Dream of: 25 June 1996 "Copyright Problem"

I was assembling a book which contained a series of poems and stories. I had already compiled and arranged in order the first seven pieces in the book. The poems and stories had been written by four other people, who had worked independently on each story or poem, each person being the author of a given piece. I myself hadn't written any of the stories or poems; I was merely assembling them. I felt no desire to actually take part in the writing, and I felt fulfilled by simply putting the writings together. I realized it seemed a strange occupation to be simply reading other peoples writing and then putting it together to form a book, but I felt as if that was what I was supposed to be doing.

Although the four different writers had each worked alone, the stories and poems were tied together in a rather amazing way. The book told the story of four different people – not about the writers themselves – but about four completely different people. This seemed rather amazing to me that the four different writers could all be writing about the same people – but such was the case. And as I read and assembled the pieces, I could hardly believe how well the different pieces fit together into a flowing story. Of course the story was difficult to understand, and I had to read it several times, but once I understood it, I realized I was assembling a worthy piece of literature. In fact, I had read the first piece – a poem which introduced the four characters in the book – so many times that I had practically memorized it. The repeated readings seemed to deepen my appreciation for the work.

Thoroughly satisfied with the content of the book, my major concern now was regarding the copyrights. I hadn't yet talked with any of the four authors about putting the book together, and I realized that due to copyright laws, I would need the authors' permission to publish the book. This was a central concern for me, because I wanted to see the book published.

But I also felt that even if I couldn't have the work published, the book still needed to be compiled anyway. The book was such a unique piece of literature, it needed to be created. Even if I myself were the only person who was able to read the book, it still needed to be put together. If I were unable to obtain the copyrights and have the book published, I might simply store the book in my attic and retrieve it at a later date. This would be a disappointing result since I wanted the book to be published. And it also seemed somewhat selfish, since I would be the only one to read the book, and I would be unable to share it with others. I resolved to do my best to obtain the copyrights.

***

I was taking part in a karate class being taught by a stout black-haired man probably in his early thirties. The class was filled with perhaps 40-50 students – all beginners. I knew that I myself had studied karate before, but it had been so long ago, I had forgotten practically everything I knew – so I was basically a beginner myself. Nevertheless, I knew my prior experience was going to give me an advantage over the others.

When it came time to begin sparing, I at first thought I would be matched against a fellow who was standing in front of me. But when the teacher suddenly told us to begin sparing, the fellow in front of me began sparing with someone else. A fellow (19-20 years old) behind me tapped me on the shoulder, indicating that I should be sparing with him. I knew I was going to be able to quickly handle him.

But just as I was about to begin, the instructor came around to me and began showing me how to hold my fists. I felt as if I had good strong fists, but he said I wasn't doing something correctly. I thought perhaps he wanted me to put my thumbs inside of my fists. I tried that, but he said that wasn't correct, that I needed to hold my thumbs outside my fists as I had been doing. So I was uncertain exactly what he wanted me to do. I was also uncertain whether I really cared for the instructor. He seemed a bit haughty to me. But still, I thought I needed to give him a bit more time before I reached a conclusion about him.

***

The following day I was again returning to the karate class. It was shortly after 10 a.m., and I knew I was supposed to have a class between 10 a.m. and noon. When I arrived in a car in front of the building, I knew that since it was already after 10 a.m. and that I was therefore late, I wouldn't be allowed into the class.

I also knew I was supposed to be with a group of four people in the class. When I looked inside through the large window in the front of the building, I saw one of the four: Charles Bachellor (a friend of my mother-in-law who sometimes has done some handyman work for me). It appeared as if my group were gathering inside. I saw three other people with Charles, although they weren't the same three who were supposed to be in the group. I thought Charles must be the only one of the original group who had shown up.

As I stood beside my car, looking inside, I recalled that at the first lesson, the instructor had given me a piece of equipment to borrow. The piece, which was lying in my car, looked like a small hand-held sander. Suddenly a fellow walked up to my car, reached inside and picked up the tool. The fellow said that he worked for the instructor, and that he needed to retrieve the tool for him. I immediately told the fellow that he couldn't have the tool, that no one could take it unless the instructor himself came to get it. When the fellow insisted that he was going to take the tool anyway, I deftly grabbed him from behind and put an arm-hold around his neck. I heard some other men standing nearby begin laughing. It was immediately clear to me that everyone else knew that this fellow whom I was holding was a karate expert, and that he would make short work of me. But to everyone's surprise, I was able to hold onto the fellow, and he couldn't break free. I knew if I let the fellow loose, he would probably quickly defeat me. But as long as I had him in the neck-hold, he couldn't escape.

***

I was walking into the karate class accompanied by two other men, both of whom were lawyers, both of whom were wearing suits. Both men appeared to be in their 50s and both seemed competent professional men. One was walking in front of me, and one was walking behind me. I was wearing a tight-fitting drab green suit. Due to the problem I had had with the fellow concerning the tool, the lawyers had come with me in case I needed them when I explained to the instructor what had happened.

When the three of us walked into the classroom, I saw that all the students were seated at desks. I saw that instead of practicing karate, they were all learning how to write checks. There were 40-50 students and all of them had practice checks on which they were working. Some teenage black girls in particular caught my attention. I saw that the black girls were making mistakes and crossing out what they had written on their checks. Apparently these girls had never written checks before. I thought they must be terribly poor never to have had a checking account.

As I looked around, I realized I was missing the instruction which was being given in this class. But the class seemed like such a waste, I didn't think I was missing anything. I already knew how to write a check.

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