Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you. ~Marsha Norman
If this is true, I fear I’m in trouble.
I recently finished a book called, Writers Dreaming. For the most part, I found myself bored by most writers who submitted. Funny thing, once you get a writer talking about their writing, most become verbose and pretentious. Of all the twenty six writers, Isabelle Allande was the only one that kept my interest, perhaps because she incorporated the significance of her dreams to the sustenance of her life.
As far as the others, I found myself unable to care about the building in your dreams that shows up when the writing is good.
Dreams have become a recent fascination for me because, as I said before, if dreams are the illustration of the book my soul is writing, I’m might be in trouble. I began keeping a dream journal that I keep beside my bed. If I happen to remember my dream, I scribble down descriptions when I wake up. Last nights dream was one of the most lucid and heartbreaking dreams I can remember, perhaps because the memory of it is fresh. Here are the notes I jotted when I woke up.
Long, winding road through town.
Silence in a thick brown dust
settles between the cracks of everything.
He beside her, hunched over like the hills.
Didn’t watch town pass. Didn’t care.
White house on the edge of town,
surrounded by harvest.
He sits among the rubble of his life.
Never speaks. Never looks up.
Yet is always present.
She reaches to soothe.
He doesn’t know. Or care.
Or flinch as she throws
her arms around him.
Is he the ghost?
Or is she?
This is one of my dust bowl dreams. I’ve had them before and they play out in sepia on the prairie. Miles and miles of nothingness, not even trees. Like this, only dustier and flatter…
I also have an island that I visit. It’s actually more like a huge boat with steep, steel sides. But it’s large enough to house a town, complete with a cathedral and town square…Oddly similar to this one.
An underground shopping district. Downtown with narrow streets and alleys. A train.
Recently, I’ve been apartment shopping in a city. One apartment had a Tuscan feel with wrought iron bars decorating the windows and splitting plaster on the walls. Just outside the window was a large river with a bridge similar to the Tower Bridge in London, probably reminiscent of this memory…
On that bridge, another reality played out. Horses, tin soldiers, damsels in gowns, men in white wigs watched from the windows…It was another world come alive as toys from another time came to life. Meanwhile, the smarmy realtor made nasty passes at me from another room.
Those are my good dreams. I never seem to mind those too much. There was an entire summer when I was executed every night in my dreams, for one minor offense or another. Injection in the neck for running into a newspaper stand. Swallowing powder poison with a garden hose. Suffocated with Saran wrap while strapped into a chair. The crowd cheered from behind the scratched plexiglass window. Or the deep city where I’m always chased through the streets by men with guns.
I’ ve began keeping a journal of these strange occurences, not because I’m worried that my soul is writing a horror novel about me, but rather because of the imagery. My recent work is less based in a reality landscape. Instead, I’ve found myself borrowing the landscapes of my dreams. Because I can. Boy meets girl, girl breaks boys, boy cries over beer by a lake, is no longer a plot where my characters can exist. A man-made island with laws based on the morals of a few? Perhaps. A city within a city, blocked off from society by a wall? Perhaps. A tiny toy parade on a bridge? We’ll see.
Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives. ~William Dement
Tell me about your dreams? Do they affect your writing? Do they lay out your mood for the day, folded neatly on the edge of your bed? Do you enjoy the safe insanity they provide, even if for only a few hours? I’ve decided that my dreams are telling me one thing…Get back to Europe. Time to start saving for a new trip. And perhaps settle in for some writing.