I have always believed in the power of dreams.
And of mothers.
My mother graduated earth school in 2000, her long-standing five pack a day habit finally getting the best of her.
When she died, the thin thread that held my family together like a favorite sweater, pulled through and we were left with no collar to turn towards the cold.
My father, lost and confused, was found by a kidnapping Hunter who whisked him away from us like a mail carrier with an overnight letter to deliver.
So be it, at least I got a great sister to talk about how fucked things are with.
I have spent the last four years trying to find myself. With homesickness as my constant companion, I have made the terrible mistake of looking behind me instead of setting sail for new land.
But I digress.
Back to the power of dreams.
About a week ago, (ironically right about the time I had given up on God, Jung, and other metaphysical comforts) I asked for guidance before nodding off to sleep.
As my closed eyes moved like little dancing mice and my unconscious went into overdrive, I began to dream.
I am standing in my place of work, selling potions and notions and hope.
As I do.
The phone rings, and a co-worker hands it over to me. I notice that he has a copy of the Hollywood Reporter under his arm. Strange behavior for an herbalist. I tell him that I am with a customer. He says, “I’ll take care of that, you need to hear this”.
I pick up the phone.
“Hello”, I say.
The voice on the other side is clear as day.
She says, “Do You Know Who This Is?”
“Yes”, I say…voice quivering.
“Pull it together kid, I don’t have long and I need you to hear what I have to tell you.”
Now I know it’s her.
“It’s really me”, she says. I can hear her inhaling on a cigarette…(they let you smoke in heaven).
She continues… “Here’s the deal. Knock off all that healer jazz and put all your eggs in the acting basket”.
I say, “Huh?"
“Do you understand?”, she says.
“I think so”, I say.
“Don’t think. Turn around.”
I do, and on the shelf behind me is a bottle of herbs. On the label it says, “Golden Voice”.
My mothers voice pulls me back into the reality of the dream. She says, “I’ll see you later Charlie Brown”…click.
This is more than just a pet name. You see, when I was seven, I was the voice of Charlie Brown. And I made some gold with my voice alright. Plenty of it, in fact.
The dream morphs into me driving up the coast with my girlfriend. I am in my white Volvo. She asks me how I am feeling.
“I am a little scared right now.” I say, starting to cry.
“What do you think of what your mother said”?
“I don’t know, what if this is just a dream? I mean, if it was really her, wouldn’t the blackbirds have come?”.
Years earlier, as my mother was dying, I had several prophetic and psychic dreams. All involved blackbirds, and all preceded miracles that occurred while awake.
As I say this in the dream, the car is swarmed by blackbirds. They flock around the car, turning it’s fading white paint to shiny black. Suddenly the car is a black BMW. My first car, the car that I had when I was at the height of my acting career.
I begin to feel very frightened in the dream.
She says, “Look at yourself, you have the power right in the palm of your hands”.
I pull down the familiar Bavarian Motor Works passenger visor and see that I look like Gandalf the wizard. No, actually I look like Robert Eastman, who looks like Gandalf. For those who don’t know, Easton is a world famous voice actor and dialogue coach.
My white whiskered appearance does not shock me. In fact, I am comforted by it. I am wearing a green cloak (the color of money). My hands begin to feel hot and I look down at them. White light is pouring from my palms and illuminating the car. I say, “In the name of the light, fly!” and the birds scatter to the wind. The former dark night turns to day and the radio blares the Beatles favorite, “Here Comes The Sun”.
I was only waiting for this moment to arrive.
Wait, that’s another song.
Anyway, the next day, in the “real world”…I am standing with the same co-worker that handed me the phone in the dream. We are buying some incense at a metaphysical bookstore. As we are waiting, I notice a card on the counter.
Wizard. Green Cloak. White Beard. Raven.
Cue the twilight zone music…
That night, I dream again. I am sitting at a voice over audition. The director comes in (Hollywood Reporter under his arm) and looks not at me, but at the person next to me. He says, “isn’t he a little old for a stage mother?”.
The lady next to me says, “I’m not a stage mother. I’m HIS mother”.
Mom turns to me and says, “I just wanted to make sure you understand me buster”.
Yep, it’s really her.
“You can act, right?”, she says.
“I think so”, I say.
“No, I’m not asking! I’m telling…YOU CAN ACT! WRITE!”.
She hands me a book face down. My picture is where the author shot is. I am the author. The Blurb says, “Donavan Freberg is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles & New York”.
She says, “It’s really me.”
She hands me a Blackwing pencil…these were my father’s favorites, and he kept them in a dancing Ritalin dispenser on his desk. On the side of the pencil was the slogan, “"Half The Pressure, Twice The Speed”.
I love that.
“Mark your lines and make your mark”, she says, handing me a script…
I wake up.
That night, I dream again…
I am at home. The phone rings. I pick up.
“Third times the charm”, says the smoky voice of my mother.
“I don’t have any money”, I say… “I’m broke”.
“You’re barking up the wrong career tree. Your talents are a gift from god, what you do with them is your gift to god.”
This saying was on a sign that hung above my fathers typewriter, I used to sit below him, playing with Legos as the keys clacked and the blackwing danced commercials onto his yellow legal pad.
“Look in your wallet”, she says.
I open my wallet, and find that it is stuffed with a huge wad of cash. I finger the cash. Hundreds. Every note of legal tender is a Ben Franklin greenback.
“How?”, I say.
“Lay all your cards on the table kid. Do that and you won’t be broke for long”.
“What cards?”, I ask her.
“The cards in your wallet”, she says, laughing. She coughs her signature smokers cough.
It is indeed, really her.
I look in my wallet. The spaces where my ATM card and drivers license and such used to be, are now occupied by shiny orange Screen Actors Guild cards. My name is on every one of them.
MEMBER SINCE 1981
Twenty four years at the microphone.
All the eggs. One basket.
“I love you.”, she says.
“I love you too, mom”, I say, tears running down my face.
“Haste makes waste kiddo, stop figting your genes, get back to the studio and do what comes naturally”, she says… “You can ACT, WRITE!”.
I hang up the phone, and as I put it back in it’s charging cradle I notice a stack of magazines. All Hollywood Reporters.
I wake up.
That day, I am standing in line at the grocery store. My cel-phone rings and my roommate, out of the blue on the line, says, “Those Encyclopedia Commercials You Did Are Hilarious! Why aren't you acting anymore?”
I notice that the man in front of me looks just like the John Robert Eastman/Gandalf/Donavan Freberg guy in my dream. My eyes drop to his shirt.
In a post-modern-eternal sunshine of the spotless mind-deconstructing Donavan moment, I realize that his shirt is a print of the card I saw in the bookstore.
Light Shooting From His Palms.
He smiles at me.
I feel nauseous.
“Paper or plastic?”, the cashier asks him.
“Oh, it’s just the magazine, I’ll carry it”, he says.
Yep, you guessed it.
Today, I opened up a box containing some of my mothers things, rescued before my father went into the dark woods.
I reached in and pulled out the first thing on top.
On a cocktail napkin.
Scribbled in my mothers familiar cursive, beneath a coffee stain, were these good words etched forever in Blackwing pencil…
“Go For Your Dreams!”
Anyone know a good agent?