Wednesday, July 14, 2004


I didn't dream last night, or at least I don't remember my dream. I didn't smoke before bedtime, but I did eat some toast at 1 AM. I slept well, and I arrived early at work today, as I have been doing all week so far.

I found a site that purports to explain the meaning of the dream where your teeth fall out. Someone told me the meaning once and, just like the rules of a card game, I immediately forgot all about it after a few days time.

Thanks for all your feedback, kind people. I wrote about it because it was very profound. I recall quite a number of dreams-- despite my propensity for the yerba buena, I don't always hit the pipe right before I hit the sack. This one, however, made me feel exhausted when I woke up, like I'd lived it. I'm not saying that it was more than a dream-- a dream is all it was... but an important dream nonetheless.

Stop me when I get pretentious. Oh, wait, that was right from the start. I guess I'll just play this one through...

I just had to rationalize it, because otherwise what's the point of writing about your dreams? To rationalize a dream, in my mind, is to understand, dig deeper, ask analytical questions, in order to uncover the emotions behind the symbols. Dreams are symbolic language, and I rely on my dreams for illumination into myself. Dreams are like the Norton Anti-Virus of the organic two-bit processors of our brains-- they detect bugs and glitches in our ethernet of a subconscious.

I took everyone's advice (with variations-- instead of a chocolate bar, for example, I ate toast) and I applied as much as I could from each person. I corresponded with long e-mails and received long replies. There was a lot of effort put into analyzing this dream. The last time I wrote about a dream in my blog, I looked back on it after about six months and was able to understand its significance fully. But if I hadn't written about it and archived it, I would have not been able to reference it and learn from it. Last time, it was a lesson I was glad to have learned. And I think it's no different this time around.

Do not underestimate the importance of your dreams.

I am rarely ever bothered by my dreams, but they will disturb me if I cannot readily explain what my mind's eye beholds. And I am more shocked by the appearance of people with whom I have no closeness.

After I wake up and vividly recall a dream, my first inclination is to think that the dream explains something about myself that I fear. Am I gay? Am I neurotic? Am I a psycho? My gut reaction is to think of it in terms of a nightmare. The more I recall, however, the more the intial horror/disbelief lessens. By the time I have run the dream through my head a few dozen times, it is benign and harmless, or potent and somber... but never something to be feared.

I never really had nightmares. When I was a kid I was more afraid of the things that my waking mind experienced or processed: things under my bed, shadows in my room at night, The Rapture, snails, etc. I've never had dreams about those things. Those would truly be nightmares.

Dream time is a special occasion for me, because when I do remember the dreams, they are like scattered picture puzzles at first, just a messy disorganization of the mind's clutter-- it's a nightly spring clean for the psyche. But during the dream itself, when I am in a REM state and my eyelids are a-flickerin', there is such a certainty that I never ever feel in my waking life... except when I'm on hallucinogens.

I subscribe to the belief that what we think of as "waking life" is really the dream, and what we think of as our "dream world" is the actual reality of our existence. I have no real proof, especially since I can't remember the fucking dreams three-quarters of the time... but that certainty, that's the key, that's the big clue to the next step...

Lately life is but a dream, and I feel like I'm row row rowing a boat, and all of us-- even you -- are in this boat with me. Is it the proverbial Ship Of Fools of many a song, or is it the Love Boat, that amorous legend of the Pacific? Maybe we're kayaking down a cosmic river, because we're all linked up to each other somehow, and we're on the verge of discovering what It is and how It works. Don't you feel like you are hearing the echoes of your recent thoughts whenever you turn on the TV, or speak to a friend, or send an e-mail, or play a CD from years past? Isn't there an eerie sense of synchronicity in the air, a static electricity that hovers and jellies our insides out, the resonant blare of a thousand angel's harmonious trumpets and haarps?

Something's going to happen. Something momentous.

Well, it is an election year. The upcoming debates will be the best reality shows ever, because much like the current crop of reality shows, people think they're watching real people when in fact there's a lot of selective editing and behind-the-scenes choreography and puppeteering going on.

Back to dreams.

The hardest part about recalling dreams is to explain what the images mean to you. One person might see being naked in a dream one way, while I see it in a different light because of my feelings towards nakedness. I don't feel any shame when I'm naked in dreams; in waking life, I am sometimes ashamed because we press the issue of modesty and privacy so much in this society. But I have been tempted to hang out nudists because a part of me feels that the idea of clothing can be absurd sometimes. That the idea of hanging out with naked people in a non-sexual way gets guffaws from "normal" folk is, to me, the height of absurdity.

Likewise, my description of a kid on the roof is a bit misleading-- the "kid" was taller than my dream self, and stockier to boot. He seemed like a kid, though, in that way that you know that you are dealing with someone who hasn't been around long enough to command any respect, despite their size. That's why I interpret that scene to have relevance to my struggles with adversaries-- because the very people who represent that role in my life make me feel like that, like I have no respect and therefore no reason to fear them.

I don't shy away from the violence or sexual content of my dreams. What chills me is seeing people as symbols. I know that a dream about killing my brother doesn't mean I want to kill my brother necessarily, but the image is still shocking to me because I feel (in my waking life once again) that I don't have any strong feelings about fratricide.

But then again, I see people as symbols in my writing. In fiction, if you have a villain versus a hero, then you automatically have symbols for good and evil, whether you want to convey that message or not. What one decides to do with these symbols in a plot speaks volumes about one's own motivations and character. Even if one's intention is to not (as Vonnegut once said) put on "puppet plays", the public at large or the folks who read your stuff are gpoing to assign their own symbols to it.

That's why writing is a craft. I intentionally create characters to resist encoding, so that people are forced to accept a character that is not a cipher nor a blank canvas upon which we project our fantasies. If there's one thing I spend much detail on above all else, it's a character's resistance to alternate interpretations.

Of course, others will find "alt interps", no matter what I do. But that's where the fun begins, because I learn just as much about a person giving feedback as I do from the feedback itself. Since I designed certain aspects of my writing to be distortion-proof, I like to see how readers hack into my codes and find ways to impose values upon them that don't exist.

In other words, I invite people to read into my words what they will, because I know in my heart and in my head why each word exists on the page.

Ever find an old poem or writing assignment from school and read it and think "What was going on at the time that I wrote this?" With very few exceptions, I can apply that to almost everything I've ever written. I usually can decipher the code because I wrote the code. Even if names and dates fail me, I usually remember the mood.

That's what dreams are all about, by the way-- moods. Colors, visions, moods. The way certain stimuli make you feel. The sum total of sensory intake.

Dreams are the brain's poems, scribbled down on bar napkins and found in the laundry just before a wash.

Dreams are sunflower seed casings, leaving salty remnants on the tip of the tongue as you discard the rest.

I quote once again from Mr. Wonka:

"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."