Thursday, April 3, 2008
"While I'm alone and blue as can be..."

I don't dream often. I've never had the "show up naked at work" dream. Or the "I didn't study for the test" dream. I've never had sex dreams, not even when I was teenage and sloshy with hormones.

My ha'penny theory is that I don't dream much because I don't have many inhibitions, so my brain doesn't need to let off much steam when it's on vacation. Another theory is that I don't have much separation between my conscious and my subconscious minds.

Either way, last night was the exception to the rule, because last night I had a dream.

I was in a classroom, similar to the room where I used to take physics in high school. The room was full, two people sitting at each of the large, black worktables, and there was someone teachery up at the front.

It wasn't high-school, or college, but it was definitely a class of some kind, and I was definitely one of the students.

The teacher never said anything, not through the whole dream. He/she was just a faceless presence at the front of the room. Everyone knew what was expected. We were going to be reading our stories aloud to the rest of the class.

I wasn't anxious. If anything, I was a little smug because I was going to read from The Name of the Wind. And, all Midwestern modesty aside, I think the book is pretty awesome. This was my chance to be cool in front of the other students.

I'm first. I don't go up to the front of the room, it's not that formal. I just and turn so I can face most of the class and pull out the hardcover. I'm excited with that slight sweaty-palm feeling I always get before a performance.

I start to read, but some of the words are hard to see because they're caught in the middle of the book where the pages come together in the binding. I lose my place once or twice, make a mistake, and start to sweat as people start to move around in their seats, bored and embarrassed on my behalf.

Then the lights start to get dim so I can't see the text on the page. But I know I can't stop reading. I only get this one chance. Either nobody else notices the lights dimming, or they consider it part of the reading. Either way I know that it's no excuse to stop. By now I can't see any of the words. I'm having to fake it and things are a real mess.

At this point, I have some sort of seizure. I literally fall down on the ground and foam at the mouth. From the strange semi-detached perspective of the dream, it's actually something of a relief, because now I don't have to keep doing my sucky reading.

I'm not clear whether it was a real seizure. It's not that I don't remember what happened in the dream. It's that the dream itself it was ambiguous. Was it real? Did I fake it so that I didn't have to keep reading? Was it real but I hammed it up so that people would feel sorry for me? I really didn't know.

The paramedics come and take care of me, and everyone admits that it wasn't really my fault that I had to stop reading. Understandably, I'm glad it's all over.

Then everyone starts writing out their evaluations and passing them to the front of the class. And somehow I can see what everyone is writing. Most people are giving me A's, but some people are giving me B's or C's. Then, I see the worst thing.... someone has given me.... a C-.

I'm laughing now as I write about it. That was the big reveal. My book got a C-. But you know how it is in dreams. At that moment, I was profoundly ensaddened and hurty inside. It was like every teenage angst of my life distilled down into one powerful, emblematic event.

And then I realize that I'm not wearing any pants.

Seriously. I'm not making any of this up. I don't know if I've been missing my pants this whole time, or if perhaps the paramedics have taken them off as part of some innovative attempt to revive me. All I know is that I'm still wearing my t-shirt, but I'm totally nude below the waist. It's not a very long t-shirt either, just barely halfway covering all of my dangerous man-stuff.

Worst of all, nobody has noticed, and I know that if I could just somehow get out of the room, I'd be safe. But I'm in the middle of the classroom and there doesn't seem to be any way to leave without drawing attention to myself....

And that's the end of the dream. I didn't wake up in a cold sweat or anything. I actually forgot about everything until I was in the shower.

So... yeah. Welcome to the inside of my head.

Personally, I think the whole thing was brought about by the fact that yesterday, despite my better judgement, I read the pair of two-star reviews that showed up recently on amazon. I know that I should be over that sort of thing by now, but... well... apparently I'm not.

Plus, all I had for dinner yesterday was a bunch of bowling-alley nachos and a huge chocolate chip cookie. I will admit to actually dipping the cookie in the cheese at one point. I'm guessing that's what caused it. That sort of behavior is bound to anger the gods.

Later folks,

pat

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posted by Pat at

38 Comments:

Blogger santiiiii said...

Nice post Pat.
I have a theory: you imaginative types live your life in a semi-awaken state, and the creative part of your mind is always reachable, so you don´t need to dream at all.
Me, well, I only can think creative stuff when dreaming, so all my best ideas come up just before/after going to bed.

April 3, 2008 3:23 AM  
Blogger caranorn said...

Concerning the amazon reviews. One of the two you mentioned doesn't even seem to have read the whole book (this seems to be the case for the majority of the 1-3 star reviews). The other review is just a bit odd, but at last he gives you a large following of friends, which is always good.

