Music from the Dead

I had a vivid dream about two friends I love very much who are both dead. I dreamt that I was talking to Deborah Geithner on the phone and we were discussing making music together. She tells me to come to her house to pick up some sheet music. Her house is easy to find as it is straight down Sukhumvit Road. I see her in this dream and it's forty years ago, she would have just turned forty.

I hail a taxi and I get into the car with an old lady who in my dream is not identified. We set off but for some reason my mind wanders and I realize that I have not actually told the cab where to go. And the taxi has taken a long curved turn to the right and is now going down a long soi.

I realize that I no longer know where we are or where I'm going. I tell the taxi to let me off somewhere so I can call. The place I am let off is some kind of waystation, rest stop, or post office. Or clearing house. There are little windows with people in line waiting for things.

When I phone, I reach Peter Geithner, her husband. I tell him, "I'm just coming over to pick up some music. Can you tell me the address?"

"But why are you coming here?" he asks me. He takes an inquisitorial tone, as if trying to get me to say something I don't want to say.

For someone reason the conversation just goes around and around in circles, and finally I ask "Is it Soi 7?" and I realize I am wrong, that is an old address, and I never had an idea where they are living now, or any idea where to go when I set off.

Looking up on the wall, I see that someone has written the name Kanán 19119. (My memory is slipping in the exact number but it has ones and nines in it). The old lady who is with me (I still don't know her) says, "That's the address, write it down."

I say, "But it's not Geithner, it's Kanán. It is someone else."

Nevertheless, I follow her example and start writing it down. Then I wake up.

Dreams Within Dreams

I had one of the most complicated dreams ever. It begins with some kind of diplomatic dinner party. My parents are expected but only my mother is at the dinner. Eventually my father shows up and he says, there's no one I know here. I said yes there is. Look there is Thanom Kittikhachorn. My father says, yes but there's no one else I know. I look around at all the people at the dinner and I realize that he is right. Everyone there is a stranger to him.

But that's not surprising because I'm actually at some kind of science fiction conference, and it isn't a diplomatic dinner at all. They send me to my room at the hotel, more like a motel actually. I'm amazed because it is a luxurious suite. I take out my laptop and work for a while. It's really early I don't know why, maybe like 9:10 pm. But I fall asleep. While I'm asleep inside my dream I have another dream.

In the other dream, I'm some kind of advisor in some ancient war. I'm trying to negotiate some huge treaty between the revolting peasants and the aristocracy. I successfully make a deal. I go into a huge park to inform the leaders of the uprising that everything will be OK. It's an incredibly beautiful, lush, green park. To my horror, I see rifles poking out from under vegetation. I called out, it's safe now, the war is over. But as I move closer, I see that The dozens of people crouching down with rifles is aimed at me, they are not alive people at all. They are all skeletons. As I look further in the park I see many many more skeletons. It seems that while I was negotiating to help these people, they had all been gassed. I was the victim of a terrible trick. The amazing thingabout this dream within a dream with the incredible greenness of the landscape. The beauty of the vegetation and the horror of the countless corpses. I woke up inside the dream and I was still in a hotel room except it was him to be my own bedroom as well. I was thinking I have to write this down, I have to write this down.

I leave for breakfast but I come back to the suite. I mean to write down the dream is soon as I can. When I open the door it's a completely different place.

First, it's full of people, And there are eight doors in the suite H leading to a bedroom bathroom or closet. All the people in the room are staying in the same suite. There are people I know like Connie Willis. They all have rooms in my suite. But where is my room? All the science-fiction writers have rooms, and every other room is either a toilet or closet. And the scariest thing is I left my laptop behind in what I thought was my bedroom. But now I don't have a bedroom.

I'm about to go and complain to the hotel management when I look up and see a huge hole in the ceiling. Through that whole I can see that the room above is a big dormitory style room with lots of small single beds in rows. Suddenly I realize that we have to look after a whole bunch of young children or students, and that this isn't an ordinary science-fiction convention but also something educational.

I'm very frustrated in particular about the laptop. I decide to go and see the convention chairman so that I can tell him what happened. I go down a very narrow corridor and turn right into what appears to be some kind of antique shop. Or a China shop. It has things on display in tall glass cases with lead-rimmed panes, like stained glass but clear.

