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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Writerly Ego

I'm collecting all my dreams in a sort of chapbook. In doing so, I realized that quite a few of them are manifestations of the writerly ego in its pure state. I have either childish success presenting my writing in public, or abject failure. Really, the dreams of success and failure are not any different in their relation to the ego.

The book of dreams is itself a manifestation of the same ego, I now realize. For the reader, someone else's dreams can't help sounding inane.

Here's a typical example:

I was walking down the street and a woman approached me and said: “you have a good chance of getting the violoncello seat in the orchestra now. There has been a lot of attrition.” I tried to tell her I didn't play the cello. She had confused me with someone else.
The double play of the ego is 1): the fantasy (playing in the orchestra) 2) the embarrassment (of course I could not do this). How transparent this all is. (That's a further embarrassment.)


Thomas said...

I'm not sure if this is what you mean, but I thought Ishiguro's The Unconsoled was brilliant precisely because, once your realise that we're learning about a person's life through his dream(s) everything makes perfect sense. You form a clear idea of the narrator's ego even though the events are utterly implausible.

Anonymous said...

I dreamed I was moving and could not figure out which furniture to keep and not, and exactly what size truck to rent. I was surprised not to be able to do this as usually I can.

So I called George Yudice (! -- well I know why him, I feel I owe him something, so this was a dream about work) who was still living in New York according to this dream, and said I wanted him to come here (!), cast a cold eye on the furniture, and give his view.

He said he was so good at this he did not need to come, but could figure it out over the phone if I described my furniture. So I did and he said I see the problem, it is true as you feared that the large truck is far too large, but all the others are too small. What you should do is go to a company that rents large pickup trucks, and get two. This will give you the exact amount of space you need.

I could totally see that and was delighted.


Jonathan said...

I guess George can drive one truck while you're driving the other.

Anonymous said...

But they were driven by hired drivers and they drove west.

There is some problem I should unravel by dividing it in two. I keep having dreams about doubleness and about moving: houses with two sides that mirror each other but not quite, meeting twins.

In one dream I met two couples who appeared to be twins. It turned out that the men were, but they were fraternal and not identical, and the women were not, yet looked nearly identical.