Last night I dreamt about giving a speech to thousands of people at a conference on a cruise ship — I don’t know what the conference was for — and I didn’t have any notes other than a textbook with very tiny print, that I somehow thought I could summarize as I went along. And I was reading the textbook and improvising the speech, but it all came out garbled and the main point I seemed to be getting across was: Life is a journey. You should travel it with an open mind and open heart. I was telling anecdotes about trips I’d taken and being mildly humorous, and the crowd was chuckling and nodding politely. But I became more and more frustrated at my inability to put these vague proclamations and mismatched stories into concrete, authoritative listen-to-me language with a real message. And then I turned around behind me and realized there was an entire other side to the auditorium filled with people whom I’d had my back turned to the whole time, who were all eating brown bag lunches and looking bored. And suddenly my time was up, and I had to close the textbook. Then the next speakers, three men in white lab coats, took the stage and brought with them a projector and a shiny white iMac and they wore spectacles and an air of authority and it was clear who was going to be the better presenters. I felt rattled and skinny and stepped down from the stage wondering how I’d lost an opportunity to convey something So Very Important.