18 May 2009


Last night I had the strangest dream. In the dream, I was searching through some writing on which I was working for a missing page; a page somewhere in the middle had become lost, and I could no longer work on the piece without that missing page. I remember leafing thrugh the pages, turning over the last ordered one (as if the missing page had been typed on the back of it), and shuffling through the front pages as if the missing page were merely misplaced.

At the moment, I am not working on any writing, and so perhaps my dream represents either a writer’s block dream, or a writer’s dream dream! If the former, then I must feel in my writing life somewhat . . . stuck. I am afraid to sit down and struggle with almost anything that would require some intellectual effort. I think right now I don’t have any spare reserve to use for my writing. I am at best distracted, and at worst, well, incapable of devoting any imaginative effort to anything but daily functioning. So much seemingly that needs to be done that I cannot imagine even an hour devoted almost selfishly to writing.

But perhaps the dream means that I am searching for a writing project, and that the missing page is the page I should be writing now. Perhaps even this is that page.

I once wrote a paper on S.Y. Agnon’s story “The Book That Was Lost.” In that essay I talked about how my reading is motivated by a vague search for the answer to an unasked question (a borrowing here from Thoreau’s Walden). I argued that the answer for my life was always in the book that was lost, and so I have made it my life’s quest to the search for that book. When I find it, I will know.

Of course I realize that any answer is useless without the right question, and as suggested above, the question is yet unknown and unasked.


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