A few years ago, I made it a habit of keeping a dream journal. It’s been said that in order to remember most details of a dream, you need to write it down as soon as you wake up.
Easier said than done.
Sometimes, my dreams can feel so real, like I’m having an out-of-body experience in a parallel universe. Hey! That sounds like a good novel idea! When I was in middle school, I had a dream that I was flying around my neighborhood in my underwear, Quail-man Style, saving my friends from a volcano that erupted on our street.
I also used to dream about white-water rafting in my dishwasher. Maybe that means I was searching for adventure (which would explain the white-water rafting part), but was always afraid to leave my comfort zone (maybe the dishwasher represented the comfort of home?).
Or maybe I’m just crazy and over-analyzing. I do love to over-analyze!
Sometimes, they can lead to wonderful creative bursts. Here is an excerpt from an old Dream Journal I used to keep by my bedside in college:
The house was dark, an eerie blackness that came only with death. A silver ray, a moonlit beam splashed across my face, luring me out of bed. My feet were so light on the hard tile floor that I could barely feel them, as if I were floating, hovering out of my bedroom, down the hall, to the top of the staircase, where I would stop and stare down in the darkness. But there wasn’t darkness. Only light. It coaxed me, lulling me into a false sense of security, down the brown, shag carpeted stairs and, once I reached the bottom, I instinctively knew where to go. The washer and dryer were right around the corner, and something was pulling me there, telling me to go further, further… Pulling open the lid, I climbed into the washing machine and crawled beyond the dark space at the back. Through metallic tunnels, I crept slowly, so I wouldn’t disturb what clung to the darkness; past mechanical spiders with deep, blinking red eyes, cob webs spun from fear and positioned as traps to catch children who were willing enough to fall prey. At the end of this unending tunnel, was a wooden door, like I’d fallen down the rabbit hole.
The beautiful thing about dreams is that they come and go on their own whims. The above is a recurring dream that often ended differently every time. I would get to that wooden door, and each time I’d open it, what I would find would be different. Sometimes I’d open it and be at my elementary school, on the field where we’d have recess, and all of my friends would be waiting for me. Other times, I would have to outrun shadows and try not to sucked into the vast darkness.
I think it has to do with my current mindset.
Not really sure what the above dream has to do with anything, but I’m sure I can make a dark children’s book out of it. A Narnia, Through the Looking Glass, Coraline type of thing, maybe…
From that dream entry, I wrote this half-assed poem in 2007:
The Other Side
Split down the middle, not a perfect divide.
Jagged, toothed faces
with spider-webbed veins.
One on one side,
many on the other.
Through broken stares, he cruelly taunts
until I unhinge, toss aside,
It’s hard to tell the difference
between man and reflection.
His sapphire eyes watch mine.
Will he keep my secrets?
of the other.
The beautiful thing about dreams is that they often lead to a truth or a discovery.
I think the trick is not thinking about them too much.