Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dreams, dreams...

Ever since they raised my rent I've been looking for a new place to stay, especially after my car got broken into. So it makes sense that last night I had a dream where I found the perfect house - not an apartment - that had three floors and a fully-stocked boxing gym and a pool that started indoors and went outside and had a horseshoe area even though I don't play horseshoes, and a tennis court for Writing Partner and really fancy bathrooms. And it was $1295 a month with an $800 deposit and no charge for pets and I found it on Craigslist.

Then I went into one of the bedrooms and found Ben Browder lying shirtless in my bed, feeling really guilty about the fact that he was about to cheat on his wife.

Then I woke up and sighed.

Last night I also dreamed that I was hiding out in a cave with a bunch of people including Eddie Vedder and Keith Richards. They sang a song about what they'd want to have if they were stuck on a desert island. All I got out of Keith Richards was something about a girl with an earring. Eddie's song was kind of catchy and I woke up with lyrics I'm going to pass on to my songwriter friend.

I remember my dreams a lot. Rumor has it that's where Mary Shelley got the idea for Frankenstein, so you can never discount the old dreamscape.

My neighbor had a book that supposedly interprets dreams. Dreaming of a dream house means you have come into a sense of self or something really vague. I tried to find out what Ben Browder naked means, but the book didn't include that.

Which got me thinking. I know the old psychiatric people have probably researched dreams and the people who have them, but how the hell do they really know what dreams symbolize? Writers use dreams all the time to explain what a character is really thinking - I did it myself in my Supernatural episode - but that doesn't really happen that often, does it? It's only happened to me once.

My first year of teaching I taught a boy we'll call "Marcus". Marcus was abandoned by his mother and ignored by his father and had a genuine case of ADHD but nobody caught it in time to do anything about it and was in serious danger of flunking all his classes. But Marcus was smart and sweet when he was alone with you. In front of people, however, he was a holy terror. I tried everything I could think of to help this boy since I was still a naive little thing and believed all kids were salvageable. The boy would have none of it.

One night I dreamed that Marcus was in a car that went over an embankment and drove right into a rushing river. I was the only one around, and as Marcus held onto a tree branch while his car sank and the water threatened to carry him away, I reached my hand out to help him back to dry land. He swatted my hand away and let go, drowning while the water carried him away.

I really had that dream.

The fact that it sounds like a fake movie dream should tell us something about the tendency writers have to use dreams in unrealistic ways.

The boy did pass my class and he did mature some, but when I left that school four years later he had not yet graduated. I don't know if he ever did. And that's the truth about teaching. The happy little white lady who comes in to save the world usually doesn't. Because life isn't a dream. I don't see Ben Browder anywhere in my crappy apartment.


  1. Anonymous3:32 PM

    I tend to remember my dreams as well. And I've never been one for so-called dream interpretation.

    As to the Mary Shelley reference, dreams are the greatest storehouse of ideas. At least half of the 80 or so children in my "Story Ideas" document are dream-inspired. Some having come through the traumatic waking up process with a coherent (even complete) narrative. Others get fleshed out as I put them down.

    In fact, my completed mini-series is loosely dream-based as is the central conceit of my second-to-last feature.

  2. I don't know if I believe it either, but dream interpretation is interesting. Kind of like going to see a psychic.


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