Bear with me. There be woo woo ahead.
I woke up this morning feeling peaceful, which is really fucking great because I’ve been feeling very, very low for a couple of days now. I cried a lot yesterday. Forty-two days away from NYC in almost total isolation here in Tucson.
I miss my friends and performing and laughing along with audiences at live shows. I’ve been fretting a bit about my creative writing. I took a couple of classes at UCB last year, watched about 50 live shows at the Hell’s Kitchen theater, and came out of the experience with some really good takeaways, even if I’m not ever going to be a great sketch comedy writer.
I’ve been sitting here, mostly quietly, waiting for the next message. The last set told me to get to Tucson and stay put, and stay quiet because no one would believe me, and even if they did, there was very little they could do about it.
Knowing things like that can be a burden. It’s lonely walking through the present and seeing the future. It doesn’t matter if you believe it’s woo woo or not. I experience it. And it’s proven to be right. So, take that for what you will. But it isn’t what I’d call fun.
I’ve been bolstering myself with the knowledge that NYC is evergreen and even the harshest times there have allowed art to flourish. The 70’s hit NYC hard. And NYC hit back with disco, hip hop, punk, Basquiat, Haring, Madonna and Saturday Night Live. I tell myself these things because I can feel the desperation all the way over here. I know that NYC isn’t going to go back to what it was. But what it can become, I think, is the birthplace of new movements.
At least that is what I have been telling myself since around August last year, when I was trying to search for the next trend in Brooklyn. It was teeming with life, and I knew that something big was going to spring forth that hadn’t yet been identified. A new wave. But what, I didn’t know.
The peace I had this morning came from dreams I remembered as I opened my eyes. I wrote it down as soon as I was functional and posted it to FB:
The dream; it’s a two parter:
Part one: I’m on vacation with my parents in Italy. I take my mom shopping for shoes. I want to impress her. I remember really loving these shoes (when don’t I love shoes?). And then I flirt with an Italian (again, when don’t I?). My mother worries (again, again, when doesn’t she?).
Part two: It’s the future, but not like Blade Runner future. More like five years into it. I’m taking a sketch writing class in a dorm room at NYU. It’s not really an NYU dorm…I don’t even know what student housing looks like at NYU because it’s not a centralized campus.
Amy Schumer is the teacher. She lives in the dorms as an RA. But she’s still young. And the class is good. Everyone has funny ideas. Even costumes. Elaborate ones I can still see even now that I’m awake. My sketch has something to do with a “Time Life books commercial” from the early 80’s. I think men really loved buying those books and putting them in a place of pride in their homes. It lent them a bit of gravitas. But instead of books about the Old West, they are books about the great Pandemic of 2020.
We aren’t in Amy’s room, but one of the other classmates. I have to use the bathroom so I go to the end of the hall. But instead of regular dormitory bathrooms, it’s a giant, NYC food stall concept place. Everyone is young and happy. Some are studying, but the overall mood is elevated and frenetic. The conversation is cacophonous and lively. I’m overwhelmed by the smell of shrimp and garlic. I can hear it sizzling all the way from the kitchen. I can hear metal utensils clink and scrape against woks.
One of the students offers to drive me home back to Bed Stuy and now we are in her car, driving through campus. Only we’re not in the West Village, but somewhere closer in appearance to Brooklyn Heights. I comment on how beautiful the architecture is, and the driver questions me about it.
💁♀️: What do you mean?
(She’s asking because she assumes everyone lives like this and thinks I’m knocking it.)
💁🏻♀️: I love it! You can tell that this school cares about its students because it’s created such a beautiful place for them to learn.
💁♀️: Vene, (she says this very condescendingly, but at least she gets the pronounciation right), the learning takes place on the inside. The outside doesn’t matter. Not the buildings or the city. None of this superficial stuff is important. It’s what goes on inside that counts.
She’s wrong, because obviously prestige *is* important to her. But not completely, because my takeaway as I wake up is that I can learn from anywhere. The location and setting are irrelevant. What matters is what goes on inside my head.
I hit send and made some coffee. And got a text from Michael, my mirror twin. We call each other that because we are, more often than not, connected physically and psychically despite distance. It’s kinda like Elliot and E.T. I don’t know who is the cute boy and who is the alien. I like to say I’m Elliot, but I think I’m probably E.T.
Michael’s post was the first I’d heard about UCB’s update. It hasn’t even been on my radar. I haven’t been able to think clearly for a couple of days from terrible allergies, at least.
But the dream was about the future of sketch writing classes in NYC. But in Brooklyn, not Manhattan.
I don’t know what it means. I’m just putting it here because I know by this point that these things are never coincidental.
Don’t quote me on this. And please don’t drown me for witchcraft.
Was it a vision? Or something I just needed to know? Who can tell? Pat McAnany told me that “visions are liars.” We aren’t meant to interpret them because we don’t know what they mean. We don’t have all the context. He once had a vision in the 80’s or 90’s about a friend giving a lecture with a tiny black thing she plugged in. And then, years later, he realized it was a thumb drive. And timelines are like bungee cords. They aren’t generally fixed.
But I have hope. For the first time in over a week, I have hope.