I'm with somebody who is also with me in the suite when I discovered it wasn't my suite. I think he's another sci-fi writer but I don't remember his name.

Anyway, it appears that I am holding a laptop after all. But when I look at the laptop it is not my laptop. I see clearly but it has the logo of Phillips on it. Also, it is a carrying handle like an old-fashioned portable typewriter I can't possibly write about the dream on it.

My friend points out to me where the con chair is standing. It is some kind of balding, Asian person with glasses. He's with another fan. I go up to him.

Look here, I tell him, I've literally had an alternate universe experience where I've actually slipped into another world. Something is really wrong. The room is wrong everything is wrong the laptop is wrong.

Really? He says but suddenly only his head remains and it is on the floor and it is deflating like a balloon, and also cackling. 

Oh my God, I said to myself with sudden realization. I'm still dreaming, aren't I? And I wake up with a start.

Taking the Pain

I've had a strange and beautiful dream. I'm walking down a strange street that I don't recognize. In fact, I am lost, until I find a coffee house that I know very well but I haven't been to in a long time. When I walk in she says, The lady who runs it, she says "welcome we haven't seen you in a long time." I asked for a drink. I walk around the back and I see A room in the back that she's barricading off. She didn't have that room before I remember. And now she tells me that it's new. I look to my left and see an opening, or doorway into a green yard where people are sitting. 

That's new too, she tells me. But I'm not allowed to go into the yard or to the back room. I come back to the house — the main house. I find a place to sit and I drift away dreaming in my dream about something Egyptian.

When I woke up the fat man and a young at least younger, boy-man were looking down at me. The old man smiles and says I've been waiting for you to come back. You must help me. I have so much pain. I say, I'm not a healer. He says, but you always have.

He sits and I put my hand on his right foot. Which he crosses over his knee it's very strange, almost a flabby empty thing without any bones I put my hand on it. I feel something. He tells me the pain is burning in the pit of his stomach. I wonder why I must heal his feet. I put my hand over other parts of his body and finally over his left foot which he brings out and crosses over his knee is well. When I look up I see to other people kneeling with their arms in the air, flailing, murmuring prayers. I concentrate really really hard on this man's terrible pain and I start drawing it into myself.

When I'm done I start to leave but the boy man says no, you must heal me too. It's a bit awkward because he is suddenly very very small almost the size of a doll. He brings me a chair to sit on because he doesn't want me to be on the floor. Looking at him I think he is a child and I think he is a very old man. I put my hands over his head and again I begin to draw out some pain. Then I wake up.

I remember still, after going back to sleep and waking up again, the flabby-firm, almost silicone-like texture of the feet and strange folds of flesh ... also that the coffee house did not let me have coffee but gave me a coke. And the boy-man was sort of bald.

Picasso

I dreamt that my dog Picasso was no bigger than a leaf, fluttering around. He was growing day by day and then suddenly, as if I had lost a chunk of time in my life, he was big. Then my assistants were carting a bunch of musical instruments down many flights of wooden stairs in the middle of the night. "We have to hurry," they said, "rehearsal is at six." Six? I'm thinking, but surely it's p.m. and this is four in the morning....

This whole dream is about time being out of joint...

A New Continent

A peculiar dream: a new continent has been discovered. Oddly enough, it is the fifth continent even though in the back of my mind I know that traditionally there are seven..

In the dream, it has become fashionable to eat meals that have a combination of food from different continents. I am sitting at a counter and on a big screen is projected pictures of food from the five continents. I appear to be with one of my aunts.

There are two choices of food from the fifth continent. One of them is called a "children's portion of sashimi." It consists of a single scallop. It is delicious.

The second is a living shelfish shaped like a fluttering green butterfly lying on a long, mussel-like shell. It is tiny. I pick it up by one wing (wing shape, texture like a mollusc) and it quivers. neon-green. I share the creature with my aunt, who eats one wing while I eat the other. 

I wake up.

Connecting the Coils

Last night's dream...

I am sitting on a narrow bed with one of my sisters, watching the second season of a new TV show. It's a show about some kind of courtroom drama and a pudgy-faced man caught in some kind of sex scandal.

