what Betty wrote:
Author: You are the writer of your life script. You can make it easy or difficult.
Stranger: An aspect of self you are not yet familiar with.
Stadium: Huge capacity for all parts of yourself to join together in a team spirit for life.
Stage: The stage of life. How you present or show yourself to others, beliefs, attitudes, behavior. Roles may change at any time. Your present performance. See actor.
Actor: Role you play, how others see you; a role you are playing at the moment which is serving some particular purpose. We all are actors; roles and life experiences are illusion. Our presentation of self changes as we grow; our roles change with expanding awareness and self-knowledge.
Music: Healing, creative flow of life: joyful, uplifting. Inner harmony peace, beauty.
Comedy: Do not take yourself so seriously. Remember everything is a set-up to help you learn your lessons. Lighten up. laughter heals.
Crowd: Many parts of self. Dream context would show whether noisy, peaceful, purposeful, or whatever, indicating how well different parts of self are integrated.
What do you make of it? Any key words I should have included?