Dream of:16 November 2005 "Truthful Stories"
While sitting in the back of a large classroom, listening to a lecture, I looked to my left and saw McSwain (perhaps 70 years old) sitting on the other side of the room. I looked at him a couple times, trying not to look straight at him, but I could see he was looking at me. Finally he signaled me and he stood up. I also stood up and walked to him. He said he wanted to see me in his office. He walked out of the room and I followed. I sensed many people were looking at me, wondering why I had been called out, but I knew immediately why McSwain wanted to see me: he wanted to talk with me about the dreams I had published on my web site. In a way, I had been expecting something like this to happen.
Dawson (another law professor) was standing nearby. McSwain quickly asked me to make a copy of all my dreams and give it to a woman in his office. Then he would see me. As McSwain walked off, I thought how this was the second time I had been called into McSwain's office. I was sure he knew very well who I was.
Another professor, Morrison was standing in the hall, and I said hello to him. Morrison walked up to me and we shook hands. I knew he knew what was going on. I told him I had been called to the office and I asked him what he thought. He said he didn't think I had done anything that they could take any action on, that I hadn't written anything "personal." That was my opinion also: I had written nothing actionable.
As I walked on, I noticed I wasn't wearing a shirt - I was naked from the waist up. Since we were in the law school, I thought there was a rule that I had to wear a shirt. I was already worried about being suspended because of my writing, and now I worried I might be suspended simply because I wasn't wearing a shirt. If the professors wanted to suspend me, now they had another reason.
Another professor whom I hardly knew approached me. He was about 40 years old and immaculately dressed in a suit. He resembled Alan Shore (the character played by the actor James Spader in the television series "Boston Practice"). He was very friendly and he began excitedly talking about my writing. Walking along beside me, he asked me if I had ever had my picture taken with a group of other lawyers. Apparently he belonged to a large law firm with about five lawyers in the name. I told him no, I had never had my picture taken like that. He accompanied me all the way to McSwain's office. As I headed into the office, he turned to leave, but he fell down in the hallway. After I went back and helped him up, he went on.
I walked into the office. The first room was the waiting room with several other people already waiting. A woman was behind a counter. I walked up to the counter, handed her the copy of my dreams which McSwain had asked for. I told her who I was and that I was there to see McSwain. She looked at me funny and I had the feeling that everyone there knew who I was.
Someone called my name from McSwain's office so I walked on back there. When I walked in, I was surprised to see about 20 students sitting in chairs around the perimeter of the room. Some had small notebooks in which they were writing. I finally figured out that they were students who were also reporters. Apparently they were there to watch McSwain with other students, one after the other, such as myself, who had problems. McSwain wasn't in the room yet.
I sat down and talked a little. Finally they wanted to know why I was there and I told them I was here because I had been writing my dreams. I told them I had been writing the dreams for more than 20 years. I pointed out that what I did was like what they did: they wrote and I also wrote stories similar to the stories they wrote. We both wrote truthful stories.
A black guy whose name was Lacy was standing up. He was apparently a law student. Someone said something about his having appeared in a dream. I thought he had appeared in one dream, but I couldn't remember.
Finally McSwain and a couple other professors walked in and sat down. I was worried because I thought I was going to have to make a decision: either to take down my web site, or be suspended. If the school demanded that I take down the web site, I would be in a tough spot.
I started talking. I already knew what I was going to say: that everything I had written was the truth. The problem was that I sometimes had bad thoughts and bad feelings about people, and I wrote them down. I said that was the problem with our society, that we are taught not to express these bad feelings that we have for people.
I thought about McSwain. I could tell that McSwain was somewhat persuaded by what I said and that he was unsure what to do. I respected McSwain and I thought I had expressed that respect in the dreams in which he had appeared. However, I knew that somewhere in my dreams, I had said something bad about McSwain, although I couldn't now recall what I had said. But this was not uncommon because I had had bad thoughts about almost everyone whom I knew. Just because I said something bad about someone didn't mean I disrespected him. That's the way dreams were - different from society's rules.
Another law professor whom I didn't recognize spoke up. He said that on Monday they had suspended a pending suspension of me. From this, I gathered that they had planned to suspend me, but they had suspended the suspension because I had "whited out" something in some of my dreams. I now recalled that earlier in the week I had changed something in a dream, something inconsequential. The professor said that in one of my dreams I had dreamed of a big coal company that he had mentioned in one of his lectures. When I had written the name of the coal company, I had changed the name so the first letter wasn't capitalized. I vaguely recalled, but I couldn't remember for sure doing that. He said they had decided not to suspend me because I had made the change. He had contacted and was still in communication with the coal company.
I could tell he was impressed by what I had written. Indeed, all the professors seemed impressed and uncertain what to do. At the same time, the situation was so unusual, they felt as if they needed to do something.
I began hoping they wouldn't compare me to Haim. I knew Haim had been in my class, and I remembered Haim's disgraceful story, how he had been arrested and disbarred. But I could tell from the way things were going that I wasn't being compared at all to Haim.
The students were all rapidly taking notes. One asked me where this book of dreams was and I told them I had brought a copy with me which I would give them. They asked more questions.
Another professor (whose name I thought was Anderson, but who looked like Senator Patrick Moynihan) began talking about a dream. I told him he had never appeared in my dreams, but he said he had. Apparently I had made reference in a dream to a law professor, but I hadn't given the professor's name. This professor said he was the professor who had appeared in the dream. He concluded speaking by saying about my writing, "I'll be honest. His writing is excellent."
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