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>"Sleep won’t be sleep without any book dreams," grumbled Bybee

>In this latest book dream, I had a day off but I had stopped in to do some copying and was hanging out in the Professors’ Lounge, when the main secretary came in. “Would you agree to do a presentation at [something] Women’s University?”

“Where’s that?” The secretary gestured at a map. “Far from Gumi?” she nodded. “Okay, sure. Why not? When?”

“You have to leave now.” With that, she took my arm and propelled me outside and onto a waiting bus.

“But — but I’m not dressed right!” I was wearing my usual — the Missouri Tigers sweatshirt and jeans. “Wait! What am I supposed to talk about in my presentation?”

Little Women!” The bus roared off.

Although the bus ride was over sooner than I would’ve liked, I had a little time to think. Luckily, I had read Little Women since coming to Korea, so I felt fairly fresh. Too bad my Modern Library copy was back at Dorm Sweet Dorm. Surely everyone at the presentation would have read it or have a nodding acquaintance with Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Marmee.

When I got to the university, no one involved with this presentation had ever heard of Little Women. I ran through several dorm-like corridors until I found the university bookstore. The English-language section was as big as your thumb. No copies of Little Women.

What to do? Maybe they’d seen the 1994 movie with Winona Ryder as Jo. I could also mention the other movie versions — the 1933 version with Katharine Hepburn and the 1949 film with June Allyson (!) in the same role. If I could just find a computer, I could print out a brief synopsis of the novel and maybe a short biography of Louisa May Alcott for them to read and follow as I spoke. Maybe also a photo of Alcott.

Then I got the idea that my “odd shelf” was going to consist of All Things Alcott: her novels, her nonfiction, her A.M. Barnard stuff, her sister May’s art and even stuff by Bronson Alcott and anyone connected with him that was a Transcendentalist. What a great idea for an odd shelf! Why hadn’t I put this together years ago?

As the dream ended, the time for my presentation was only moments away, but I was running up and down those corridors again, looking for a copy of the Martha Saxton biography of Louisa May Alcott that I first read in high school.


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