Ilan Stavans: I want to tell you about a dream I had a couple nights ago. The
dream is connected with the conversations you and I have been engag-
ing in. Let me first say that recently I’ve been having dreams that are far
more peaceful that the ones I had in my late forties. I turned fifty not long
ago. I was excited about this benchmark because I’m officially middle-
age. I look at middle- age as a settled, reflective time. I no longer have the
fears I had when I was twenty: Will I be able to make my dreams come
true? Or the anxieties that came in my thirties: Will my children grow
up healthily? Will I be satisfied with what I do on a daily basis? And will
I have enough time to do everything I want to accomplish? Now I have
the capacity to look back and appreciate what has come before and look at
the future not as a test but as a surplus, recognizing that whatever comes
from here on is a bonus.
In the dream, I saw my childhood house in Mexico City. I haven’t been
in that house for over twenty- five
years. My parents sold it shortly after
I immigrated to the United States. In my dream, the house is inhabited
by people I don’t know or care to know. I entered the living room after
ThirTeen pLus one
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