Some Dreams are like Country Music


“Some Dreams are like Country Music” is a kind of secret book and soundtrack made for all you lonesome cowboys/girls/humans. It’s made small so you can tuck it into your saddle bag, together with other dessert essentials like a photo of grandma and a sweet harmonica. And on a sleepless night as you lie down under a moonlit sky…you can reach for it to keep you company.

Ok, I translate. 


“Some Dreams are like Country Music” is an art book. It is a collaboration between ampulets and leather artist Tze Ling @secondnatvre.

I wanted to make something small, physically and artistically. I thought it was time, after all the elaborate projects the last couple of years, to make a small book of tiny drawings and mini stories with a very clean, compact emotional palette, one that you can hide inside you. Like the lyrics of a song. 8 dreams: fiction and small fancies I don’t dare to call poems. (Watch the video in Image3)

There is also a QR code where you can download a playlist of songs I have selected for each story. It’s a mixtape I have made for you. 

Tze Ling of SecondNatvre hand made, stamped and painted every single leather cover. It comes in a “Day” or a “Night”version (image 1&2 by TzeLing). Each cassette case is covered in one of these individually-painted veg tan leather cover. She has also foil-stamped all the text and a drawing I made. I’ll share some videos of her process and how the 2 versions came about in another post! 

“Some Dreams are like Country Music” was launched at the 2023 Singapore Art Book Fair @singaporeartbookfair 14-16 April. 

It is *SOLD OUT*. But I've reproduced 2 of the pieces (text only) below.



The first piece in the book is "Waking Up". (I do not reproduce the drawing in this post)
To be read with the song "Dreaming my dreams with you", Lyrics by Allen Reynolds (1971), Performed by Cowboy Junkies (1988). This song was first recorded by Waylon Jennings in 1975, a version that sounds more conventionally "country". Cowboy Junkies gave the song a more wistful arrangement and tune, which I much prefer.

Waking Up

 

You asked me what is my dream.

It didn’t strike me as odd to be asked this

first thing in the morning light.

Pure and white – yet it does not

expose, it picks no fight,

only gentleness and – possibilities.

I answered you with a certain fancy.

My dream is to live like art;

always asking questions and

never bored with probable answers;

free and somewhat exotic

to the common man

who craves but fears the uncommon.

My dream is to watch over

a library organised

in a manner of my invention

that whoever seeks a book

must ask or else find their own 

mystery.

And more. 

I gave you more 

dreams yet to be lived.

You listened with the silence

     of a saint 
     As I finished soaking up

the breakfast sun on my naked face,

I turned to you / 

                         your bewildered grin said

last night I had sworn aloud in my sleep,

wrestled monsters (or something big),

and after all was fought and won,

chuckled and sunk into a quiet deep.

What you had meant to ask was what did I dream,

a dream you wanted also to be in.

 

How is it we wake in a world

bathed in such clarity yet

we wonder 

about scenes birthed in darkness

or seek time’s unseen – 

How in one same light

you and I can see such different

ends. 


The second piece in the book is "In your dreams". (I do not reproduce the drawing in this post) Folks have asked if the "dreams" in this little book are real. They are fiction. But this piece is as close to a real dream as it gets. 

To be read with the song "Blue Moon", Lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (1934), Performed by Elvis Presley (1956) Bob Dylan Sng a great version of this song too, with a lovely fiddle solo.

In your dreams
 
The classic rock and country concert was held in a junkyard or what looked like an abandoned mine. Trucks, dirt bikes and fast cars were parked on the sides of an open pit of red dust. Their drivers and passengers were scattered about. They weren’t the rough sort, contrary to their vehicles and the setting. The men and women both wore tuxedo jackets with leather lapels over lace dresses or crisp white shirts, and someone of their own particular gender was in a silky black slip and tall cowboy boots.
 
I didn’t feel out of place in this company but I don’t think I was wearing any tuxedo, leather or lace. The thing is, you never remember what you are wearing in a dream –unless it is one of those naked dreams, in which case you will not be wearing much at all. Well, this was not one of those naked dreams. It was – thank goodness – also not turning into a zombie dream. 
 
 Then the music started. 
Oh, that lone electric guitar - it took its time to finish its whine. Four rhythmic taps followed. Was it the heel on the wooden stage, the edge of a snare drum, or a finger against the mic? The voice was low and smooth, the way a milkshake would sound if milkshakes made music. The skies suddenly turned dark or perhaps it was, all along, already night. Sight plays such tricks in dreams. Your mind makes visions as quickly as it can, drawing up a world that is seen without light. So, let us say that it was night, or more specifically, just after midnight.
 
I was walking somewhere. I remember the sound of my shoes on the dirt. Yes, I was trying to get closer to the stage, to that voice. Someone was holding my hand. I looked and it was a stranger. Why do strangers appear in our dreams with faces and personalities as if we know them? I knew you, stranger, holding your hand – I knew you even then – as I know you now. 
 

I said to you, “that’s Elvis, isn’t it? It’s always Elvis!” 

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