I dreamt about a literary agent whom I’ve never met, but who I follow on Twitter. The setting was a very highbrow conference in a posh hotel. My dream the agent was all suave and witty, with an Australian accent, like Clive James, but he looked more like Keith Richards, and he was smoking, with balloon of cognac in his other hand. I had been invited to teach a yoga lesson, and was feeling extremely honoured. But the lesson was disastrous. There were hundreds of people, and they wouldn’t stop talking, wouldn’t pay attention, kept leaving their mats and walking around. The agent wasn’t interested in doing yoga. He leaned against the wall, drunk, and a bit dishevelled, having a good time at my expense. He watched me as I got cross, swilling his brandy, one eyebrow raised. When I lost my temper completely, thereby totally humiliating myself, the agent got out a notebook and jotted something down.
I woke up with a racing heart, and got that flood of relief, realising none of it had actually happened. Late that evening, the dream still very much with me, I decided to tweet about it. “Dreamt about @xxxx,” I wrote. “A strange cross btwn Clive James and Keith Richards. Is he like that in real life?” Then I went to bed.
I woke up with a racing heart; terrified that my tweet had broken Twitter protocol; that it just wasn’t on to tweet you dreamt of a real person you hadn’t ever met. Especially when that person is a towering literary agent, who may or may not get round to reading your paltry manuscript. I don’t know what I was expecting to find, exactly. Handslaps from others, from the agent himself, a notice from Twitter closing my account. Of course there was nothing, no retweets, no mentions, no notices. But instead of coming to my senses, realising that it would have only gone out to my handful of followers, my heart raced even faster. It was a DISDAINFUL silence! Everyone in the publishing world had read it, somehow, and had been sickened by my presumptuousness. I was now famous as the woman who stooped so low as to not only dream about the agent, but then tweet her dream. What an appallingly transparent attention-seeking ploy!
I tried to pull myself together, and forget about my stupid tweet, but couldn’t concentrate on anything. Wrote an email to a friend who had met the agent, asking if she’d seen my tweet. She hadn’t, but she went and had a look. “Ha-ha,” she wrote back. “No, he’s not like that at all.” She sent me a photo of him, to prove it. I wrote another email, to my new friend, Emma Shevah, telling her about all sorts of things, but majoring on the Twitter incident. She wrote back: “Don’t worry about your tweet. It was innocuous. If you’d @xxxx’d him, so he saw it too, maybe that would have been embarrassing. But the good (and bad) thing about Twitter is that it’s like a constant wave and it all washes away.”
This morning I woke up with a normally beating heart. I was over it. I had breakfast, and then went to teach a yoga lesson. When I got back to the house and opened up my computer, I decided to have a look at that tweet, see if I’d put the @ in or not. Just to check.
The tweet had completely disappeared.