Archive for the ‘Dreams’ Category

As the EFFING RAGWEED SEASON has starting early (goddamn wet hot spring grumble grumble), I am only keeping myself sane and alive with a dazzling array of allergy medicines and a fair amount of alcohol. Thank the Invisible Pink Dragon that Aerius went generic this year – it’s now only costing me 80 cents/day to not want to claw my itching eyes out with my nails instead of $2.50.

Anyway, part of my regimen includes a Benadryl or two at bedtime to keep me from waking up at 2 AM and sneezing 58 times in a row. There is one side effect. I’m not entirely sure if it’s an up-side effect or a down-side effect – Benadryl gives you CRAZY dreams.

The other night I dreamt that I was spending a weekend in a haunted hotel in New Orleans. (Note: I have never actually been to New Orleans, even though my mother is sort of from there.) Why I was there I don’t recall. Ben wasn’t there, though my friend Celeste’s ex-boyfriend who is also called Ben was. I don’t remember very much of what you might call the “set-up” of the plot – I remember getting to the hotel and that I was wearing a totally hot red dress. I really, really want that dress. I should find someone who can draw, describe it to them, then figure out how to make it.

In that way that only places in dreams can be, the hotel was also a mall and quite a lot of the dream was boring I’m-going-to-the-restaurant-oh-no-I-can’t-get-in stuff. But some of it was genuinely weird and sort of fun. There was some running away from zombies, some running away from maniacs with knives (in which I was joined by my friend’s ex), a trippy elevator ride in which the elevator left the building and floated around in the clouds, and I believe I was slated to perform “Call of Cthulhu: The Opera for One Person”* at some point but missed it, probably due to being chased by a maniac with a knife or a zombie.

Anyway. After whatever adventures happened over the weekend, the entire guest population of the hotel left and walked along the riverbank. Is there a river in New Orleans? As we walked in the dawn, some people who may or may have not been wearing coolie hats were setting up some really beautiful miniature houses on the riverbank. In my dream, this was an activity traditionally associated with New Orleans. Is there a place where people do that? If so, I am going there on my next vacation. They were gorgeous 3-4 foot tall houses. As they finished, some boats sitting in the middle of the river set off some fireworks which somehow or other looked amazing against the dawn sky. The whole crowd marvelled.

Then a giant tsunami washed over us. I was just reminding myself to stay on my back and just float when I woke up.

I defy you to psychoanalyse this dream. Clearly it is pharmaceutical in origin. At least I hope it is.

*I am actually working with my friend Suzanne on “Call of Cthulhu: The Opera”, but it calls for quite a large cast. Look for it summer of 2011.

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Unexpected side effect of taking the week off to lie on the couch recovering from flu that I totally should have expected: Muscle atrophy!

It’s like I just started the 14 kilometre bicycle commute all over again.  After two days of biking so far I am very, very sore.


(If you follow the link in the previous post, there IS a picture of me in which my legs are clearly visible.  In case you’re wondering.)

In other news, I had a dream the other night that I was biking down an alley and ran into a tiger wearing a toupee.

No, I really have nothing to say.  I’m still pondering Plan C.

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I had an awful dream last night. I had an audition for something – I can’t remember what, but instead of arias they wanted two art songs. OK, I thought, and picked two that were impressive and I sing well, and put the sheet music in a binder.

The audition was in one of those only-in-dreams scrambled spaces where my studio was somehow or other attached to a theatre or rehearsal space. I arrived just as my audition was about to start. I wasn’t dressed, just wearing sweats or street clothes, and I was called.

“I’ll just change and grab my music,” I said. This was fine, so I went into the studio…

…And I couldn’t find the binder. It was NOWHERE. I had lost it or forgotten it somewhere or it had just disappeared. I was in a room full of music, and I couldn’t find anything.

So I kept thinking, “Oh, I’ll do that song instead,” and then I wouldn’t be able to find THAT piece of music.

And the minutes were ticking away, and every now and then someone would poke their head through the door and see how I was doing.

“Just fine!” I’d say. “Just give me a minute longer, I can’t find this one score.”

But of course I was getting more and more desperate and frantic and I hadn’t even changed yet.

(This is, I should add, not at all like real life, where I’m always hyper-prepared for auditions and show up super early with too many copies of everything in binders and extra headshots just in case. As you can see I appear to have some anxieties around punctuality and preparedness.)

What I eventually decided to do was sing something I knew that was unaccompanied (because then the accompanist wouldn’t need the music!) and something, anything else at all that I could find. I don’t remember what the second song I eventually found was. To top it all off the room I was supposed to audition in had to be used for a choir practice, so I was going to have to audition in front of eighty snarky gum-chewing teenagers.

I woke up before the actual auditioning began. This may not sound like much of a nightmare to you – but to me it’s enough to wake me up in a cold sweat.

And I don’t even have any auditions booked for the near future…

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Last night I had an awful nightmare.  I dreamt that I was putting on some kind of opera/play thing; I had just written it a few days before, the composer had set it in a hurry, and everything was ready to go.  There was a big audience, mostly composed of people I went to school with who I didn’t like very much, in what seemed to be a combination of my apartment and a black box theatre.  The entire set was a low, dramatically-lit conductor’s riser.  I took my place for the opening scene – and realized I didn’t know any of the music, nor could I remember the first line to make it up.

