Books, Thoughts

On Completing ‘The Sandman’ Series

Dear Mr. NG,

Earlier this year, I decided to read your Sandman series, which I had had difficulty starting (as you’ll see I mentioned before).  I am happy to tell you that I finished The Wake earlier this week, deeply satisfied as only a satisfied reader can be.  I had gone from being completely terrified of the Corinthian to actually cheering him on in The Kindly Ones.  This reversal, among other emotionally involved moments, are the kind of reactions I love to have while reading.

But my progression from fearful observer to involved reader is probably best described with a dream.  When I started reading the Sandman series, I used to sleep fitfully, feeling I had to be aware of who came near me when I slept.  By the time I reached World’s End, I had the following dream.  The way it progresses may not be too surprising, but I was so involved in the dream that it did not leave me easily when I woke up.  Please consider this telling my small thank you gift to you.

I am “between Heaven & Hell” which is actually an unbelievably large room in the Dream King’s realm.  Either a certain event must happen or a person must not be turned from their path, somewhere outside the Dreaming.  I don’t know which it is or what it is, but this moment is so meaningful that it is symbolized by a small white rabbit.  The rabbit is bouncing around the room a bit lost and underfoot, nearly pressed into the seam of the wall and the floor by the crowd of people in the enormous room.

I have to distract the Dream King so this event can happen.  He knows to an extent that this thing must, regrettably, go forward unimpeded.  But the less he knows the better.  I begin to shout grandly and organize the citizens of the Dreaming into a parade to honor the Dream King. We are all headed out of the kingdom to face the unknown. I do know that the rabbit will follow us to find the way out. I dance, shout and gesture grandly and confidently. Everyone is happily distracted and follows my lead. I cannot easily remember many times in my waking life where I have felt so at ease. As we march out, I worry about the rabbit being stepped on. But I’ve worked so hard to keep everyone distracted that I’m caught up in the illusion and it’s getting harder and harder to find the rabbit. I just have a vague sense that everything is working.

As we reach the gates & go through them, more creatures join me in proclaiming for the Dream King and celebrating our march. Some of them have started to carry red banners. Once we are all outside the gates, I see the Dream King with a small retinue, small against the vastness of the universe. The rabbit is gone, out on its way. I realize how small the entire procession is now that it is outside familiar territory. My excitement starts to fade into worry.

I wake up.