A Letter to Clare Thompson

Dear Clare Thompson,

I’ve been having this recurring dream over the past few months. The dream involves this small tattered paperback book being held up before me as if it is of grave importance. The book has a blue cover and when opened, is covered in handwritten notes.

The first variant of this dream involved me meeting with a favorite author of mine in a bookstore. I sit down next to him and ask which book I need to read. He grabs this book I speak of from the shelf and hands me it to me, saying, “You do not read this book, you learn it.” I thumb through the pages and notice the scribbles of a previous reader, presumably him, and then wake up.

Other variations of the dream involve me being in a bookstore, finding it on the shelf, then through some obscure mechanic of dreamworlds, immediately losing track of it again. I then search for the book in vain, constantly feeling like I’ve found it then losing it again.

In one dream, the book was open before me and the words were ringed with fire. The flames licked off the page, singeing my eyebrows. This book held all the answers to life’s biggest questions. Clearly.

As far as I could tell, I did not own this book and thus, whenever I’d find myself in a used bookstore, which is more frequently than I’d like to admit, I’d search for the book. Fruitless efforts all around.

Months passed. The dreams became less frequent and I gradually forgot about this whole thing.

Oddly enough, the other day, I was going through an old box of my books at my parent’s house at the behest of my mother.

So I was sitting on the floor of the ‘playroom’ tossing books into two piles. Sell and Keep. At the bottom of the box, I found the aforementioned book. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the book from the dream. It had a blue cover and hand writing on the inside of it.

The handwriting was not mine and likely from a previous owner. A friend’s older brother gave it to me in middle school. The same older brother that once bought me a six pack of Coors Light that I nursed for a whole week.

I tried to re-read it, but only made it 20 pages in. The book is dull as sin. I sold it to McKay’s the next day. It will probably slowly decay on the shelf there until fire and brimstone fall from the sky and elephants are brought up on trial to discuss their human rights.

It is called The World of Null-A by A.E. Van Gogt, an old sci-fi book that carries no significance except for its randomness.

Have any funny dreams lately?

Hope you are well,