Rita Abrams is the composer of the international
hit pop single "Mill Valley," and winner of numerous awards including
two Emmys. Abrams and Stan Sinberg created For Whom The Bridge Tolls, an
original musical-comedy revue that has played in the San Francisco Bay Area for
four years, and is due to re-open in San Francisco in May 1999.
We were having lunch in an Italian restaurant in Mill Valley, California. The
rain stopped and the sun shone on the blue inlet. Through the dangling willow
branches boats meandered by Mt. Tamalpais. With me was Rita Abrams, talented
composer, lyricist, producer, greeting card writer, product namer, author,
singer, humorist, copywriter and as I was about to learn, dreamer.
Electric Dreams: Welcome to cyberspace, Rita. Thanks for coming. I already
know you sometimes have dreams that have special meaning for you. Please tell us
Rita Abrams: The first one that comes to mind is one where there is this very
witty woman in a bus and she is saying all these brilliant things and they are
just flying off her tongue. And I think to myself, "I wish I could be that
smart." And when I woke up I thought, "isn't that hilarious? I was
that smart, everything in the dream was coming out of my brain." And in the
dream I envied this woman for her intelligence. And it was me! [laughing] I
thought that was quite wonderful.
ED: Great, that's a classic. Any other particularly memorable dreams?
RA: I once read that the Gestalt school believes that whatever you dream is
an aspect of you. At that time I had a dream that I am riding in my mother's
white-red Chevy Impala convertible. Someone later said "be the
convertible." I said, "I'm open ... unprotected, and anyone can ride
me and use me however they want to. And nobody appreciates it." It was
ED: Have you ever had a precognitive dream?
RA: I had one very powerful experience in which one night I dreamt that my
house was being robbed. I was living alone at the time in a house in the woods.
And it was such a powerful dream that I awoke and went upstairs to see if my
television and stereo were still there. And then I went back to sleep. It was
just a dream.
The next night I came in; it was 3 am, I was getting ready for bed, I looked
at my window, and it had been forced open. And I went upstairs and called the
police thinking that the person might still be around; the police came and said
"where's your television and your stereo?" And I started screaming
"you won't believe this, you won't believe this -- this is exactly what I
dreamed last night!" And he looked at me as if to say [sarcastically]
"Yeah right lady, right." But it was a very amazing predictive dream.
ED: I'd like to ask you a little more about the brilliant lady in the bus
dream. Can you tell me what your perspective was and where she was and what she
RA: I just now remembered what she said. This is a whole other element of it.
The bus driver was kind of putting me down or being bossy and she shouted to me
"why are you so willing to be talked at?" And I thought "oh my
God." Isn't that brilliant? I never would have thought of that consciously.
And that's when I said, "wow I wish I were that smart." That I could
say something like that, that fast. And of course it was very true.
ED: Can you tell me about the driver's or lady's clothing or complexion? Or
was the focus of the dream more on the dialogue and less on the visuals.
RA: Dialogue, yeah.
ED: Is that typical for your dreams?
RA: Definitely much more verbal that visual when I think about it now.
ED: Do you ever hear music in your dreams?
RA: Yeah, a lot. And I'll write things in my dreams -- funny things, good
things. And I'll wake up with the solution to some kind of creative problem.
ED: How do your dreams help you with your creativity as a songwriter?
RA: Sometimes my dreams will give me a song title. I'll wake up in the
morning with a song title which I'll then write a song about. One example of
that was waking up and hearing the phrase from my dream which was "On the
phone again" sung to the melody of Willie Nelson's "On the Road
Again." So just like that it came to me and I called Elmo and I said we
have to write the song "On the Phone Again." We wrote a whole very
funny song about this woman yakking on the phone.
ED: What else do your dreams give you?
RA: Sometimes dreams will give me titles, other times dreams will give me
both the titles and the melodies and a little bit of the lyrics like the chorus.
The ones I've come up with that way in dreams are pretty funny and maybe not
even usable. Like there was when I woke up singing this song about a rattletrap
Ford which I've never used for anything and I don't know what prompted me to do
that or to dream that.
I've been collaborating on a new show called New Wrinkles and I'm one of the
songwriter-lyricists There's another songwriter who's writing the other half of
the tunes. And occasionally we critique each other's music. And so I have
awakened sometimes having dreamed corrections to his lyrics and knowing that
this would be better, sound a little bit smoother than the ones he wrote.
So I've been going to him with some of those. He's been very gracious about
accepting my edits and my additions to his songs. And that has happened in
dreams. So those are the ways in which dreams have added directly to my creative
life and even my work.
One song that started with a dream was "Blame It on El Nis web site [to
the tune of "Blame It on the Bossa Nova"].
RA: I wrote that with Stan Sinberg for For Whom the Bridge Tolls which ran
for four years in Marin and is opening in San Francisco in May .
ED: In what other ways have dreams communicated with you?
RA: My dreams have instructed me, and told me when to get out of
relationships very, very clearly. It took me months to follow them but the truth
of a bad relationship always appears first to me in a dream.
ED: Hmm, [cautiously] an example?
RA: I was dating this one guy who was not very sensitive but he had other
qualities. He hadn't met my daughter yet. A little bit reluctantly I made a
dinner plan for my daughter and him to meet. The night before we went out to
dinner, I had a dream that we were eating and he said something really critical
to me and she fell into my arms sobbing. And I said "it's over." And
that was the dream.
The next night we went out to dinner and we sat down to eat and he starts
criticizing her table manners and she starts crying. But I didn't say "it's
over." It took me months more to process that. I am enthralled with the
power of the subconscious and would like to learn more about it.
ED: Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
RA: Pay attention to your dreams. I am being reminded to do that more by
telling you about my dreams.
ED: Many of our readers are expert at all aspects of dreamwork. Would you
like to ask them anything?
Rita Abrams: How do you get your dreams to speak to you? How can I be more
active with my dreams to answer questions or solve things?
Electric Dreams: I'm sure they will enjoy answering you via firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's been a pleasure talking with you and I wish everyone could have heard your
beautifully expressive voice.
For Whom the Bridge Tolls
The four-year hit musical comedy revue that lampoons life around the S.F. Bay
area seen through
the wits of songwriter Rita Abrams, and humor columnist/radio commentator Stan
Re-opens May 6, 1999
The Plush Room in San Francisco
A hilarious, provocative musical comedy revue about the coming of middle-age. If
you have to get old, you might as well do it laughing [Rita wrote half the songs
for this one].
April 9-May 9, 1999
Playhouse West in Walnut Creek
Lars Spivock is an international technology consultant and an original member
of the DreamGate team. He has been a lucid dreamer since early childhood. He
freelances for The Wisdom Channel, Electric Dreams, and America Online's
Alternative Medicine Forum. Lars has contributed to outreach and education
projects for the Intuition Network, Institute of Noetic Sciences, Association
for the Study of Dreams, Bay Area Dreamworkers, and the Dream Library and