Tuesday, December 30, 2008


NY TIMES LETTERS: Does the E-Book Have a Promising Future

"...still, I myself take pleasure in stroking the page of a book ..."

Sam Goodyear
Oneonta, N.Y., Dec. 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


In this post, instead of my usual "dream five" - i attempt to transcribe the total experience of my dream last night. Please comment: is it clear? is it too confusing in the unabridged version? I never know what the right balance is for a blog post. I also have chosen not to change anyone's name. It's a dream - so everyone is innocent.

a dream transcription

Inside a subway train?

Mandy, an Associate Artistic Director: You don't want to make plays with undergrads. It was great, but they aren't professionals. You want to achieve so much more.

I need to get out of the subway train. I need to run from underground. I need to emerge into the light and the fresh air.

***location shift***

A meeting: Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis, some Producers/Donors, AJ, is this for FELA or a new project? I'm feeling stifled. I feel like crying. I need to work in education. I run outside.

Cast member: (with glee) Tears!

I know they (some cast members) are talking about me. I run around the corner and finish crying. When I'm done, I go back to the meeting which is in an underground restaurant - at a round table covered with a very fine white cotton tablecloth.

Bill: (implying I'm late) Nice of you to join us.

Me: I was stuffy and needed to blow my nose. (why couldn't I have asked someone here for a napkin)

Jim: (Hands me a bowl of soup.)

***location shift***

Super Mario Galaxy: I open a "new world," but in order to play it I have to loose all 22 lives I already have. I decide to go into a "previous world," but I'm ceaselessly chased in that "previous world." The characters chase me into the real world. Why didn't I decide to just open the "new world?" The "new world" was vivid yellows and purples and greens and reds - very very vivid - why didn't I choose it instead?). Who cares if I would have lost all my lives except for one, I wouldn't have been pursued by the characters in the world I decided to open up.

***location shift***

A sculpture/dance hall: presenting work.

***location shift***

A stage: in an auditorium. The auditorium was in a building, on a small lane (like European towns) cobblestone, skinny buildings crammed together. But I knew it to be Greenpoint, the neighborhood I live in - in real life. I was directing a community production of a play (Streetcar Named Desire? No, a new play much like it). It starred people from my community - people I knew really well, people I wanted to succeed. But one of the actors was out (sick?), and I had to play her roll. My scene partner missed his cue, but Hilton Als - who had become a fan of the show - was in the audience and yelled out his cue. It changed the whole feeling of the last part of the show. I was struggling to read my lines, which I couldn't see and were hidden from audience view. I fell to the ground but kept it in character. I played the rest of the scene in partial view of the audience. It was terrifying.

***location shift***

After the end of the show I went next door to a new restaurant. It was opened by Liza (who just permanently closed Queen's Hideaway in Greenpoint). At the her new restaurant, they were serving hot mexican soups. The chef (a very old mexican man who knew english better than I did) and the waiter (a very young mexican immigrant) nurtured me and spoke to me and told me about their sister restaurant next door (which Liza also owned) that served only hot soups! After finishing my soup I decided to go next door.

***location shift***

The cold soup restaurant: was below ground. They had dug out a little patio - making an open air, basement level piazza, complete with a large fountain in front of the main door. Behind the main door was a little foyer with yet another door that dazzled with white and silver etching and framing. I went inside and the staff was still preparing. They were going to open the cold soup restaurant the next day - because cold soup (I surmised) took longer to marinate thank hot soup. Liza was nowhere to be found, but I walked in the kitchen anyway. I saw the beautiful radishes, partially grated for their zest, lemons grated for zest, someone chopping bunches of long stemmed onions. Brilliant colors: purple, yellow, greens, whites. It was almost as though my eyes could take close up shots of all the foods.

Niegel: (to myself) they must all be organic

Sous Chef 1: What are you doing here?

Niegel: I'm a friend of Liza's.

Sous Chef 2 (a black lady with a tattoo (of a star?) on her right cheek): You're not supposed to be here yet. We open tomorrow.

Niegel: I know, but I wanted to see what you were up to. Did you work at Liza's old restaurant?

Sous Chef 2: I don't remember. I may have. I don't remember.

Sous Chef 1: You should really leave now.

As I leave, I can sense that the head chef can see me as I'm leaving. He checks to make sure I don't steal the keys from the door.

***location shift***

Back at the theater: My scene partner from earlier is checking on the giant muffins. We are in the cafe of the theater - where they serve giant muffins. I attempt to apologize for my performance (wow it's hard being an actor). He seems to hear me but doesn't acknowledge my apology. He is proud to have just gotten to work with me. His friends have gotten him a gift. It is a peach pie - brilliant brown - and they are pouring a fresh orange juice around the outside of the pie. (they've prepared a moat of sorts between the center of the pie and the crust.) He is loved. I hug him. He thanks me.

Niegel: I hope I get to work with you again. I never even imagined that you were an actor.

Friend: I did it once in high school. Thank you for this opportunity. It was wonderful. Please think of me next time you direct a community play.

Niegel: (truly moved - almost to tears)

Niegel: (to myself) Will I think of him? Will I direct another community play?

Still at the theater: Because I acted in the show, I'm now on the email list for the actors. I don't just get new emails though: my iphone downloads all the previous emails too and in them I see my friend's questions about the show, about the profession and his praise for my leadership. After reading three messages, I notice that he is a bit embarrassed. So I promise not to read anymore. I feel a stronger connection to him than I've felt to anyone in a long time. We hug again.

I remember that I need to wake up and try to look past the edges of the dream.

I wake up.