Linda and I watched a Nova program last night about dreams.
Dreams have always been one of Linda's interests; she even put on some dream workshops in the '90's.
So before I went to bed, I decided I was going to try to remember my night's dreaming when I woke up. This is what I remembered in the morning:
Linda and I are on one our little road trips, this time to Boise. I see her throw a soda cup out the window. "Did you just throw your soda cup out the window?" I ask. She gets a sheepish look, and says yes, and I start to ball her out and she says, "Quit telling me what to do."
We get to Boise, and Linda tells me to get the keys to the motel room. I walk in and the Indian guy behind the counter smirks and says, "You don't have a reservation." I insist that my wife called, and he says, "Yes, she inquired, but she didn't book the room."
So I go off wandering the streets of Boise, which are all torn up and chaotic, and I see a sign to a Ramada Inn. I follow the sign to base of a very steep hill, but there is no motel. There are these incredibly steep steps that switch back and forth up the hill, and a button at the bottom that says, "Push for help."
I keep pushing the button, but nothing happens. I look up that steps and see at the very top this incredibly luxurious hotel. I see some kids playing on the steps, and then Linda is there and says, "Oh, yes. These steps are dangerous and management refuses to do anything about it."
Just then, a hotel worker comes down and starts sawing off the sides of the steps, and I'm thinking, 'That makes it even more dangerous.'
I wake up, and to me, the meaning is pretty clear. The steps to riches are long and dangerous, but you can't take any sidesteps to get there. There are no shortcuts.
I tell Linda my dream, pretty proud of my little humdrum escapade and my neat little interpretation. It's also pretty clear that I'm worried that I've bullied Linda a little too much about this whole frustrating legal process that she's going through as executor.
Then she proceeds to tell me her dream.
"My dream was a little different."
"I dreamed I was one of 30 young virgins, who have been captured by villains. The women are using steel wool to take of the hair -- down there -- so that they can seem younger, because the villains are killing the older women. (Linda's correction: she says the Men were using the steel wool to make the women seem younger because they are going to sell them to another group of men. The women are being raped and tortured.)
"I manage to escape and I cut the throats of the guards. I don't see myself doing it, but I know that I have.
"I find the leader, and I somehow manage to tie him up, and I take the steel wool to him. He is begging for mercy. (Linda's correction, she says, "Did you show the women any mercy...)
"I tell him, 'I'll show you mercy!' and I take out a gun and shoot him."
I just kind of stare at her for a moment.
"Yeah," Linda says. "I woke up and couldn't believe how bloodthirsty it was. But...it was a hero dream."
Linda is often the hero of her dreams, saving innocents.
"Are you ... a tad mad at men right now?" I ask. Like me? I mean, if ever there was an emasculating dream!
"No," she says. "I'm not mad at men. Just mad at men who hurt women...."
Linda's dreams are incredibly vivid, and almost always tell a story. Amazing. One can never upstage her dreams -- her brothers used to accuse her of making them up, they were so storylike, with her as the action hero.
Mine tend to be ostracism dreams, or wandering lost in the big city type dreams. Still, humdrum or not, I going to start trying to remember them. When I was in the throes of depression, (through much of the 1970's) I used to sleep 10 or 12 hours a day and had incredibly vivid dreams.
The program last night said that depressives seem to dream more REM sleep, which can reinforce negative feelings.
That's not what I remember. My dreams always seemed positive, in contrast to my actual life. It was like I was living two lives. And it seemed to me that they reinforced my hopeful feelings, because unlike most clinical depressives I've heard of, I was always convinced I would come out of it. (And I've not had any recurrence in the last 30 years, thank god.)
When I was writing full time, I came to count on my dreams for solutions to story problems. I'd wake up, and whatever was blocking me the previous day was often solved. I even began my second book with a dream I had.
I've never believed some of the research that says that dreams are meaningless. If nothing else, I just got too many answers in my writing days to believe that.
I think it's time to start paying more attention to them again.
4 days ago