Never had a sex dream? You poor man, though now I think about it, it's not that big an issue. And your classroom dream sounds like fun, I had a few lately where I was back in high school as a 36 year old. Of course I tried to be the cool guy, ring leader and all...

P.S.: Of course I also voted for Pratchett, Williams and Royo in the Locus Awards ;-).

April 3, 2008 6:06 AM  
Blogger Northeast Iowa Mom said...

Welcome to the way the rest of us live, Pat. :o) I love the innovation of the seizure and the not knowing if you were faking it or not.

My dream last night was that I found out that after all these 22 years my husband and I weren't really married, and we had to get married again, only this time he wasn't sure he wanted to marry me after all. Very sad.

April 3, 2008 6:21 AM  
Blogger Mainjari said...

I don't believe you, Pat. You totally dream all the time, you just don't remember it =d

April 3, 2008 7:05 AM  
Blogger Bin Bin said...

Pat you have the most awesome blogs and insights into your own character ever. Freud would be proud.

For the reviews, I'm not surprised you still check. After all, this book is your baby, and it's your only one at the moment, you're allowed to go all papa bear about it. Two stars...people were obviously confused about the power of the piece of literary greatness in their hands. Don't they realize that reading your book is supposed to make them quiver and shake, and then die? They didn't read it long enough to get the full effect haha.

April 3, 2008 7:11 AM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

Mmmmm ... nacho chocolate chip ... [drooling] ...

April 3, 2008 7:19 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Wow... You managed to have the Failed Examination, Naked in Public, and Medical Crisis dreams all at the same time. When you do dream, you dream big! Maybe this was your subconscious' way of getting them all out at once... You'll be dream-free for another 3.5 years.

April 3, 2008 7:43 AM  
Blogger Shane said...

"ensaddened and hurty"

Thanks for the day's first laugh, Pat.

April 3, 2008 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Kip, Destroyer of Worlds, Baker of Deliciousness said...

Hey it happens. I had a dream that I was doing computer work for KMFDM, and one of the Chinese brothers I work with fell in love with Lucia, it was strange.

Don't worry about the 2 star reviews, they happen. I have this friend Ty, he is odd. A bunch of us have read your book and we presuaded him to read it. So when he finished it him and I were sitting in Panera. I asked him how he liked it. He leaned back and struck this pose like he was a 50yr old literary critic overbloated with self importance and wearing a too-tight sportcoat (he is a short scrawny HS senior, wearing a t-shirt jeans and flipflops, with what I can only describe as a Jew-fro). Next he starts blathering on about how far removed from reality it is and it doesn't have the focused plot of Martin (I'm sorry I was the one who introduced him to Martin) or the off the wall Humor of Prachett...Blah Blah Blah. I told him to shut up, you book is amazing, you always have a few bad eggs, it's statistically impossible for you to be a unanimous favorite. I mean look, the bible is the most printed book, ever, and there are tons of people who hate it and all it stands for. Anyways Ty loves Rush, his taste is questionable at best.

April 3, 2008 9:01 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Hey, you know why some of us in your dream world got tired of your reading?

*looks up pointedly*

It wasn't-cough-Wise-cough-Man's Fear you were-cough-reading.

April 3, 2008 10:08 AM  
Blogger Maybe Today said...

I love your book! I can't imagine it getting a two star rating from anyone. I've been reading Brandon Sanderson's blog (wrote Elantris, and is the guy writing the final Wheel of Time novel). He said your great too.

April 3, 2008 10:08 AM  
Blogger Mary J. said...

Giggle, giggle! My first thought when I saw the C- was those silly two star reviews- and then you wrote about them! :-)

This was a great post I really enjoyed it. I dreamt about euchre all night. I don't know who I was playing with but I couldn't win... I hope that isn't about suppression. *shudders*

Did the teacher use the Charlie Brown adult talk? Whah-whah-whaaaa?

April 3, 2008 11:26 AM  
Blogger kelli said...

"teenage and sloshy with hormones"
Nice. So it does eventually dry up? 'Cause I see no evidence, just men who become better at disguising the sloshy noise.

April 3, 2008 11:47 AM  
OpenID suziko said...

I once met a guy who said that if he had his way, he'd take the entire works of the Beatles, put them in a bag, and throw them in the river.

You can't please everyone, as I'm sure you know. You just do the best you can, and hope that other people see the value in it. And, despite one or two bad reviews, it's clear that there is a lot of love out there for your book.

April 3, 2008 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well lets hope this isn't some kind of prescient vision of your next book reading. Apparently cookies and nachos are your equivelent of Paul Atriedes spice. Stay away from it and stay out of the future.
-Chris S

April 3, 2008 3:44 PM  
Blogger Kelly Swails said...

I don't dream much either. Or, if you want to get all scientific about it, it's more accurate to say I don't remember my dreams. Anxiety dreams, sex dreams, spitting-out-my-teeth dreams, I don't remember 'em.