"I never saw thhe first season" I say "but if this is any good I'll go back and watch it."

On TV the judge is saying "The question is, did you connect the coils?" I see an image of a makeshift phone system with tin cans and a long plastic string stretching across a lawn "If you connected the coils, you are guilty." The camera moves in to show the man in the dock sweating.

It's a pretty good show, I decide, and I realize I have just finished a cigarette. I stub it out on the wall behind the bed and the butt falls behind the bed and underneath, and I realize it is not yet out.

Before that, I had a very mysterious dream which I don;t remember well, but it involved picking up frozen snakes from the side of a pond and walking across a street littered with octopus corpses towards a circus tent. I wish I could remember more of THAT dream because it was more colorful and also quite scary.

Alternate Universes

 

I dreamed that I moved back to L.A. I found that Ohm, the orchestra librarian, had been watching my house for years. My house was a long long house in the Valley and you could only only enter through the kitchen. Stacked up on the counter were hundreds of envelopes; in my absence, various agents and producers had been submitted my screenplays and these were piles and piles of rejected ones.

I also found that I was giving a performance in a week's time, organized by George R.R. Martin. It was a big, solo, improvisatory performance that no one had told me about, but it was a one-man show. I went outside to the sidewalk where there was a newspaper machine and for two quarters I managed to get a newspaper and much more .. the paper came with a stack of manila envelopes and a letter from Ginjer Buchanan, a book editor, to other editors saying that they were all flying in from New York, and guess what, Somtow is doing a show and let's all make a date to get tickets and surprise him.

I also saw a notice in the calendar section of the paper about the forthcoming show. But then, I asked Ohm to put away the paper, and when I wanted to calendar section again I couldn't find it.

Instead I found a lot of old newspapers and a carefully printed out bound copy of my score "A Catch of Waters" for six chamber orchestras, composed in 1974, which has never been performed. I was thinking, I should retype the whole score into Finale so it can at least play back.

Ohm said to me, "It smells awful in this house." I said, "Why didn't you tell me when I arrived so I could clean it?" I walk through the living room, comparing it with my house in Bangkok, and decide that it is bigger. It is a long, long living room with green wall to wall carpet and sofas line the sides of the room. 

II return to the kitchen and look with dismay at the piles of rejected screenplays. Some of them are close to being produced and even have complimentary notes from someone or another ... but what they all have in common is that I don't recognize any of them. 

I discover more manuscripts poking from the side of the sink and discover the cupboard under the sink full of more of them. I open more cupboards and I find hundreds upon hundreds of pale green polo shirts. Someone has been wearing exclusively green, living in my house, and has taken over. I wonder if he has been slieeping in my bedroom.

I wake up.

I think this is a bit of an alternate universe dream, showing me what things might have been like had I stayed in L.A....

Moab

I accidentally fell asleep with the news on. In a dream, the CNN soundtrack droned on about the extent of the damage from MOAB. But this visuals in my dream showed a pair of pink ballet toe shoes on a young girl's legs and the outline of a tutu. The image was darting from one shoe to the other, showing the extent of damage to the extremities of the shoe. The ankle was being rotated to show that it had been heavily stressed and the young dancer might not be able to dance again....

Cockroaches

I dreamt that I was in a living room, seated on a sofa, and my father was on a barstool at a counter. On the counter was a dead cockroach. In my dream it's called a cockroach but in reality it's more like a really fat spider with tiny legs.

"I'll get rid of it," says my dad. "No. no," I say, "it's already dead, don't worry about it." But he ignores me and brushes the dead cockroach onto the floor. (The floor is dark green carpet tile.)
As it hits, it immediately begins to sizzle, tremble, and shake and its skin begins to burn off. It is almost alive in death.

A tall friend of mine, I don't know who, Is seated on another sofa in another part of the room (the bar counter is on one side of a L, this sofa on another.) He picks up the sizzled cockroach and says, "It can still feed." He puts it in a bowl full of cockroach food. "The amazing thing is, it knows not to eat other dead cockroaches. It can continue to feed."

