Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Red Quartet

From my Dream Diary, April 4, 2005:

I am standing on a public street in cold weather. To my left, very close to me, is a short shelf of books I have written in my dream state. I do not recognize them by title, but I feel a bond with them.

I am standing on a short flight of stairs and the shelf is built into the fa├žade of a building. On the street, catching the cold wind, is an attractive African-American woman in her 30s, who has evidently prepared a copy of my most recent book for me, turning it into a matching small-sized hardcover that I can shelve with the other books. I take it from her and ask how she liked it.

“I liked it. I like straight-forward writing like that; it’s not what I expect from you, but I liked the directness of it. There wasn’t anything between you and getting your thoughts out.”

“And what thoughts were those?” I ask.

“What do you mean? You wrote it. You know better than I do.”

“You don’t understand,” I tell her. “I wrote it so fast, I don’t remember what I wrote. My whole memory of the process is a smear.”

She looks at me warily, as though she doesn’t believe me and wants to get out of the cold.

“What should I call it?”

“That’s your job, not mine,” she says irritably. “Why don’t you sit down and read it and come up with a title yourself?”

“I haven’t got the time,” I tell her. “I’ve got to press on.”

“Me too,” she says, waving half-heartedly and trudging off, leaning into the winter winds. I wave my farewell.

The weather doesn’t bother me. I look at the little handmade book and place it at the end of the queue of other books identical in size. I notice that the other books in the sequence have similar titles, all pertaining to shades of red: CRIMSON SAILS, DOCTOR SCARLET, VERMILLION TO ONE. As I shelve the new book, I remember something about it: it was about the loss of innocence and the wisdom that comes with age.

Suddenly, I have the title: CHERRY LIQUEUR.

As I name my book, I realize that, in my dream state, I am the author of "The Red Quartet."

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