I have to say, though, as far as dream-world goes, it's way worse to be naked and have no one notice than to be naked and have everyone laugh. Laughing implies they have an opinion of your body one way or the other. Not even noticing means you're not even on their radar, and that's So. Much. Worse.

April 3, 2008 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Josie said...

I sometimes have dreams where I'm going on some sort of quest, but I can't open my eyes. It's not that I'm blind, but it's like I'm looking into the sun or I'm too sleepy to keep them open. Usually this happens at the most inoppurtune of times, like when I'm steering a vehicle of some sort or looking for something. It's really frustrating. It's always interesting to me how dreams can throw you for such a loop. Things like C-minuses mattering so much, or pants mysteriously disappearing when you could have sworn they were there before.

On another note, is the cookie-in-nacho-cheese thing any good? It sounds gross, but I've heard of weirder combinations.

April 3, 2008 3:57 PM  
OpenID thornofcamorr said...

Hm is the blog title perhaps from the Blind Guardian version of Dream a Little Dream of Me? I lol'd when I read it cuz Im listening to the song now.

Anyway its not like the jokers who reviewed the book stupidly brought the 4 1/2 rating down or anything. Maybe when the rest of the series is done you'll be famous enough to have them killed or something.

April 3, 2008 4:01 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Mmmmmmm chocolate chip cookie and cheese...
Your dream made me giggle a little.

And those people who gave you two stars are an extreme minority. You're too awesome to care about them

April 3, 2008 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Kalligenia said...

I couldn't imagine not dreaming every single night! I'd have no motivation to fall asleep. Yet that was quite a telling dream. *puts on mystical gypsy face* Seizures and lack of clothing suggest a feeling of lack of control in one's life. Reading in a dream denotes the need to gain more knowledge before making a decision. That connects to the dimming lights which means you're losing sight of that certain situation.

Put a quarter in the crystal ball and I'll continue.

April 3, 2008 4:55 PM  
Blogger logankstewart said...

Thanks for letting us in, Pat. One time I had a dream where I was in the back of my church and up front there was this strange circus stuff going on and animals were running around everywhere. I like dreams. And cookies. And nachos. And bowling...

April 3, 2008 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, for somebody that doesn't dream a lot you really do it right. I would love not to dream! It would be great just to fall a sleep and wake up the next morning. I dream every night. Sometimes I'm just busy all night with work, family or just life. But I also dream complete story's and movies wich I think about for days! Maybe my day life is not enough and I have to use the night for my adventures...

April 4, 2008 5:05 AM  
OpenID ravenvoice said...

I was just reading through some of the 2 star reviews and a 1 star. And quite a few of these people seem to have missed the entire "Day One" portion of the title.

April 4, 2008 6:23 AM  
Blogger Val said...

I do a lot of dream interpretation and if you're interested, I could give your dream a stab. Usually the strongest dreams we remember have a lot to say about ourselves, influenced by bad junk food or not! I'd post an interpretation here, but afraid I'll get very long winded. Send me a note on Myspace (you know who I am!)
~Valentina

April 4, 2008 8:19 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

You're not alone in the dream department.

Last night in a flowing blue gown and suddenly realizing I looked like Eowyn, I expertly chased someone up spiral stairs with a shiny sword. My other hand was apparently bleeding from a deep cut and I cornered the coward I had been chasing only to yell at him, "You betray me again, and I will kill you where you stand." I hung the sword at my side for a moment, offered an embrace, but at the last instant, I slid the sword through his ribs anyway.

I think I have underlying anger issues. If you wish, I can hunt down your bad reviewers for you in my dreams and have them meet the same fate. ;)

April 4, 2008 9:14 AM  
Anonymous C said...

Replace "reading our stories aloud to the rest of the class" with "demonstrating our home-made Rube Goldberg machine" and I think this actually happened.

April 4, 2008 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Kip, The Avenger said...

I AVENGE YOU PAT!!

http://www.amazon.com/review/R5Q58ZQ3SPT3/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&ASIN=075640407X#wasThisHelpful

I'm Kip Kwiatkowski, on the bottom of the page!

April 4, 2008 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Saryn said...

Pat, you don't wear pants in your waking life, why would you wear them in your dreaming life? ;-)

April 4, 2008 6:34 PM  
Blogger amber_mane said...

Yeah I've heard the nightmare stories that come about from combining cookie and cheese. Apparently not all things starting with C blend naturally together. There is a theory that the chemical compounds of Cookie and Cheese releases a hyper-subawareness, and there is even a race of Poor Student that takes this potent combination in an attempt to fight the hunger demons. This has yet to be published in scientific journals.

