The Dream of the Wayward Nuns
Issue # 5
By Rich Wilhelm
April 19, 2000

We are headed off to Dreamland this week.

Dreams have always fascinated me. I still remember one dream I had when I was very young, back in the early 1970s. I'm fairly certain that the Beverly Hillbillies appeared in that particular dream, which means Jed, Granny, Ellie Mae, Jethro, Mr. Drysdale and Miss Hathaway are the only television sitcom cast to appear in dreams that I've had in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. I will leave it to the reader to ponder the significance of that fact.

From almost the beginning of my journal-keeping days in 1980, I've recorded my dreams. I'm not sure how many I have written down, but I'm glad I have them. I consider myself lucky in that I rarely have dreams that truly disturb me. I'm more likely to wake up laughing than screaming from a dream. Of course, like most people, I do have the occasional disturbing or scary dream, but generally, it's the funny ones that stand out to me.

I had the following dream the night before I recorded it, April 19, 1992, which I believe was Easter Sunday. This was definitely a dream that had me laughing. I have absolutely no idea what this dream means, but I find it hysterical that I'm lecturing a roomful of nuns on how to find religious experience in everyday secular life.

The Dream of the Wayward Nuns

I'm in a drawing room in a convent, speaking to a bunch of nuns. I am there to visit a specific nun, though I can't remember who she is.

In the course of the conversation I begin to speak about religious experience. I don't remember exactly what I said, but it had something to do with my belief that women could find religious experience in everyday secular life just as profound as the religious experience of a nun.

Apparently, I was convincing, because most of the nuns in the room immediately decided to leave the convent. So now I'm walking around the convent, watching all these nuns leave, headed for their secular lives. At one point I think to myself that I hope none of the nuns are leaving because they're attracted to me, since I am engaged to be married later this year.

At another point, I'm in the foyer of the convent looking out onto a boardwalk. I see a movie poster with the words "The Mambo Movie" at the bottom and then I realize that during the conversation with the nuns I had said something about all the great movies you miss when you're a nun.

Next I'm upstairs with at least one other person, maybe Donna, but I'm not sure. We see the remaining nuns sneaking a banner up the steps and down a hallway. The banner said something like "28 Years..." of something at that convent. Apparently the remaining nuns didn't like the banner so they took it out of the drawing room. They also took down the Christimas tree the departing nuns had set up downstairs before I convinced them to leave.

We followed the remaining nuns down the hallway and then peeked into the room where they had congregated. They had set up a new Christmas tree and were all either standing or dancing around it. The main feature of the tree was these giant sparrows, two feet high, which served as ornaments.

There you have it, my dream of the wayward nuns. I hope you enjoyed it. Perhaps an armchair psychologist might come up with a nifty interpretation for it, but I've never found a whole lot of meaning in it, other than it made me laugh one spring morning in 1992.

I must have been inspired that day, because I also wrote the following poem, which I'm including here as a free bonus section of this column, since it's a little on the short side this week. I will now leave you with a wish for a happy Easter weekend and with my epic poem, "(I Want to be a) Performance Artist."

(I Want to Be a) Performance Artist

I want to be a performance artist.
Performance art is what I want to do.
I want to write in my journal,
then stand on stage, reading the entries to you.

When I'm at work sometimes,
I pretend that I am a performance artist.
When my manager brings me something to proofread
I stand up and say to her:

"Last night I dreamed that you gave me this
proofreading to do as we stood in a
Dairy Queen on another planet,"

as slides begin to be projected behind me.

My manger is understandably confused and beguiled by this!
But she racks it up to me being a wacky employee
and tells me to have the proofreading done by Tuesday,
"on this planet, please?"


(Please feel free to email to others who may be interested or to print hard copy for them but remember: The Dichotomy of the Dog is copyright 2000 by Rich Wilhelm. If you plan on making a bazillion dollars from this piece of writing, please let me know so I can sue you or something.)