Mar 042011

Something about being in a creative writing program has made my dreams about 48 times more vivid, lately. This is excellent, because it makes me think that even on those days when I don’t have time to write, because of reading and meetings and work and whatever else (ironic, I know), my brain is still taking the raw material of my days and thoughts and bending and shaping it into stories and images. If only the actual writing could happen during my sleep…

The actual brain that the dream came out of.

The other night, I dreamed I was in a vast, dark space, a retro roller rink, but about ten times the size of your usual neon-spray-painted, musty-smelling den. The distant periphery of the place was punctuated with multicolored lights, the ceiling was hundreds of feet up, and – most thrillingly – the place had a wood floor. There was a bout going on, some distance away from me; I think I was visiting my former team, Red Stick Roller Derby, like I did this past January. I couldn’t join in because I’d been away at school. But I wasn’t part of the crowd, either, so I had no access to the long, cloth-covered tables selling beer. I was in some strange limbo; couldn’t even see the jammer line. A nightmare, I know.

I stretched up on tiptoes, trying to get a better look at the action, and when I did, a former teammate – I think it was Turbo Tyke – waved at me from the front of the pack, which was standing on the line, waiting for some official time out to wrap up. And then, suddenly, I was up on toestops, in full gear. I still couldn’t see the game that well, and I still wasn’t on the roster, but there was all that beautiful, black space out there, that broad expanse of floor. I toe-stop-ran out into that space, away from the bout and the thundering crowd, and suddenly I could do all kinds of shit that I’ve never known how to do. I was spinning and leaping like some cross between a Central Park jam skater and Nancy Kerrigan. Those colored lights sped past me far faster than my fastest 25-in-5, and I could skate backward just as fast as forward. And there was all that space and time out there, in which to get better. The bout would go on without me, but I could come back to it whenever I wanted.

It’s just a dream, I know, and here I’m taking my hazy, unconscious impressions and trying to give them the narrative color that will give you that sensation of sailing through the dark, of landing perfectly everytime on that forgiving, wonderfully not-too-sticky wood floor. Of waking up in my bed, feet convinced they have just been freed of the weight of those Riedell 265’s.

When I first started skating, I would twitch in my bed, jamming though pack after pack of dream skaters, trying to work out the mechanics of the thing. Now I just dream about that space and time, and those waiting teammates.

Photo Credits: Author’s Own.


  One Response to “Dream On, Derby Girls”

  1. Last night I had a post-apocalyptic derby dream. I had an orange gun and could become invisible through breath control. And everyone wore roller skates, of course.

    We’ll still be here waiting for you when you’ve made your way through all that space.

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