As he says this, I see the dead cockroach squirming in the bowl and I suddenly see another one on the floor but this one is huge. I don't know how I haven't noticed it before. It is huge and flat and red, and a bit H.R. Gigeresque. The legs are spindly and hairy - crablike. It is so huge that it fills the entire. If I want to leave the room, I will have to move some legs out of the way. The legs are dry to the touch. I wake up.

Taxi to Inferno

I had a crazy and terrifying dream. It started off in a science fiction convention and I was in the ninth floor of a hotel. I got into a lift with a tall guy. Presently there also came a boy and an old man in a wheelchair. So we are all in this lift. It's a yellow lift. Suddenly the lift starts shaking insanely. "It's just an earthquake," says the old man, "we have them all the time." But the lift suddenly becomes a bus and suddenly we are miles from the hotel,which is called the SVP or SWK hotel, something like that.

And now it's a tram, and the tall man and I decide to get off because the tram is moving further and further away from the hotel. The road (and the tram track) is a huge oval. We can see our hotel behind us and around the other side of the oval. We start walking and presently we come to a sort of coffee shop, but it's also some kind of vehicle, even, perhaps, a riverboat because there's suddenly a canal as well. And a fat woman in a red dress with a beauty spot greets us and serves us, and she tells us that the elevators in that hotel do this all the time.

"You can catch the bus back," she says, implying perhaps that it will turn back into a lift at the appropriate time. "Either the way you came, or the opposite way - you can wait for the bus over on that corner."

"Not me," I say. "I am tired and want a taxi." So I take out the phone and all one. I speak to the taxi in Dutch, saying "Ik zou graag 'n taxi hebben," except I forget what the word "hebben" is in Dutch and actually I say "haven". So the taxi answers me in English, presumably because I screwed up speaking Dutch (and I didnt even know we were in Holland until that moment.)

"Bitch!" The taxi says. "I can't take it any more!"

"What?"

"Oh, sorry. I wasn't talking to you, but to myself. Late at night, things really get to me." (It is morning.) I tell the taxi the address. He says he'll come, but tells me where I am is near the Bad-Hotel.

I know this hotel exists - I've been there before - but I think it's in Germany or Switzerland. I look around for the hotel and I see the sign, but it's actually spelled "Buit-Hotel." The taxi driver says, "That is a very dangerous place. The young hookers take their johns there, and they come out attached to life support machines."

I shudder as the taxi turns up. Well, it's not a taxi at all but a bicycle, and attached to it is a long sofa with two backs and pale blue or gray plastic upholstery. Because it has two backs, you can't sit in the sofa, it's more like a coffin. My tall friend decides to sit in it, but I see that taxi driver has brought a friend. This taxi has a more normal seat latched on to it. I climb on. 

"You know," says the taxi driver, "the SVP used to have another name..."

I wake up.

Settlements

There is a dream that is fading quickly, but I wanted to write down some fleeting memories of it. The dream is set in some kind of repressive regime and has something to do with Jewish settlements and with someone painting glue on a glass window in order to hang a protesting poster. His name is Hank. The dream has something to do with how he revealed himself. It was a really complex dream but really, it is fading, fading, I did not think to write it down when I woke up.

Stealing Art

I had a dream last night, when I was feeling dizzy and disoriented, perhaps from lack of sleep; my vision has been blurry and I haven't been able to concentrate; I'm very stressed although being in Vienna has been quite calming ... the thought of chaos in my office has not been ...

So in the dream, I have managed to amass a huge collection of forbidden art and I need to escape with it. All the art shows strange internal organs - livers, intestines, I have stolen it from somewhere, a museum etc. and around me, the government of the country I am is collapsing. (It is somewhere in Europe). 

Along comes Mr. Joerg Ayrle, driving a car. "Get in!" he shouts. "I will take you to safety!" I load all the art and we are off. But instead of leaving the country he drops me off at a marina.

I am standing on a railing by the edge of a body of water - it is a harbour or a wide canal, with townhouses (sort of like Amsterdam) on one side (but they are brightly colored townhouses, like ones I've seen in Czechia which were painted after the fall of communism to disguise their Stalinist architecture). I am left here alone with the cache of forbidden art.