Either way, was I was reading your dream I had the peculiar notion that it was like reading a review collumn in some fancy doohicky literature mag. I'm not going to bother psycho-anazlysing your dream, I'm sure you know what it means, or if you don't you'll work it out in your own way. Though it does seem to me that you were certainly correct in your assumption it had something to do with some of the mediocre reviews you recieved on Amazon (honestly, Amazon? don't take that seriously...it's Amazon), also there will always exist jerks who have different opinions about things like literature, art and politics.
And thats the beautiful nature of the world, for with out those jerks we would not strive to prove them wrong.

(and once again, sorry for the long comment! Also all that mumbo-jumbo about cookies and cheese...yeah I was just being creative, re: lying)

~Dyn~

April 5, 2008 6:52 AM  
Blogger Steve Weyerts Jr. said...

I have to say, Pat, that's the most hilarious dream I've ever heard of. This just goes to prove that your mind is brilliant even in your sleep.

April 5, 2008 10:00 PM  
Blogger a cat of impossible colour said...

It must be so tempting to read the low-starred Amazon reviews, even if you know you'll regret it ... like that strange urge to look in the tissue after you blow your nose (just me?). But I think the 2-star readers very simply just didn't get it. Did they miss the 'Day One' bit? Also, a lot of the negative reviews sound like they come from people who sit back and say 'entertain me' when they open a book. That is, of course, one of the book's functions, but the readers you want are those who actively engage in the book rather than wait for it to turn somersaults and blow party poppers.

April 7, 2008 2:14 PM  
Blogger M.Q.Zed said...

"...dream a little dream of me"

April 7, 2008 3:02 PM  
Anonymous fairyfree said...

Ha ha ha Pat. Thank God I'm not the only one who has the occasional crazy dream like that. Unlike you though, mine are more frequent. Screw the reviews. In life you don't have to be in competition with anyone but yourself unless you choose to be. Do what you do. Do it as well as you can, and if you are happy with your work, then be proud of it and who cares what anyone else thinks. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You'll never be able to make everyone happy. So don't sweat it. As for me, I love the book. I love the story. I love the way you write. It takes a good writer to make a person reading it see it like a movie in their head, and when I read your book, I see it. Keep it up. xoxoxo

April 7, 2008 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Caate said...

Pat,
I have bouts of insane dream dwelling. I have had just about every kind of dream. Sometimes I wonder if I'm really going around being a superhero/villain all night and part of the catch is that I won't believe it when I wake up. Or maybe I'm just bipolar like the doctors say... Heh.

I am sad I didn't make it to OddCon. Perhaps this summer will bring a road trip...
-Caate

April 9, 2008 6:10 AM  
Anonymous sparafucilli said...

Aha! Next book jitters. The subconscious knows.

April 9, 2008 1:54 PM  
Anonymous maarten said...

It's funny to see how many reactions you get on a blog like this and how many of those describe the dreams of your readers.
I believe dreams are like a sort of "mind cleaners". Maybe not all, but when I dream (and like you, that's not a lot) it usualy is the kind of dream that seems to put all kind of memories, fears, hopes and fantasies in one big blender and than spits out something none realistic.
Exept for one dream that, for a long time, defied my theory.

I had an anxiety dream. And the thing about it always was that it was a dream without images. How weird is that!? It always was the same dream, it always woke me up in some sort of half awake/half sleep state and it always scared the holy crap out of me. It was a dream that made me experience my deepest fear, only by letting me efeel that emotion. Pure and raw fear. Believe me when I say that the "naked in your classroom" dream is a lot better.

Don't mind critics. Just think about this. I, the guy on the other side of the world, loved your book! It got translated in Dutch and now even in Italian. I wish that, one day, I can say something like that about my book (Novel...).

Cheers!

April 9, 2008 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Aud said...

Pat, if that IS your REAL NAME (which it is),

Cookies dipped in nacho cheese sounds good.

I'm still waiting for my shirt.

Don't worry...I won't let you forget. But I worry that your scruffiness-osity will overwhelm your brain as your beard grows inward and into your head and twists up all thought.

wait...maybe that's what happened to me. ho hum (i hate when vonnegut says that in that one book of his).

April 23, 2008 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Aud said...

wait, i forgot why i originally started posting.

YOU NEVER HAD THOSE DREAMS BEFORE BECAUSE YOU NEVER LEFT SCHOOL.

for gods' sakes, man, everyone else in the WORLD has those "naked in public and usually in school" dreams. i particularly love the one where i'm back in grade school and i'm wearing my mom's ancient nylon robe but for some reason the tie is missing so it's trailing behind me and my clothes are somewhere in my locker and if i'm REALLY lucky i can make it there before anyone sees...

if you got out more, you'd have weirder dreams. just saying.

April 23, 2008 7:55 AM  

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