I had a very vivid, very strange dream last night, involving aspects of Bugs Bunny cartoons, a Charles-Manson-like cult, and one of my literary inspirations, Thomas Pynchon. It was really weird.
I’ve been keeping a dream journal (very) on and off for the past few months, nudged to do so by a book I have on how to write more descriptively. Description being very much one of my weaknesses, I figured what the hell; it couldn’t hurt, right?
All in all, I’ve been extremely terrible about it. Which is why I’ve ostensibly been doing this for “months” but I only have seven dreams recorded, two of which happened in one night. What happens most often is I’ll have a very intense dream, with very real images or sensations and I’ll delude myself into thinking they were so vivid that there’s no possible way I can forget it … until twenty minutes pass and it’s gone.
Anywho, I’ve decided, in an attempt to get myself more committed about this, to add a new section to the ol’ Brain Dump in which I chronicle my dreams. After all, my dreams are part of my brain and I gotta dump ’em somewhere. I do enjoy the exercise of writing them when I manage to actually put them down on paper. It’s surprisingly difficult, trying to express all of the sensory input you experience during a dream (tastes, smells, emotions, weird details that hint at something from decades ago, setting, particular dialects, nonsense speech, dream logic that makes perfect sense to you (in the dream)). Dreams are jam-packed with data.
Now, let me be clear: I loathe Sigmund Freud. And I think psychoanalysis is little better than astrology. I’m not doing this to try to work through my feelings or come to a deeper understanding of my psychology. I think it’s fun to try to convey the sense of a dream, with all its complex minutiae, in words, and I think it’ll make me a better writer.
That said, I don’t think dreams are completely gobbledy-gook. They are largely garbledy-gook, but they can highlight a particular anxiety in a general sense. For instance, I’m a terrible procrastinator, and I often have dreams (much more common when I was in school) in which I’m attending a school, halfway through a semester, only to realize that I’ve been enrolled in Calculus this whole time and I’ve never once gone to class. Oh and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s time for the first big exam. I also have dreams (like my most recent one) in which I’m being chased or have to flee from something. I mean, we all have these dreams, right? The falling ones, the flying ones, the ones where we can’t escape, etc. Is my Calculus dream related to my procrastination? … I won’t say no. Does it reveal clues that I’m a latent homosexual? … Not so much.
The real question is: will I faithfully recount the first sex dream I have? Luckily the issue has not come up (if you will) in the few months I’ve been doing this, but we’ll kill that dad when we get to him.
Wait … what?