So it’s 6 a.m. and I’ve just woken from a dream that made me inordinately happy, and I don’t know if this is going to make any sense because the tendrils of the dream are still hanging about me like a fog, but I need to get this down before it evaporates in the light of day, so here goes.
In the dream, Neil Gaiman was visiting Singapore, and we got to properly hang out this time, before a bookstore event where he was promoting Unnatural Creatures, the anthology that he just recently edited, and underneath the bookstore was a vast aquarium, and as we admired all the different species of fish, we chatted about all manner of things, and it was easy and normal and the opposite of what such a fanboy moment would be in real life, but after a while, I realized I had run out of things to ask him. Fortunately, at that exact moment, without transition, we appeared in the bookstore upstairs, a gigantic bookstore, like Kinokuniya on Orchard Road times ten, and of course the crowds were huge but he kept letting me hang around nearby, close enough to hear as he picked up his mobile phone and urgently left a message: “Terry, I don’t know if you’re there, but I really want you to come down if you can.”
And then, moments later, again without transition, Terry Pratchett was running in from another part of the bookstore, and Neil ran up and gave him a big hug and a kiss, and thanked him effusively for making it to the event, because in dream logic of course Terry Pratchett would also be in Singapore at the same time, and he was wearing braces on his teeth that glinted from the harsh fluorescents overhead, and one of his incisors was missing, but he couldn’t stop smiling as he caught his breath. As the two of them settled into their seats, because naturally the bookstore had provided chairs for the both of them, the enormous crowd (including me) sat down to listen, and I was so caught up in the moment that I missed the first part of what Terry was saying, and then suddenly realizing that he had said my name and the title of a short story, and that he wanted me to read this story as part of the event, and that Neil had put him up to this so that I could be a part of things too, and that Terry was holding out a napkin to me with six lines of about fourteen words.
I took the napkin, and then started scrolling through the screen on my phone to find the story that Terry had mentioned, a story that, only in my dream, had recently been published to great acclaim in The Straits Times, and I was searching and searching and realizing I was holding up the entire event and everyone was staring at me to just get on with it, and then I felt a bit resentful for being put on the spot with no preparation before understanding that the napkin Terry had handed to me had the entire story printed on it, those six lines of about fourteen words, and upon that understanding I stood up, and smiled at Neil and Terry, and raised the microphone that was now in my hand, and started to speak, to thank these two amazing authors for being part of their event, for letting me share my own writing with everyone assembled, just beginning to get the words out, overwhelmed with the feeling of contentment and bliss.
And then I woke up.