Writer Kevin Staniec Talks 'Wacky Dreams' at MOCA
Writer Kevin Staniec gathered a group of actor friends to read his new book, 29 to 31: A Book of Dreams, at L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) on Saturday. Actors like Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie Tanner on Full House), Linda Park (Star Trek: Enterprise), and Matthew Morrison (Glee, who sent in a video reading as he was unable to attend) read from the book, a compilation of Staniec’s bizarre and vivid dreams. “I can’t read my own stuff,” admitted Staniec afterward.
The book was inspired by Jack Kerouac’s Book of Dreams, which Staniec received as a gift from his parents when he was young. 29 to 31 was triggered by a bad break-up Staniec had, which set off a series of semi-lucid dreams. Soon after the break-up, the writer found a vintage Smith Corona typewriter on eBay and placed it by his bed. “I always had cinematic dreams,” Staniec said, but the task proved more difficult than he first thought. “Dreams are fleeting, and I was writing a lot with my eyes closed.”
Staniec edited the dreams into digestible short stories. The whole process was mentally and physical taxing. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Staniec, who also writes children’s books and runs Black Hill Press, the imprint 29 to 31 will be published under.
Sweetin and Staniec’s history traces back to high school in Los Alamitos, Calif., and later they attended Chapman University together. “We’ve been friends for a long time,” Sweetin said after the reading. “The story I read was about this girl Stephanie, who passed away from cancer, that we went to high school with.”
Other dream-stories include strange happenings with four-inch deer and sitting in a wind-destroyed diner during a terrifying hurricane. One story, read by Sweetin, simply reads: “Floating distant in the deep Pacific on an oak framed bed. My mattress and pillows are wrapped in plastic and I sleep with sheets, under stars, driving toward the moon.”
Staniec, for the most part, admitted he feels disconnected from his dream state, though he felt himself nearly being able to control them, and enter states of lucidity once he started the project. “The dreams are so wacky,” said Staniec.