Also I was pretending to be a cat.

There was also a real cat in the play, possibly two.  I don’t remember much of the actual plot, other than there was some dialogue from members of the audience (“how did THEY learn it so fast?” I remember thinking), and then I stood up and sang, “ENOUGH!  ENOUGH!” and then tried to improvise both the words and music of the next scene.  Then everyone left.  Laughing at me.

The one neat thing about the dream was that behind the theatre space was a galley kitchen with a popcorn machine and a soda fountain, which would be a very cool addition to my living space.

And that was it.  I woke up and walked the dogs.  I do have the most blitheringly obvious symbolic dreams – once I dreamt that I left my wallet with a lot of money in it on a “7 Vedette*” bus – so we’ll just chalk this one up to career anxiety, but still.

The reason for my anxiety, more specifically, is that I’m developing three short operas for myself and one accompanying musician.  I’m writing the librettos and performing them my damn self this summer.  I’m tired of waiting around for someone to give me an opportunity to do something interesting – so I’m doing it myself.

Of course, that means exposing not just my performance but my writing to criticism, and working extra hard so the project doesn’t devolve into a morass of narcissistic slop.  Which makes me anxious.  Obviously.

*”Vedette” being French for “celebrity”

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Folks, it’s been a weird week.  It’s been a weird month.  Hell, it’s been a weird life.  

I think a big problem with my “get a clue” project is that I am, at heart, an idealist.  I keep expecting that once I turn another corner, everything will be great.  I get excited and I make plans.  Then I get there, and…everything’s just the same.  Same shit, different pile, as they say.  It’s a little depressing.

So here is another poem.  It’s from a couple months ago, and it is a PRO song now.  If you come to one of our shows, you can compare the written version to the sung version.


It’s late.  The moondust on the window
gives the air a sickly glow;
night and boredom and terror descend on the city.
And I am here, alone,
a fly on the windowscreen,
a nothing, like everything else – 
and I don’t like cleverness,
and I don’t like lies,
but I can dream – I can dream.

It’s night.  All through the sky
stars shed their skins and weep;
on the earth creatures hunt and scurry and hide.
And I am here, alone,
a lump on the tablecloth,
a something, but not very much –
and I don’t like wickedness
and I don’t like to try,
but I’ll be strong – I’ll be strong.

It’s dawn.  Through the window
comes the sun in faint streaks,
day falls on the city like a red cloak. 
And I am here, alone,
a dot on the earth’s face,
a being, but not for very long – 
and I don’t like nothingness,
and I don’t want to die,
but I’ll go on – I’ll go on.

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I had a dream last night (or this morning) that I was shopping for lingerie with my sister.  I know, how much more boring can you get?  One night it’s a demon baby, another night it’s me getting fired from an opera for looking too masculine…and then it’s me at the Bay, buying a sports bra and a robe.

In all of my mundane dreams, though, Toronto is a different city.  The streets curve more, and are either cartoonish or dark and exciting; Eglinton Ave, for example, is a candy-coloured whimsical paradise, and Gerrard is a raffish home-grown Reeperbahn.*  Is this wishful thinking on my part?  Am I fed up with Toronto’s provincialism and poor urban planning?  Do I wish I lived somewhere else, in a more exciting city like Berlin or New York or London?

Well, yes.  But I know that my dream city isn’t New York or London, and I doubt it’s Berlin (though I’ve never been there).  It’s a combination of Woody Allen’s New York and Dr. Seuss’ Whoovile – it’s my own personal blend of romantically fictional places.

Anyway.  I’m getting my hair cut today!  FINALLY.  I will post pictures if it’s extreme.

*In reality, Eglinton is a fairly pedestrian main street, seedy in some areas, semi-posh in others, and Gerrard is a particularly depressing stretch of hell.  Until you get to Little India, which is cool.

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* NOTE: This literally IS a horror story, based on a dream I had last night.  NO horror story is complete without a family secret and some bad weather.*



Storm rising

“It won’t be long,” Mrs. May said, looking up from the countertop.

The window in front of her looked out onto the broad bay, and over her shoulder I saw the gray sweep of the sky over the leaden water.  There was a storm coming, and everyone had warned me not to come.  It was dangerous and it was stupid.  But what could I do?  Doug was in Berlin until Saturday – he was coming to meet me – to meet us – and I had to.  I just had to.

“She’s still…”I hesitated.  “Ellie, she’s still…very young?”

Mrs. May turned a grey head and a censorious eye on me.  “Ellie is not responsible for herself,” she said quietly, her reproachful Southern voice making me feel all of ten years old.

“Oh,” I said, not letting my voice fall.  So Ellie was like that…that was OK.  OK with me.  It was meant to be, really, that I was there to help her out.  She obviously couldn’t…if she was…

“Grammy?”  A little voice piped behind me.  Mrs. May left the potato-mashing and cried, “Ellie, sweetheart!”  I turned and saw – well, this is what I saw.

I saw a little girl.  With a baby. (more…)

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