> I awoke this morning at 8:01 Irish time… Portentous. I have a special connection to that time. (It is unclear if anyone on earth knows me well enough to know why- though I’ve made no secret of it.) After a fitful night’s sleep, the reality of what I’d experienced hit me like a wave of unimaginable PTSD. I am stunned into an almost zombielike numbness, and deeply, deeply, frighteningly depressed. As I struggle to come to grips with what happened, I find myself inartfully inarticulate to communicate just how devastating it is to me, but I’ll give it a shot:
. Sometimes dreams tell us things we haven’t the courage or perspective to confront without this psychic nudge. Last night’s nocturnal vision was more like an experience than a dream, an exhausting and overwhelming actuality. I woke up with the awful realization that I may be the biggest creative genius I have ever met. (Somehow, I always thought that would be my friends Stuart Vance or Ramiro Martinez, the real artists in the house…) But if my unconscious mind can conjure narratives this lucid, this detailed, this coherent, clever and original, (and it often does, especially when I am visiting Ireland!), then Kanye West has nuthin’ on me! Yeah, I’m quite aware how immodest and megalomaniacal that sounds- almost as though I am channeling The Donald. Nonetheless, it is a rather terrible realization I have come to.
. Why “terrible”? Because if this were true, then I have squandered and wasted my entire life.
. The dream was intelligible, inventive, ironic, and curiously- not told from a first-person POV, as I noticed the impeccable editing indicating a third-person perspective. In it, I was hanging out with my old chum Shannon Vance. We were on bicycles, going to visit my junior high cohort John Mazor who had just resurfaced in my life after an absence of 46 years. He was living in squalor with his brother, wife, daughter and his wife’s sister- all of whom could be described by the terribly rude pejorative as “white trash”. They were dirty and unkempt, seeming petulant and under-educated, and John was their only weary, worn-out breadwinner. But he couldn’t earn enough from his pool-cleaning business to cover the bills and they were on the verge of eviction, with nowhere to go. I remembered that I had an apartment I kept nearby, but seldom used, and invited them to have a look at it, with an eye toward giving them a place to stay until they got back on their feet. But when we got there, the door was unlocked and ajar. Vandals had broken in and trashed the place, making it all but unlivable. In the following scenes, they followed me around, harping on me that I had not done enough for them. Strangely, Shannon had morphed into one of them, his exceptional intelligence and sensitivity suddenly evaporating.
. Disgusted, I tried to escape their clutches, but could not. It became a complicated chase scene through the seemingly endless interior derelict building that appeared to be under construction, or in the process of being prepped for demolition. Every time I thought I’d gotten away, they would corner me again. I would barricade myself in a room. They would break through. I would throw up obstacles between us. They would overcome them. Eventually, they were joined by other people from my past- some of whom, I had completely forgotten about, at least consciously, until that moment. And they had all aged: rounder, balder, wrinkled and weary.
. The story had a false ending- a twist I did not see coming, followed by a coda that revealed a startling secret: IT HAD ALL BEEN AN ELABORATE HOAX! Shannon and John were in on it, as was John’s family who were just playing at ignorance. Theatre cohort Bob Stachowiak revealed himself to be the director, as old friends like Rick Sugerman and Diane Delano and Steven Ferrell came out from behind the scenes to reveal their part in it. Also there: Kevin Spacey! (Though we have never met, we are separated by much less than 6 degrees of separation: He was one year behind me in high school, and I almost went to the same high school, meaning we would have taken drama together.)
. And the dream ended with… closing credits!
. Then I woke up. Almost at once I realized that I had accepted my fate as a defeated man long, long ago, when life just got too complex and demanding for a sensitive man like me to negotiate. Huge expectations were placed upon me as a teenager, when everybody and their uncle seemed convinced they would someday see “The Kevin Keelan Show” on the NBC primetime lineup. I seemed to be the only one who did not share this optimistic viewpoint. Though acting/performing was deemed my greatest talent, I knew I could never face the reality of life as a struggling actor in El Lay. I had suffered from too much family instability and vacillation to tackle the insecurity of the life of an actor, and Hollywood was just too cutthroat and competitive for me. After a childhood of vicious bullying by schoolmates, I needed a more nurturing and supportive environment in which to live my life. So I never really tried to use my most developed and celebrated gift- in effect throwing in the towel before even exploring the possibility. The clever mechanics, wit, vision and surprising humor of this movie-in-my-head, (and many others that preceded it), made me wonder if perhaps, though not sharing the level of Kevin Spacey’s considerable talent, I may have been able to be just as successful as this actor who now makes $600,000 per episode for HOUSE OF CARDS, if I had not accepted defeat from the get-go. I came away traumatized by the realization that I am actually much more talented and inventive than I’ve ever given myself credit for, leaving me deeply, profoundly depressed by this “failure” in my life, and the fact that I have settled for so much less than the possible, never really reaching for the brass ring, because it seemed outside the realm of the “possible”.
… Now, what do I do with THAT?
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