I love receiving responses to this newsletter. Just so you know, when you click Reply and send something (or comment on the blog), it lands right in our inbox. And today, specifically, I am asking you to fill in some blanks for me.
I had this dream. I was in a classroom and there was a song playing. I don’t remember if it was actually being performed “live” in the dream by a band or someone in front of the class, or if it was just a recording of a song that was being played in the room. Anyway, it was a famous song, and I don’t remember what song it was, or if it was even an actual song from (what we call) real life. But in the dream, the song was very well known. It was some sort of anthem, not the national anthem, but something about collective purpose or humanity as a whole, like “Imagine” by John Lennon, but an altogether different song. It was something we were all very familiar with.
A friend of mine was sitting about two desks behind me, and one row over. This was a real-life person, someone I’ve known a while, and though we met as adults in waking life and have never been to school together, in the “reality” of the dream, we’d originally met in school, as kids do. (Seems like an obvious metaphor there – life as a classroom.)
So – my friend was working away at her desk, writing some assignment, a little grumpily, because school is so tedious. I turned to her and started mouthing the words of the song’s refrain, which we both knew indelibly by heart, having heard the words hundreds of times before. In mouthing them to her, I was trying to be a bit clownish.
I no longer remember what the words were. Dream details fade so rapidly! The phrase I was mouthing along with (so to speak) was perhaps five to seven words long. That much I remember. It was just one line.
My friend glanced up from her schoolwork, still grumpy, but my momentary goofiness elicited a small, reluctant smile – just a wry upward turn of her lips – and then she returned her attention to her assignment.
Now. As I mentioned, in real (that is to say, waking) life, I have known this person for some years. At various times I’ve loved her, hated her, felt supported and comforted by her, and been enraged by her. I’ve been a good friend to her, been an asshole toward her, accomplished stuff with her, fought with her, been inspired by her creativity and insight, and suffered at the effect of her (occasional) narrow mindedness. (And no, in case you might be wondering, we’ve never been romantic or physically intimate – I’m describing a platonic friendship, albeit a consequential one.)
So here’s my question. Pretend it was your dream. Do you have a friend/associate/relative/former or present partner etc. who more or less fits the description above, in terms of your emotional history with that person?
If so, what words might come to you, in a dream, to sing to them – words that might have both universal applicability and specific relevance to your history/relationship with that person?
Help me fill in the blanks, please. It can be a real song, or one you make up. Or maybe it will come to you in your own dream, and maybe you – unlike me – might remember your dream song. Thank you.
David Opon says
I read your blog of March 24 and yes, I have a friend like that (although there was a few brief friends with benefits moments early on, but for the past 40+ years platonic) who checks off the qualities you mentioned. And she and I have been been all those things to each other. The song that came into my head is not famous and very local, a 1980s Chicago ska band called Heavy Manners. Actually the lead singer Kate Fagan has been getting quite a bit of press having released an EP of her songs from around that time (https://www.katetoocoolfagan.com/)
So, in my dream the song isn’t that famous, but the words are powerful. Here they are:
“Happiness depends on complicated decency”
song Complicated Decency (here is a short sample https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_SXgQEpmZI&t=29s
Marc Polonsky says
Excellent. Cool song, dreamworthy lyric indeed. Thank you, David!