A Dream About Eric Whitacre

Fall at Chicago Botanic Garden Copyright MDMikus 2007


In a previous post I wrote about wanting to be in Virtual Choir 3, singing an alto part in “Water Night, a gorgeous and moving piece written and conducted (online) by Eric Whitacre. I did make it to submit a video with just enough voice to feel good about it (more later). Last Saturday, the “group photo” was posted of the 2945 people from 73 countries who submitted videos. After looking through all of the thumbnail photos and not finding mine, I remained calm. It was late (2AM), but I went back to the beginning, promising myself I would look again on Sunday. And there I was! third one down, fourth one over  from the top left corner. I felt absurdly pleased and light-hearted. The launch of Virtual Choir 3 is April 2. I can’t wait!

Today though, I’d like to tell you about a dream that happened two months later. And the follow through…

Yes, composer Eric Whitacre, is a dreamy character (who gets a lot of comments about his perfect hair), but it was not that kind of dream. This was more to do with creative encouragement and wanting to express something deeply heartfelt and essential. To be bold. A challenge to be fully myself.  Well, you’ll see…


In the Dream

which seemed real
I met Eric Whitacre
and I was not red-faced
and tongue-tied.

I handed him a paper
and said “I have written a poem”
and “Here, I have written some music.”
And he responded upon glancing

“This is a song” and
sang the music
which fit the poem perfectly
liking it enough on the spot

he decided to use it
for his next performance.
I was at that concert in rich detail
an informal setting

full complement of musicians
and singers and Eric
conducting the first half.
I awoke after the break

before they played one
note of mine.
And out of that dream
in that state neither dream nor waking

came the conviction
to give him
the perfect song, with my lines:
“I know that/ I am not my hair…”

and deeper
and more.

The shy voice says
step back while
the brave voice says
step forward

and be seen.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2012

So here is the song for you Eric Whitacre, in the spirit of the poem. I wrote it in 1996 when facing chemotherapy for breast cancer and loss of my own blonde hair (and also a loss of identity). I adapted the poem “I Know That” (which is now in my book, As Easy as Breathing).

I Know That:

I am not my hair,
I am not my eyebrows,
I am not my hunger,
I am not my tears.

I know that:

I am not my anger,
I am not my hopes,
I am not my scars,
I am not my fears.

I am not my mother,
or my mother’s mother,
I am not my aunt. I am not my sister
or my children or my husband.

I  am  not  my  past;

I am not my body;

I am the one inside,
along for the ride,
to get what there is
to get and to give
what I have to give.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 1996

Recorded the song on my CD, Full Blooming. (Track 19 on iTunes).

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8 thoughts on “A Dream About Eric Whitacre

  1. Anonymous

    so glad you stepped forward Margaret and shared some of what kept you going and what came from it. Wishing you well, Sally (Virtual Choir 3 participant)

  2. Margaret

    A high compliment, Tina. Thank you! I feel powerfully connected to members of VC3 even though we may never sing (or be) in the same room together. The positive force of the internet. And Eric's music. What is your story that caused you to resonate with that poem? Love, Margaret

  3. Margaret

    Thank you so much. Linda! Perfect timing! I was feeling a bit low today, especially about my writing. And you perked me right up. Eric mentioned my poems? There is another one I have not posted yet, maybe I should get to it!

  4. Janeth Leidecker

    Though chemotherapy is an effective way to treat many types of cancer, chemotherapy treatment also carries a risk of side effects. Some chemotherapy side effects are mild and treatable, while others can cause serious complications.

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