Last night I had a dream about Stephen Sondheim, noted locutionist, lexicographer, and philologist, and so I thought it the perfect opportunity to meet the challenge a few friends (queerplungers all, who use me to acquire the coin of mockery for themselves) had presented to me (found here) about using 18 obsolete words (marked in bold) in a column. Here goes…
Most of my dreams of late have been markedly unpleasant, which might be attributed to my excess of waking-stress or my reluctance to groak alongside my gourmand pal on our nightly I-Hop visits and thus over-indulging in rich sausages and ripe cheeses too close to bedtime – so perhaps I am, after all, a practitioner of tyromancy – but nevertheless, the waking from such irksome, unlovely scenarios results in a curglaff requiring much coffee; but often I am so shaken by the nightmarish adventures, my java is jirbled all over the counter, or into my lap, prompting me into a deeper pussyvan than that in which the chimera-echoes have already left me. Most of those slumberland hallucinations are less than Englishable – at least, they defy the skills of this beef-witted bookwright, and so I don’t share them. However, last night’s fancy of the shuteye was a wonder-wench of delight from which I awoke all a-tingle (and no, filth minds, it had nothing to do with liaisons with multiple snoutfairs) and so this spermologer must take advantage of such a nocturnally pleasing event by writing about it.
As is often the case in my dreams, I was in a large building which was a dream-world cross between the elementary school library and high-school-halls of my past and a theatre. In this particular case, I was also a magical combination of many ages I have been: somehow I was seventeen and in my early twenties and too, my current age, all at once sometimes and then, at other times, just one or another of those ages, but always, my age was liquid; somehow I was all things, all times.
There was the casting and rehearsal of a show going on, also all at once, and this was happening in the huge library. The floor was ancient, well and long-trod until transparent hardwood, faded to the blondish, sepia tone through which one could see. The floor radiated the warmth of history, as do the pages of a much loved, much read, much aged book; and despite its onion-skin/parchment paper quality, there was no fear it would not hold up.
In this library were many people I have known – though upon waking I remembered only that I knew them, and not who they were – and there was a general aura of these being people who were investing a lot of energy in judging me; the sense that this was being done with an obstinancy, an insistence on their own agenda-driven storylines, executing their judgments with an emotional and verbal fervor and vigor that could not be shaken – no matter the truth of things – not unlike the resistentialism displayed by that piece of furniture on which one repeatedly stubs one’s toe – it is there, it won’t move, and one has no choice but to try to remember to avoid it.
But in no time (for there is no time, not really, and nowhere is that more clear than in the reveries of the noctambulations of the unfettered imagination) I was seated on a large, over-stuffed Victorian sofa by the icon of all icons, Mr. Stephen Sondheim. Somehow I was at once the soda-squirt nobody of my seventeen year old self, the zafty about whom all the others in the room were whispering and snidely aside-ing, and too, this much matured, distingue, almost visibly lunting eminence – a prominence and honor bestowed upon me by my connection to the great and glorious genius of Mr. Sondheim.
For, in this dream, Stephen loved me. All at once I was the young man over-awed and convinced I was un-deserving of his affection. He sensed this and put his arm around me, drew me into him, and spoke – pontificated even – being obviously much-loved and respected by everyone there – and, through his actions, making it a condition of his continued presence that they accord me some respect, a break, a listen. And too, Stephen and I were a long-time couple; husband and husband who had been bound through the years, even during those lifetimes when having gone on separate, much-divergent directions, California widows both, we had maintained our love, our connection.
I was filled with such a feeling of worthiness. I was filled with such a joyful abundance of knowing I was seen by someone, recognized at the soul-level by someone like Mr. Sondheim: I was with squirrel with self-esteem and confidence, a gift given by being loved, being wanted, being claimed and proclaimed by someone so wise, so talented, so sensitive, so empathetic, so aware of the rushes and ebbings of the emotional tides of the Universe; given solace and certainty by the fact that he, Stephen Sondheim, loved me.
It was a wonderful dream. I woke this morning with a beaming smile on my face and my heart nearly bursting with a satisfaction I have only very rarely and oh too very briefly felt in my “real” life.
My real life: a life made immeasurably more pleasurable by the works of my dream-husband, Mr. Stephen Sondheim. Do you think he might love me if I told him that I’d played Sweeney Todd and Marta? Might he deign to share a dinner with me if he knew how I worship “Merrily” and how I waited decades to direct it until I thought I could at least not embarrass myself when doing so? Oh Stephen, many have been the hours I have enjoyed the genius of your works; watching them, listening to them, performing in them, directing them, reading about them, quoting them, trolling them on YouTube, talking about them with friends. In real life I have been in your presence only a few times, and only at a distance, across the footlights at a theatre, or, once, you sat in the balcony while I sat in the orchestra seats. Even then, even from a distance, the dream-come-true of sharing oxygen with you – Mr. Sondheim – a man of such depth and vision of spirit and heart that you could write such brilliant beacons of emotional, cosmic truth into being such as “Merrily We Roll Along” and “Follies” and “Company” and “Sweeney Todd” and . . . I could go on, but, I won’t.
I won’t because I want to take a nap. I want to get back to the dream where Stephen and I are a couple. I worshipped him before, but now that he has crossed the line from my waking reality to wedding me in my dreams, I am even more in his debt.
Well there you go, my challenging friends, all 18 obscure words fit in, and handily, thanks to a gift given me by my husband, Mr. Stephen Sondheim. Now, if only he’d go to sleep (or wake up?) and marry me a little himself!