Norman Mailer told me to stop being a fucking pussy.
I went to see him speak at the book festival and asked him a question at the end.
What did he most regret doing, what did he most regret not doing, and which was the bigger regret of the two?
I figured that if learning from somebody else’s mistakes is a rare skill, then the opportunity to learn from the regrets of someone with as many extreme life experiences as him would be doubly valuable.
He agreed to answer candidly but only if I shared my biggest regret with the audience first.
So I recounted a story from when I was 18 that, 26 years later, still lands a punch to the solar plexus of my shame, leaving me emotionally winded.
In return he surprised everyone by saying that he would give his answer to me privately over a bottle of whisky after the lecture.
Then it all gets a bit hazy. I have no recollection of his regrets (fuck!) but at some point in the proceedings before we rolled, steaming and stinking, into Centotre the following morning he definitely told me to stop being a fucking pussy.
The last thing I remember is Tim Read intervening to stop us being thrown out. Fortunately he recognised who I was with and pointed out the social media and associated SEO benefits of having one of the 20th century’s greatest authors on the premises.
What the hell does this dream mean?
More generally what the hell does it mean when you can remember a dream in such vivid detail?
Here’s how I think my bitter and twisted subconscious put the pieces together behind my eyelids.
1) I have been a fucking pussy over the last few days. Way too prone to stifling end of year introspection, with over a week still to go until Hogmanay.
2) I recently read this blog post – Stop Being A Fucking Pussy. The In Over Your Head blog is my most recent RSS subscription. Thanks to Rach for pointing me in it’s direction. You should check it out.
3) I gave a book to someone I care about. We had a brief chat about favourite books and Norman Mailer’s The Naked And The Dead would be somewhere in my top ten. Although the book I actually gave was this one.
4) A client sent me a link to an idea that was very similar to one that we’d discussed earlier this year. Someone else had executed it. We hadn’t. The client described it as an “ah well” moment. I replied that 2011 should be about avoiding “ah well” at all costs. Regret avoidance has been on my mind.
5) Where else but Centotre would you go after an all night whisky drinking binge?
6) I have no fucking idea why my brain flicked through its mental Rolodex of EdCM regulars and decided that it should be Tim that stepped in to help us.
What (the fuck) else could this dream mean?