On Joan Didion’s “On Keeping a Notebook”

In my dream I wrote in my notebook that I was in love with a man. He lived on the other side of the world and had shaggy brown hair and wore ill-fitting sweaters in awful colors and I wished he would cut his hair and wear different sweaters. In the dream he gave me paintbrushes even though I don’t paint, and I wrote that in my notebook, too. In the dream I loved the paintbrushes.

When I woke up I still loved the paintbrushes but I wanted to look in my notebook to see if I really loved them, or if I just loved him or both or maybe neither. But I couldn’t because the sweaters and the paintbrushes and the man and the notebook were only in my dream and I couldn’t look to see why or what or whom or why I loved.

My friend told me not to tell her about my dreams unless she is in them. Otherwise, she said, they don’t matter.

Maybe, if I kept a notebook, I would know how many paintbrushes there were, or if the ugly sweaters were wool, or how many entries I had written in my notebook. Or maybe in my dream I didn’t count the paintbrushes, or feel the sweaters, or number my entries. And maybe my friend wouldn’t care whether I did or didn’t but maybe Joan would. Maybe Joan would care.