Unconscious McSweeneying

Do any of you have strange dreams when you’re sick?

I’m battling the latest installment of pass-the-flu, our yearly, sometimes semi-annual tradition here in the wintry northeast. When I’m sick, my dreams, already the product of a somewhat unconventional mind, get even more strange.

Take, for example, last night’s dream about McSweeney’s. Well, it wasn’t so much about McSweeney’s as it was my latest cognitive dysfunction. Or, it could be that I obsess so much over my latest McSweeney’s and The Believer arriving in the mail and combined it with preparing a presentation on them for my Independent Literary Publishing Class. So, I suppose they had no choice but to play a pivotal role in my unconscious mind.

Um, yeah, I said “unconscious” – both as a nod (teehee) to the fact that I was sleeping, and because neuropsychologists now prefer using “unconscious” rather than “subconscious” to describe those things we think about (awake or asleep) underlying our conscious state. I heard it on NPR Friday, but since I have satellite NPR, I don’t know if it was a rerun show or a new one. Anyhoo, apparently it’s part of the whole “we don’t wanna’ use any of the Freudian terminology” stuff. Whatever. I don’t really care – just an added topic in case you would prefer to comment on something more exciting than my weird-ass McSweeney’s dream. Hmmm – did I just use the name McSweeney’s four times in the last two paragraphs? (Make that five.) Okay, minor obsession.

So. This dream… In it, I was somewhere on the west coast and hanging out at this multi-million dollar, glass-windowed complex that McSweeney’s owned. For some reason, they thought I was cool (I know, I know. Already weird, right?) and invited me to their fancy building which had an amazing indoor pool. But there were only ever like 5 or 6 guys around for the whole complex.  I woke up thinking ooh – there was that one guy, and that other guy, then there was the guy with the beard and glasses, and the other guy with the beard and the glasses, a guy who looked like Joaquin Phoenix during his beard-and-glasses appearances, and then oh yeah, that other guy with the glasses. Apparently my dream was just attaching whatever images I had already associated with McSweeney’s, both from the AWP conference and from my research for the publishing class presentation. In Googling and McSweeneying post-dream, I found that one was Timothy McSweeney, one was Dave Eggers, another was Sunra Thompson and yet another was that other guy with the beard and glasses.

So most of them were piling into a Prius loaded with volumes of McSweeney’s on the roof (not in boxes, but just stacks of books and quarterlys and Believers, none of which were tied down) and they were going to a trade show. I stopped Sunra and asked him why they weren’t taking older issues to sell, and he just said Out of stock. But he said it in a weird, zombie-monotone, accusatory way. I said, but what about the one with the bird? And he said Out of stock! And I said, No, the other one with the bird! And he said, Out of stock! Then he folded up like an action figure and fell into the back seat behind the passenger side, with his legs straight up in the air and his arms straight out on either side of the passenger headrest.

They left me to enjoy this huge buffet table of all my favorite dessert-type things like cream puffs and chocolate hazelnut treats and stuff like that. I was also welcomed to enjoy their marble swimming pool, which I did. It had a little waterfall at one end and used copper tubing and saltwater instead of chlorine to keep it clean. But then I cut my finger and it was like the scene from Vampires Suck, and it started spurting blood everywhere, and ruined the pool. The intern was freaking out and going, Oh my God! Dave Eggers is going to kill you! Run, you stupid cow!

So I left the building, and as I headed out, Andre the Giant went in, and for some reason, he is Dave Eggers. He started yelling at the intern, who had sliced his own finger and jumped in the pool to pretend it was him. But next thing I knew, we were suddenly all standing outside the building – the intern, Dave Eggers, Andre the Giant, who was now no longer Dave Eggers, Timothy McSweeney, Sunra Thompson and those other guys with the assorted beards and glasses. I was standing on the opposite side of the swimming pool, which was now outdoors and which had turned into a swamp. Andre disappeared but there was now an alligator in the swamp, and Dave Eggers has it trained to eat me. Suddenly my sister was there, and it ate her instead. I felt guilty, but relieved.

I woke up, thinking Oh my God! McSweeney’s will never publish me because I bloodied their pool!

Okay, friends. Feel free to analyze or add your own weirdness!

P.S. I have previously posted entirely in metaphor. This, however, was just a weird-ass dream.

4 Comments on “Unconscious McSweeneying

  1. Great post! Seriosuly laughed out loud at: “Andre disappeared but there was now an alligator in the swamp, and Dave Eggers has it trained to eat me. Suddenly my sister was there, and it ate her instead. I felt guilty, but relieved.”

    It’s funny how dreams can (in a weird way) reflect our actual concerns, especially when it comes to school and writing. I had a dream a few months ago that I was reading at some sort of MFA dinner/event, and I only had one paragraph written so just started making it up as I went after that first paragraph. It was very obvious that I was making it up, so Sheryl – who was sitting next to me – just patted my hand and told me I could stop.

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