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Anxiety

11 June 2004

Another thing Iíve said before, I do try not to talk about my dreams, either here or in the too-too solid flesh. Our own dreams are fascinating, but only to us; other peopleís dreams are universally dull, except to them. This I like, though, for its rarity value:

I have a gig in ten days, where a bunch of writers will be reading their stories to a musical accompaniment. I have, I confess, been anxious about this, as itís a new venture with people I donít know, and anxiety is something I do well. So I go to bed, I go to sleep, and I have one of those classic anxiety dreams. You know the kind of thing - youíre on stage and you donít know your lines, youíre in an exam and you can remember nothing about the subject, youíre anywhere at all in public without your trousers. My traditional one - being a non-driver who has never learned the art - is that Iím suddenly behind the wheel of a car and having to make my way across a city. But last night, not. Last night was specific, it was about this very gig, which is unusual in itself; everything was ready, we were backstage waiting to start, and I realised I had forgotten my text. By this time it was slightly unclear whether we were in Newcastle or New York, but either way it was out of reach before the gig would start. Building panic, to that hysterical pitch where usually I wake myself up - but this time someone said ĎNo, itís okay, you e-mailed a copy to us, remember? Weíll just print that off, and weíre sorted.í

So when was the last time you had an anxiety dream where the problem was actually solved for you? Maybe I wasnít so anxious after all.

Except that that was last night, and Iíve just found out that actually they donít want me to read at this gig, just to host it. Which gives rise to a whole new level of anxiety, because of course hosts donít have texts. So now I donít need to be asleep and nothing needs to go bizarrely wrong, I can panic perfectly well as things are.


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© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.