I have amazing dreams. I consider myself very fortunate, as I know a great many people who tell me they don’t remember their dreams well, or dream in dissociated fragments that don’t cohere, or have dreams that seem irrelevant or insignificant or just plain dull.
I tend to dream full Technicolor $500-million special-effects-laden Hollywood extravagonzos, which can be a Bad Thing if you tend to have nuclear holocaust and plane-crash dreams (which I used to have quite frequently, but which have abated in recent years, a lessening I attribute either to the zeitgeist or to just not being so damn worried anymore). I’ve dreamed stories that I’ve later written (my short story “Emerald City Blues” came from a dream of Dorothy Gale’s house landing on a plain of green glass). I’ve dreamed I was in the middle of scenes from novels I was working on, or that I’ve had conversations with the characters. Those are wonderful dreams.
After my father died I dreamed I was waiting for a train with him at Union Station in Los Angeles, and when it arrived it was this great sleek black Art Deco train and he got on it and waved as it left the station, and I woke up crying and happy with the understanding that I associated my father very strongly with the Great Depression, and that I’d just had my own private goodbye and bon voyage.
I woke myself up laughing one night after I dreamed that Mattell was going to be producing a Tourette’s Syndrome Barbie.
When I wrote The Architect of Sleep I did a lot of research on dreams (oneirology, for y’all nomenclaturists), and I kept a dream journal. I found that the more I wrote down my dreams, the more clearly I remembered them from night to night.
I’ve had serial dreams a lot of times, where some subsequent night you resume a dream where you left off. I’ve read some speculation, though, that this is a neurological phenomenon similar to deja vu in which the brain thinks it’s resuming a previous dream and can remember the earlier scenes, but no prior dream really exists. It’s an artificial memory within the artificial experience of the dream itself (good lord, we’re in Philip K. Dick land every time we close our eyes!). I’m inclined to think this is true because it provides a neurological explanation, but leave it to neurologists to take all the fun out of everything.
I’ve also had a lot of dreams where I remembered that I’d written a novel some years ago, and found a way to rewrite it that would really make it fly, and I’ve even awakened with the title in my head and gone to look for it only to realize moments later that of course I’d never written any such thing. Now that’s friggin disconcerting.
More about this tomorrow.