Tuesday, April 26, 2005

I'm your #1 fan

I was 21 or so when I fell in love. It was a pure, spiritual, intellectual love, not one weighed down with the confusion of lust or the ache of real desire. I didn’t require reciprocation. It was clear-eyed but heart-pounding, like the kind of crushes I regularly developed on my favourite professors. (I didn’t want to kiss them or sleep with them. I just wanted to listen to them go on and on, being all smart like that, being all enthused about what they studied, being so encouraging and engaging.) Anyway, it was my good friend Paul, who couldn’t believe we hadn’t really met before yet, who set me up with him. I fell for him fast and hard.

But I was almost 30 before I finally saw Elvis Costello in concert.

Here is where I go into a blissed-out reverie about how fabulous he was live.

And then that night, after the concert, I had the Best Fan Dream Ever.

I dreamt that Elvis and I were out for coffee, you know, me and Elvis, buddies, just shootin’ the shit. We were sitting in a cafe and he was telling me about his upcoming marriage to Diana Krall. (I listened patiently, happy that my friend had found a true love he was happy about, though I didn’t know much about her or particularly like her music.) Anyway, I told him about how things were at work, and mentioned that I was writing a lot of poetry on the side. “Poetry?” he said. “Yeah, I dabble a little,” I said. “Do you have any of it with you that I could read?” he asks. “Sure,” I say. And I reach under the little round café table where I discover my hands going straight to a five-inch stack of papers bound with a big rubber band that I suddenly just happen to have with me. I completely unselfconsciously heave it up on the table in front of him and explain “Some of it I’m still working on.”

So then Elvis, totally unperturbed by the ridiculous volume of material I’ve just presented to him, demonstrates his own capacity for friendly patience by reading through a bunch of it, and as he does, he gets more and more animated and excited (in a completely together, low-key, super-cool mature-musical-innovator-and-new-wave-punk-rocker kind of way). He says in a low voice “This is all very good. I think I could work with this actually.” Then he looks at me and says quite seriously, “I think I have my next album here. Normally I like to work with my own words, but I’d really like to use yours and just write the music.” And in the dream I was so flattered and excited and totally pumped.

So, I slowly woke up toward the end of this dream, and there was a moment where I was both still dreaming and totally aware that I was dreaming, so by the time I was actually awake, I was giggling out loud at the sheer awesomeness of my dream. What nerve I had! How delighted I was that Elvis wanted to work with me! How completely prepared I was to collaborate with him like it was the most natural thing in the world!

It’s a great day when you can wake up laughing like that.

And while I’ve got that loving feeling going on, I’ll just quickly confess to my former profs Drs. Menkis, Arbel, Mulholland, and Oberoi -- even the memory of being in your classes still makes my heart go pitter-pat.


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