I had a significant dream last night. I woke up from it at 4:30 am and said out loud, “Now what does that mean?” In this dream I was on a rural road in a car just outside a small town somewhere in the midwest. My passenger was Rich Egan. As we were driving through the small town, which bordered on a good-sized river, which we could see, I felt that we were blocked from our destination (not clear in the dream) by the river. I stopped at a construction site (two men were working at rebuilding a new bridge) and asked one of the guys if they knew how to get beyond the river. He indicated with his hand a road, and sure enough, once we were on it, we were headed again to our destination. Then I woke up.
Back in the 1970’s I was working with a psychotherapist, Jim McKenna, to become a Transactional Analysis therapist. As part of my training, I had to maintain a counseling group for a year. As I conducted this therapy, I developed a theory about dreams which went something like this: In TA, it is important to see how your early childhood decisions (called scripts) may be helping or hindering you to achieve your adult goals. In therapy, people get a chance use this understanding to undecide, reaffirm or redecide these childhood, and not fully conscious, choices. I noticed that for myself, and for some of my clients, an important decision about a life goal often closely corresponded with a significant dream, which occurred either a day or two before, or a day or two after the actual decision. I used this theory a lot thirty years or so ago, but I have largely forgotten about it, and it has fell into disuse.
Once I arose this morning, I gradually became clearer that this dream about a nebulous journey somewhere with Rich Egan was exactly a dream related to a decision that I had made just the day before. I finally had decided to pay $99 for a year of Apple One-on-One weekly tutoring sessions. I have more than one project in mind, but the biggest goal that I have is learning to more fully use the music capabilities of my computer and my Yamaha P-70 midi piano.
Over my lifetime, I have never been without musical expression, piano- and guitar- playing, singing and songwriting my way through the various phases of my existence here on Spaceship Earth. It comes and goes, but music is both in my soul and in my blood. And, curiously, for a one-time progressive jazz and pop music devotee (think Dave Brubeck, 50s rock, The Beatles, James Taylor) I have ended up with ragtime piano playing and composition as the likely candidate for any enduring musical contribution I have made to the world. No doubt, the world will judge my contributions, but only if my light shines bright enough to be seen. Playing once a month at the Ragtime Rendezvous at Dressel’s Cafe is a start, but to go further, I need a CD or DVD and a good web presence on MySpace or FaceBook.
There is also my involvement with a really exciting new singer, Heidi Clark. We have worked out an easy listening, old standard, and pop book, and have played in a couple of venues. Where this will go and how far, I also don’t know, and it’s too soon to say much more about it. But any newfound technical expertise will help us, that’s for sure. Maybe nothing will come of this new involvement with today’s musical technology. I certainly am approaching it with only a mild amount of energy. But approaching it, I am, and with a renewed sense of purpose. I think this is not bad for someone poised to enter their eighth decade of life this December.
And finally I see why I was making this dream journey with Rich Egan. The truth is that even though he is more than twenty years my junior, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Rich. I think Rich is a fine example of what it means to follow your musical dreams where they lead you—not where someone else thinks you should go. Rich has figured out how to make just exactly the music he is supposed to be making. He won’t compromise his vision and he keeps sharing it with those who have ears to hear.
I’m looking forward to my year of making and producing music. I added a playing drummer to my group: my own drummer, me.