I woke up just now. In a dream, I'd been sitting beside a young man, not my son, a paratrooper, flying to his drop point. "D-Day started this way," I told him. Just before that, my daughter Lucy had become the new proprietor of a confectionary that had been run by a Korean family. And well before that--hours earlier, maybe--I experienced a scene out of Huck Finn: I was trapped on the raft that had been taken over some nasty figure. I decided I might as well ride along for a while, make my escape later.
At the Book Awards last night--this is no dream--I was happy for my friends and for the community as a whole. But what silliness: toast to the queen, some guy singing "Impossible Dream" onstage, endless unnecessary intros, thank yous and self-congratulations. It's fun to get together, celebrate some books, celebrate some money getting into writers' pockets, but the rest is getting tougher to sit through every year. Grain bought my ticket; I'd never buy one on my own.
There was also a torture scene in the dream (that rambling, serial fragment of a dream): a bunch of us are in a ballroom, the floor of which is slowly pressing toward the ceiling, us with no means of escape. The only question is, whom do we want to die beside. Somehow, later there is one possible escape: a door that opens onto an alley on which a company of Nazis have pointed their machine guns.