Nervous I leave the art and wander around, concerned about whether I will leave by train or tram. I reach an uphill cobblestoned street. I wake up.

Learning Wisdom

Last night I dreamed that I was being dragged off to be beheaded. It was the time of King James Sixt and I. I'm being dragged down some stone steps set into the pavement of an ancient square.

"I'm innocent!!" I scream. "At the very least you must spare me until after my concert. I have a very important concert for the King." A magistrate releases me, but shows me the list of charges against me which are numerous, on a scroll, illustrated with illuminations like a mediaeval manuscript.

The first of the charges is corruption, but the list goes on which some very anachronistic ones including something to do with the intellectual property rights of Apple Watch software. The final charge is that I have been, as a judge, vicious and capricious in judgment.

The magistrate agrees to free me and to let me exercise my duties as a judge, pending a big concert in July which I have to conduct, and pending a possible pardon from King James. But a remarkable thing happens, and the magistrate is the first to note it, as he begins spying on my judgments. I appear to gone from a cruel judge to a veritable Solomon.

I stand on some steps beneath some Greek columns and petitioners are queuing up One is represented by an advocate and requests "a name change that we may marry." The name is Kelley or Kellesy. I say, "And which of my judgments would be more advantageous to the petitioner?" Making the advocate smile (he is blond with short hair in a grey-white tunic.) The threat of decapitation has clearly made me a changed man.

At length they bring a boy who apparently has his shirt on backwards. He's awkward, a bit plump,with a blond crew cut, and his back is exposed but he so misshapen that I think his back is his front at first. He is the son of a prominent lord. His back is pitted with tiny red holes. I cannot see what can have caused them.

He lifts his ill-fitting shirt and I see his front is the same. "It is my father," he says, "for when he beats me, he insists that the club be combined with a thistle." It is this thorny cudgeling that has twisted the boy's shape.

"I dare to bring him to justice," I tell him. "The threat of execution has made me understand your suffering. I do not fear his high position. I shall listen to your petition against him."

Then I wake up.

Keyboard

There's also another dream from a day ago that only comes back in snatches. It's about a music competition in a hotel, so this too seems to connect with a previous narrative in another dream. I just remember a piano keyboard built into a table top ... and that Vorarat Wattanasombat and I were taking turns playing a concerto on it...

1,800 Euros

My dream ... oh! oh! I am i a studio watching some kind of screening of a wild production of Cosi fan Tutte ... with Japanese subtitles. Although it doesn't look familiar, I know it is a production I myself directed and it is very avant-garde.

There is a cnotroller with no rewind, but a push a button that looks like "play again" and it appears to play a completely different video now, It's me, climbing up a huge ladder, screaming in German, "something like "mich fühlen!!!" I am climbing and climbing. There are other scenes too, scenes I do not recognize.

Suddenly, I am on a park bench in a European street and a man comes and sits next to me (the screening is still going on. It shows me going to unfamiliar places, strange hotels.) The man seems to know me. He's young and English looking with curly, dirty blond hair. 

I say "This footage is our tour of Europe from 2015. I didn't even know someone made a documentary. The production of Cosi is so well edited. Look, there's me climbing a window." He laughs, remembering it (I do not remember,) We watch a while longer and I keep trying to remember the guy who seems to have been on the tour with us, but I simply cannot place him.

Finally I walk over to the counter (we are in some kind of office.) I am thinking of renting the video and making a copy. I say, "How much to rent the video?"

A man (with an undefined European accent) says to me, "Ah, but to rent THAT video is very, very expensive. I would say ... one thousand eight hundred euros." 

"But that's impossible" I say. "I should have received a free copy of this in the first place. Look through it, it's nothing but me. The producers must have promised to give me a oopy and just forgot."

The man just smiles and says, "1,800 Euros."

I wake up.

The Secret Room

 

I had a really important dream that refers back to a dream I had many years ago and maybe many times over the years. In the former dream, I am wandering through a corridor that oonnects my house with an older, ruined, house and I find a secret room. 

In tonight's dream, we are about to throw some kind of gala or party with a banquet and white tablecloths on round tables. On my way to the banquet I open a door and suddenly I am in that secret room which I know I've seen before in previous dreams. Only it is being used. It has been fixed up and there is a whirring air conditioner and low sofas. It is a low room, too low to stand up in, but the center rises to a peak, like an attic, enough to have a comfortable set of sofas.

