This was probably inevitable, given the amount of time I’ve been reading, sitting, and thinking about Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, but last week I finally dreamt of meeting Le Guin herself.
We were in some kind of artist’s workshop. Books and writing tools were scattered on old desks with notes and papers scribbled everywhere. A Le Guin Writer’s nook, perhaps, if only imaginary.
Unawares that I was dreaming, and slightly star struck. I wasn’t sure if I were interrupting a writing session, but she turned and gestured me towards her desk in a friendly manner. She smiled and reached out to take something that I suddenly realized I was holding. It was a book; not The Dispossessed, but The Lathe of Heaven.(1)My favorite Le Guin work.
She opened the first few pages and I assumed she was signing it for me – she gave me a slightly mischievous look and said, “watch closely, as I show you…”
With the book folded open on a blank page, she waved her other hand, holding a pen, over the page. Hand-written words appeared, fully written. I couldn’t make out the sentences, but they were on the paper as if they’d been written many years ago.
“This is what Shevek discovered,” she told me, and moved her hand over the page – the words vanished and the paper was unmarked again.
Again, she waved her hand over the page and the words appeared once more. “So time is reversible?” I asked. She just smiled. I felt she was conveying something silently, something more mystical about time than the mere reversibility of its passage.
She handed the book back to me, and I felt like I was holding some great secret. Something Shevek would have understood – like one of his dreams – some mysterious passageway between different moments, as if decades could co-exist in one space, as if things could be old and new at the same time.
I woke up and wanted to tell the dream right away to my fellow litgeeks, but Christmas season has kept me busy. Perhaps its best that I gave the dream a few days to process in my subconscious and digest in my meaning-making consciousness.
What do you think of this dream? Has Le Guin, or Odo, or Shevek made it into your unconscious mutterings as of late?
(1) It’s interesting to note that The Lathe of Heaven is really, itself, a book about dreaming and reality. So it was highly appropriate to meet Le Guin in a dream holding her book about dreaming!