I had a dream the other day. And this is the honest-to-goodness truth. I had a dream the other day that Paul Simon … you know, Paul Simon from Simon & Garfunkel? Okay, so maybe many of you born after 1985 don’t know, but here you go: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Simon.
CliffNotes Summary: Paul Simon is a treasured American musical icon loved by virtually all (well, except for maybe Art Garfunkel apparently). He boasts a career that has spanned 7 decades, countless musical hits (Bridge Over Troubled Water, Still Crazy after all These Years, Mrs. Robinson, Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover, etc.) …
… and even has 18, yes eighteen, Saturday Night Live appearances among his many credits.
In my dream, that Paul Simon was trying to fight me.
And not a young man version of Paul Simon. No, the current nearly 80-year old, 5’3”, 150-pound version Paul Simon. No shit. And I mean, like a real fight.
There he was, Paul Simon, taunting me as a pack of onlookers crowded around like some sort of bizarre school playground scene, all presumably waiting to see Paul Simon kick my ass. For what reason, only the dream gods know.
I remember waking up at some point after Paul Simon poked my chest and asked me if I was “feeling froggy.” I immediately nudged my fiancé to tell her about my dream.
It was just so random.
Thoroughly unimpressed, she turned away and muttered something unintelligible to me … I can only assume it was for me to go back to sleep.
But I couldn’t shake it. Paul Simon wanting to go fisticuffs? What the hell is that about? How do you even begin to psychoanalyze something like that?
Dreams, they’re a funny thing, right?
Of course, many articles have been written about the phenomena of dreams. Some say they are a window into our subconscious—those repressed needs and fears that lie just beneath our proper exterior.
Others say they may be a more practical mechanism that allow us to process our thoughts and problems of today, whatever those may be at any given moment.
And still others say that they aren’t anything at all, apart from random brain impulses that are ignited when our brains finally enter that ultimate REM sleep state, when we come as close as possible to separating ourselves from the reality that is our everyday lives.
In short, who the hell really knows? Dreams are a mystery. And, it is perhaps because they are such a mystery, that they were a constant theme during our initial collaborations with the participating youth. Time and time again, just about every youth we initially worked with during those collaborations would reference dreams as part of their story or character ideas. No other theme was as prevalent.
It was in that context that I would begin to think perhaps there was a way to use the mystery of dreams to connect each of these youths’ seemingly disparate ideas into one common narrative? And by doing so, maybe create a storyline that we could continue to build upon with other youth?
But how to do that exactly … well, that’s where I would struggle.
By that time, I had conducted countless interviews with the initial participating youth. I worked with professional artists to produce corresponding concept sketches and illustrations based on those interviews and collaborations. And I had even developed some initial working scripts.
But something was most definitely missing. And creatively, I had hit an impasse.
And as I would think about it later, perhaps that’s what Paul Simon represented in my dream? This creative giant (figuratively speaking of course) mocking my own creative ineptitude? And the youth that surrounded us during our showdown? Well, of course, perhaps they represented the participating youth as I struggled to bring their ideas to some sort of project reality.
Of course, alternatively, the dream could have just been a product of those random brain impulses right before I entered some needed REM sleep. But what was clear, as I was dreaming about getting my ass kicked by Paul Simon, is that I needed help.
Okay, let me be more specific. I needed help on the project. Thank you very much.
And on that score …
enter Len Kody, and introducing: The Back of the Yard Comic Series.