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Current Mood, April 25, 2018 April 25, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General, Writing.
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Yeah, it’s basically how I feel about the world every day.

Maybe I should shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

Anyway, I’m still contemplating/interpreting a weird dream from last night.

I dreamed that Andrew Sarris had co-authored a piece in The New Yorker all about how my books absolutely sucked and illustrated some sort of general downfall of civilization. I can’t remember who the co-author was, but they both quoted from my books at great length to discuss how awful the writing & language was, never mind the plotting, and how I was clearly the worst writer in existence.

I read through the article, which was long and detailed (my dreams can do this, yes), but when I looked at the date of publication, the issue was from May of 2011.

I thought, wait, my first book Cut To Wagstaff didn’t appear until June of 2012.

I double checked the date and thought for a moment, and realized that I must be dreaming.

And then it occurred to me that Sarris didn’t write this nasty article intricately and voluminously describing how me & my books suck…. but that I did.

Me. MY subconscious.

And here I was thinking I was only a self-hating schmuck while I’m awake. Seems there’s no escape.

Sarris died in 2012. I’d like to think my book killed him, and now I’m inspired to include a rant against auteur theory in my next Wagstaff book, book 3 in the series, the writing of which is proceeding nicely these days.

So expect another literary abortion, New Yorker. You snobs. Maybe my next book will kill you all.

Only in my dreams.

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What Are Dreams Made Of? June 27, 2017

Posted by Jim Berkin in General, Writing.
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A quick note relating to a dream I had last night.

Not a dream with some celebrity in it where the plotline gets surreal and bizarre…. sorry, I save those gems for the Wagstaff novels.

In this dream, I met a woman who complimented me on my hair out of the blue as I walked past an old now-gone drug store in a shopping center from my childhood. You’d think I’d’ve known I was dreaming at that point, but I simply stopped in my tracks and decided to talk to her.  Hell, overcoming my shyness and chatting about my haircut with her should have clued me in that I was in a dream.  But I guess I’m bolder in the dream universe, so I talked with her about getting my haircut and checked her out and see if I could get a date out of it.

Much like what I’d do in real life, I made a point of looking at her eyes while I talked, since I either revert to my “Hey, Jim must be on the spectrum!” behavior of looking away from people as I talk, or reverting to my “Hey, Jim is a friggin’ dirty old sod” behavior by looking, well, elsewhere.

So because of that focus on her eyes, I got to study this young woman’s face while I chatted with her.  The image of that face stuck with me when I woke out of the dream and saw 5:53am on the clock. I thought about the face for a moment and it mystified me.

For  the life of me, I have absolutely NO idea who it was. (more…)

Celebrity Dreams July 8, 2012

Posted by Jim Berkin in 1960s, Books, General, Movies, Television, Writing.
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I remember my dreams, most of them anyway.

I dream in color, often have dreams set in the identical parallel setting which I can only describe as an amalgamation of the Providence/New England area and Los Angeles, although from what I can tell, the layout and freeway route system seem to be identical from dream to dream (!).

In my dreams, the actions of the dream world around me are separate from the stream of thoughts running through my mind in reaction to it, just like in waking life.

And then, every so often, I have dreams featuring various celebrities.

Sometimes they turn up for obvious reasons – I’d just watched a movie with them, or read about them, or some such tidbit of conscious processing during the day that churned into dream material that night. Other times, I’m not sure where the hell it comes from. Shellfish seems to have a psychoactive effect on me sometimes, but not all the time.  Taking Zantac for my stomach certainly increased my dreaming intensity, often producing lucid dreams I could direct for a while before waking up. My doc at the time looked it up in the Merck manual and, yes, around 5% of the test subjects reported the same thing.

I could have told him my brain is directly connected to my stomach.

Here’s  a typical example from the other night, after some grilled salmon: I was in a second-season episode of “The Monkees” – and how did I know it was second season? Well, even in my dream when the end credits played showing the boy’s heads, the theme song was “For Pete’s Sake” and not the first season “Theme From The Monkees.”

Yep… even in my dreams, I’m a trivia geek.

Anyway, in the episode, I was pretending to be a gangster along withe the boys, and we all wore matching black pinstripe suits for the part. The episode ended and the credits played on a wall of the set, and I wandered off the set backstage. As I wandered down the hallway, I saw Jill St. John wearing some sort of bright red showgirl outfit, and then I got to an area of another set’s backstage area.

At a small round table the size of a lunch table sat Sean Connery in his underwear, reading from a script and rehearsing with some anonymous actress (I can’t remember what she looked like, and I did not identify her in the dream).

So, I say to Sean: “Look at us. You ought to be wearing this suit, and I ought to be dressed like you.”

Sean to me: “Eeh. That suit doesn’t really mean anything.”

Me to Sean: “Really? I think I look really good in it. You’re jaded ’cause you wear stuff like this all the time.”

Sean to me: “Maybe. But what I really want is to play more sensitive guy type comic roles, you know, the kind they always give Alan Alda.”

Me to Sean: “I can’t see you like that. No one would ever believe you’d cry over a dead chicken on a bus.”

He went back to his script, and I woke up. And I thought… I’m right. No one would ever believe Sean Connery would cry over a dead chicken on a bus like Alan Alda.

I’m guessing the “Monkees” bit resulted from a recent screening of Head, which I hadn’t seen in a while & would highly recommend. It’s a mobius strip of silliness, some good Monkees tunes including a great live performance of Nesmith’s “Circle Sky” (yup, it’s really them playing) that proves they were a decent garage band when they wanted to be. It’s also one of the earliest examples of the “New Hollywood” – a film designed to appeal to the youth market with the likes of Bob Rafelson & Jack Nicholson behind it, as well as, IMHO, the only stream-of-consciousness ’60s drug era movie that actually works.

Oh – and it’s also largely a backstage deconstruction of the band – hence, my backstage experience in the dream, I’d guess.

I keep a record of the more entertaining or silly celebrity dreams I have, writing them down as immediate to the experience as I can since the memories of those dreams tends to fade with time. I mined a lot of that material for the Wagstaff Novel since the interpretation of the dreams could figure well into an offbeat comic mystery story, and I think it worked out well for the plot.

I’d recommend keeping a dream journal of sorts for any writer or artist. After all, if you have a creative mind, it ought to really get creative when your unconscious runs free, shouldn’t it?

It certainly beats the dreams I have where I’m working – dreams so detailed that after dreaming of teaching some film class & leading a discussion on something, I wake up and get depressed that I have to do the exact same thing over again and then realize, once again, that I can literally do my job in my sleep.

Tonight, it’s spaghetti with Italian sausage & I’ll finish off that bottle of Sangiovese… I’ve got a few movies in the DVR… what dreams may come? I guess I’ll find out before my cat jumps on me repeatedly @5:30am to get fed.