generally inadequate

I was writing the screenplay for my first short film, which would feature two to four original songs, played by the protagonist’s band.  I’d written some lyrics and was sketching out a tune when I realised that my songwriting is basically deeply embarrassing and that given how many actual musicans I know, there wasn’t really an excuse.  I asked my ex, two of my housemates and (I think) a friend of a friend whose band we might see support My Vitriol in a couple of weeks, if they had any songs I could use, or could write me one. The riff from a song that my ex wrote years ago stayed in my head as the dream ended.

Same night.  My art teacher hauled me up to talk about my paintings – she was annoyed that I wasn’t applying myself seriously enough, producing consistent work or looking after the pieces I had produced.  She pointed out that one drawing, on a large sheet of cartridge paper, was torn.  (There is some reality behind this.  In sixth form, I’d roll up large pieces of paper on which I had my pastel drawings, and tuck them under my arm to carry them round the school grounds.  My teacher was scandalised.)

She brought my attention to a number of box canvases, stacked up against one another, which had been painted over the last couple of years. “You see, these are beautiful,” she said.  “But then you’ve got these, which just aren’t the same standard, are they?”

I was pretty impressed myself by the first few.  Did I do those? I’m better than I remembered.  I looked closer.  There was another student’s signature on them. When I looked at the gauche watercolours I’d really produced, I could see that I hadn’t improved since I was sixteen.

Same night, small consolation. I was watching old recordings of our bollywood shows in years gone by, to see that much better dancers than me make mistakes, too.

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too late, too early

Late for my call to go on stage at a performance with my Bollywood dance group.  I was supposed to be the first to walk out, during the blackout betwen numbers, and the other four or five dancers would file on after me.

We’d been called to the wings much too early, maybe fifteen or twenty minutes before we needed to be, and one or two of our team hadn’t arrived yet.  Realising we’d still be ages, I went wandering to find a vending machine or something.

My vantage point as I watched the dream was now in the wings with the other dancers, including the director of our company (who in reality, doesn’t normally perform with us).  The other one or two dancers had turned up, and finally the lights had gone down for us, while dream-Sotto was nowhere to be seen, and, angrily, the others went on without her.

This dream was a conflation of two recent, real performances we did.  For Holi, we premiered a piece we’d (barely) finished learning choreography for two days earlier. One dancer had come down with pneumonia at the last minute.  Our teacher / choreographer performed with us, which she doesn’t normally, and the overall director of the company was in the audience. Last Diwali, I made a complete dog’s beard of a routine we’d done several times before.  I’d been excited to see an old acquaintance – the bhangra teacher who first tuned me in to Indian dance – and I was chatting to him through the open door of his dressing room while we waited in the wings.  Once on stage, we stood in the dark for ages before the technician realised we were ready and turned our lights / music on, and by then I was a mess of nerves and flusterness.

bollywood feet crop 2

If I look beyond the obvious, dance-related meaning, the dream indicates me being trusted to lead an effort or project of some kind – with others relying on me, and / or being observed by a superior – but getting distracted and failing when I didn’t need to (or failing simply by not turning up for duty).

As I wrote the last paragraph, it resonated with an academic project I’m doing with my Dad, who works as a senior lecturer at a university near where I grew up.  I’m in charge of interviewing people for our research, but it’s stalled recently as I’ve got preoccupied with applying to uni and writing this blog. As in dance, so in any day jobs I’ve had, so in academia, I worry not only about being good enough but about letting myself down by sheer absentmindedness or inability to stay focused on any one thing.