Dream of: 23 February 1996 "Mandolins"

I was watching a scene in a well-furnished office, an office which seemed to be on one of the upper stories of a Manhattan office building. A man and woman had just finished talking and the man was leaving the office. I only caught a glimpse of the man before he left, and I didn't see his face at all. He had been wearing a long beige trench coat. From what I could see, he had looked like a stocky fellow (probably in his mid 40s), and he had seemed to have black hair. Although I hadn't seen his face, I had the distinct impression he had been in a very good mood and might have been smiling.

The woman was probably in her early 50s. She was dressed in a dark business suit which still seemed quite elegant. Sitting behind her large wooden desk, she picked up the phone and quickly began talking to someone about the man who had just left, whom she identified as "Andy."

As I listened to the phone conversation, several things became clear. The woman was Gertrude Stein. She was a book publisher, and she was interested in publishing some things which Andy had written, but she was having some problems. It turned out that Andy was a dream writer. He had written thousands of pages of dreams, and Stein had already read some. Sitting on her desk was a tall stack of pages of Andy's dreams. Stein had quickly seen the richness of the dreams and realizing the potential for their publication, had contracted with Andy for him to compose some of the dreams into a book, which she would publish. Stein could see that there were many possibilities with future books, but that it was necessary to complete the first one. The problem was that Andy still hadn't put together the first book.

It was clear that Stein was talking on the phone with someone who was very close to Andy, perhaps his wife. It was also clear that Stein wasn't angry. She obviously liked Andy very much and was happy to have him as her friend. But she also realized that although Andy was a competent writer, he needed goading if he were to complete his work and put it together into publishable form.

Stein continued, "He won't tie together mandolins, steel or ...."

By now I was writing down long-hand on a piece of paper what I was witnessing. I understood exactly what Stein was referring to. Part of the central idea of Andy's proposed book was to go into his thousands of pages of dreams and pull out dreams which contained a particular element and compose a book of those dreams. That was what Stein meant by "tie together." She was using "mandolins" and "steel" as absurd examples. I thought to myself that it would indeed be strange to have had so many dreams about mandolins to be able to compose a book of them. And I wondered how the idea of "steel" as a subject in dreams had flashed into her mind. I thought I might go back and do a word search through my own dreams to see how often "steel" occurred.

Basically Stein was saying was Andy simply wasn't focusing in on a single subject around which he could compose his book. She also added that she had already paid him $300 in advance. I could quickly see that her mentioning the $300 had a double meaning. On one hand she was saying she had already paid Andy something, so Andy was now obligated to complete his contract and complete his book. On the other hand she was saying that $300 was just a pittance, that if Andy would get to work, he could make untold amounts of money from his writing.

As I wrote down what I was seeing, I began noticing something quite strange about the words appearing on the page. The lines of the letters weren't thin like normal, but were about a millimeter thick. And the lines weren't completely dark, but had some kind of pattern in them. Looking closer at my writing, I realized the pattern in the lines – some kind of floral pattern superimposed on the dark background – was the exact pattern of the floral design woven into the dark suit which Stein was wearing. The writing was so beautiful, I continued apace, amazed the same design in the suit would be appearing on the page before me.

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