My father and my sister Pinky are there sharing white wine. I am happy to have found the room which I know so well.

I return to the other side of the house to tell my mother, who is sitting in a step-down larder or parlour. I tell her all about the room and say it is a shame that it was found, because I wanted to make it into my Egyptian room ... I can see the planned furnishings in my mind which include a golden statue of the sky goddess Nut. I also say, it could have been a secret crash pad for guests. 

I decide to return to the banquet via the secret room, but instead I am in a corridor and to my right is a dark wooden staircase that forks into a balcony where there are two rooms, one ahead and one behind. The room ahead is covered with dark carved wooden panelling and the door has wooden columns on either side carved like twisting serpents. The vision of the room gives me shiver even now as I awaken.

But suddenly, I run into an old friend. He is a teenager with long blond hair and though I am now old, he has not changed. I embrace him and I call him Dennis, and say I am so glad to see him. 

I can't overstress that this seems to be a direct continuation of a dream perhaps decades old.

Lost in the Department Store

I had a very interesting dream. I was finishing off some kind of performance. Theater was on a hill. When I came down the hill, the German ambassador's wife and son were waiting for me in a pick up truck and she said "we must go, we must go." I said, "but I am looking for my mother." Suddenly, I was transported to the time I was four years old. I was lost in Vroom & Dreesman, a department store in The Hague. I started screaming, "mommy mommy," in the voice of a small child. I had a feeling of incredible desperation. Then I woke up.

Needle of the Eye

I had a dream in which I and my companion, a woman, not sure if she is a lover or an accomplice, discover that we have blundered into an alternate universe. Everything and everyone has different relationships and feels very strange. We are wearing medieval clothing. But the building we are in is modern.

My friend says this is because of the Queen's baby. What do you mean? I say. She said, We must sneak into the room where the baby sleeps. And we must reach the baby's Eye. 

The baby sleeps in a very high story of a skyscraper. The penthouse I think. We find the baby's crib. This is what we must do says my companion, pulling out a hypodermic needle. Peering over the edge of the crib, I see that the child cannot be seen directly. An inflatable plastic cushion covers his face and on this cushion is depicted a single eye. My friend stabs the needle into the eye, injecting a magical fluid.

Suddenly we know that reality has shifted and we are back to our true selves. We hear the queen, outside the door, asking about her baby. My friend waves the needle and it turns into a long cigarette with a cigarette holder. She flourishes it in the air and smokes it and we walk out onto the veranda.

As I stand on the balcony overlooking a huge metropolis, there are many purple skyscrapers. Suddenly they turn different colors and different styles, switching between art deco and something more modern.

I wake up.

Composer's Conference

I had a curious dream. I was at some kind of composers conference or gathering. We all have to contribute a piece of music. My piece was I think dashed off. They were sitting around discussing it. They couldn't understand some of the directions.

Somebody said what does this mean? The direction was perform half of a hashed tag. I said well just think of any hash tag, and half perform it. What do you mean half a soprano asked. Oh never mind I said just sing anything. 

They all started to ridicule the piece and another singer said to me it actually really isn't very good is it. But I had already started to compose another piece in my head. So I said, I'm going to switch out the piece. I wanted to begin with simple triplet D major arpeggios in the strings when I saw that there were only two string players but I knew I could make a clarinet Play one of the parts. Then I knew that I could place two sopranos on top and they would sing a peculiar winding atonal melody. The atonal canon would twist in and out above the tonal accompaniment.

I became oblivious to their taunts as I started to compose the new piece which I could see every note of clearly in my head. At this music unfolded in my mind, I woke up.

Safavids

In my dream it's during the Safavid Empire and I'm leading a huge rebellion against some Shah or other. It's a splendid dream with battle scenes and spectacular Persian dress, cast of thousands. I lose the battle and I am dragged before my nephew, a sweet and delicate teen, who apparently as a test of his loyalty must order me beheaded. We sit on coaches having a tender and loving last meal and then I am led off to my execution.... then I wake up.