Dream Books

“Automatic Vaudeville”

I spent May and June 1970 visiting Wolfgang Zuckermann at Stafford Barton, the 40-room manor house in North Devon to which he had retreated after the last season of Sundance and our misadventure with the Caffè Cino. The English summer was soft and beautiful in the quiet countryside. We ate salads of spinach from the half-shattered greenhouses and I learned to milk the goat. The long days ended slowly. I was lost, home life disrupted from both sides by tours and trips, ostensibly living in New York but staying away as much as could. I had just done my play “Captain Jack’s Revenge” at La Mama and had no further plans. Wolfgang kind hospitality offered a much-needed retreat.

Wanting a writing project, as always, I focused on dreams, which felt more significant than anything else that was happening. I write from my own experience, and dreams are as much a part of my experience dreams as waking life, often with heightened affect. I am fascinated by the material they bring up from otherwise inaccessible depths. I love their rich detail and naked immediacy.

Remembering dreams is hard work, but I had nothing else to do. In my cell-like room I would wake up several times in the night to write down dreams; catch a dream at dawn; go back to sleep and have another; take a nap after lunch and have a dream or two. Two years later I shaped this text into a single narrative. Not knowing what to make of it, I never showed it to anyone; but I like it very much. It has now been published by Fast Books and is available by mail-order.

“Not This” (1984/87)

This 178-page text was composed in Westerly, R.I., in 1984, the year my marriage to Michele ended. I reworked it into its present form three years later in New York. Dedicated to the memory of my friend Charles Stanley, it is a more straightforward catalogue of dreams, full of details of everyday married life and work at the harpsichord factory, illustrated with occasional drawings.