Posts Tagged 'Dreams'

The Aesthetics of Dreams 2

The second dream is simple, with a simple plot, simple payoff. I am in jail, on death row, waiting to be executed. And in the meantime, I am running on the prison track. In fact, hundreds of people are, all of us on death row. But you wouldn’t know it. We’re chatty as we run, and one older female inmate is trying to hook me up with a younger one. I politely decline. Round and round we go, and on the side of the track is a single file line – people whose names have been called, and they are being executed today (they’re calling hundreds of names each hour, everyone must go). So round and round we go. At one point, because of how crowded the track was, I ran into a beam, a bit of subconscious slapstick one may conclude. Jump cut to me running again. Then, it dawns on me I am going to die. So I stop running, write a letter to the judge, or whoever is in charge begging for a stay, because I have no idea why I’m in jail, I must be innocent. Then, my name is called. I get in line, but I keep trying to make people go in front of me. Finally, I sneak off to the guard’s computer and somehow check the status of my mail. It wasn’t written in time, so it wasn’t sent yet. A JAILER comes and asks what I’m doing, takes me back to the line. I try to explain, to no avail. Back in line, my mind starts racing with all the things I wanted to do with my life. Missed opportunity after missed opportunity. That’s where it ended. With utter dread at a wasted life and impending death.


Briefly: My dream contained the following buzz-words – Jail/Prison, Jailer, Running (in circles), Death

JAIL – Death row = death of unhappy relationship OR, PRISON – Loss of Freedom, Punishment, etc.

JAILER – Treachery at the hands of a woman (wtf?)

RUNNING – Going in circles – pretty obvious – trying to escape a situation move forward, and no progress is ever made. Right back where you started.

DEATH – My own death – fear of being taken advantage of or manipulated


Charlie Kaufman was recently on Fresh Air, with Terry Gross. I had no knowledge of this before I decided to write about dreams these last couple of days. I knew he had been on the show, but I’d missed it, so I had to download it, which I did and I listened to it while stretching for my run. Running, which appeared in my dream, which Charlie Kaufman talked about before I went running today. Which I also did in my dream. In the interest of full disclosure, Charlie Kaufman was not in either dream I had, nor has he ever entered any of my dreams. I do not know why he hasn’t, and if you want to know I can only refer you to the team of Dream Producers somewhere in my subconscious mind. They would know better than me.

Kaufman: He’s written films like: “Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation,” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” This month his first film as writer/director comes out, called “Synechdoche, New York.” It is an absurdist drama about a theatrical artist so very fearful of death that his life and work become about its avoidance. He is always and only looking back. The movie goes in circles, a lot of circles within circles within circles. He spoke of it as a dream. He clarified that the movie is NOT one of those, “It was all a dream!” movies, but it often FEELS like a dream and is structured as a dream. And then he talked a lot about dreams. His dreams also have a narrative (is this common with writers?) and he explained he constantly dreams of being stuck in an old, broken-down elevator, about to snap. He explained his fascination with the way stories are told with dreams. “They’re so structured that I keep the ending from myself until I get there, and I don’t know how I do that, but…sometimes there’s a surprise ending, and it makes sense. But I made it up! So therefore, how do I lead myself to that without telling myself what the ending is?… I wake up often from dreams feeling so emotionally affected. Um, Devastated. And I can’t shake it from an entire day…” 

How DO we keep the endings from ourselves? Am I making it up as I go along? If so, I’m a damn good writer, because the payoff is almost always satisfying. At least interesting. Or, does my mind have it all written out? Is the mind busy at work those first few hours of sleep, trying to make the 4:17am deadline when my dream is scheduled to start? And what about when there is a double feature? And if this is the case, if the mind is capable of creating a structure and events and dialogue and characters that are not only actual, but MEANINGFUL, and if the mind can keep all of this information from me for as long as it wants, then it begs the question: What else is my mind keeping from me? And/Or, are there external forces helping to create the dreams? What is going on in those uncharted depths of the mind? Is there a mechanism in there at work without my knowledge? Does my brain have a mind of its own? And if so, who’s in charge?


The Aesthetics of Dreams 1

Well, you all asked for it, so here it is. FINALLY. A two-part excursion into the nighttime excursions (read: dreams) I had between October 24th and October 25th.


For about a year and a half I kept a catalog of all my dreams. I would wake up in the morning and immediately write them down for the next 10-20 minutes. My memory of dreams is startlingly good. During this period, my dreams began to evolve in two ways. They became increasingly 1) macabre and 2) driven by a narrative. My dreams grew longer and larger. They took on a story, with plot points and a payoff, and things spoken which were not always what they seemed. They involved deep double-crosses and often ended with death, and at least two times my own death. 3) Celebrity Guest Stars – my dreams were full of them. My guess is the Producers of my Dreams, those artless fat-cats, are throwing in celebrities in order to make my dreams more marketable to a mass audience; that is to say… me. There was the one where I was dating Samantha from “Sex and the City” (not the one I WANTED to date… or was it? And cue to portent-filled music (omen?). Or the time Benicio Del Toro was chased through a forest by the A-Team, even as I, myself, was being chased by the police after robbing a bank. Or, one of the earliest, the time when I came upon Brad Pitt and Colin Farrell in plush white cotton robes, sitting head to toe on a bed, at which point they told me Halle berry wanted me in the hottub.  Then-recent Academy Award winner Halle Berry seduced me and offered sex-in-a-hottub with her, which I turned down because I had a girlfriend. This logic, within the dream, is staggering, a point which Colin Farrell wasted no time in telling me later in the kitchen when I was looking for some food. 


It has long been my contention, and it still is, that the manner in which an individual dreams is as unique as that individuals specific canon of dreams. That manner may change or combine with other dream-styles. I was shocked to find my dreams becoming more, in a sense, written, while maintaining their surrealistic and expressionistic elements. Basically every -ism I know is presented in my dreams. Impressionism is a big hit when it comes to people I know and love. There are, of course, many dream dictionaries and charts and some useful books (unread by me at this point), and one major element for many dreamers is COLORS which appear in the dream. This fascinated me, because colors are almost never a part of my dreams. I do not remember the colors, I remember the story. This is not to say that I dream in black and white, although I DO dream in widescreen usually, and there are cuts, which suggests a)editing b)multiple camera angles c)CAMERAS!!! d)dream as record of self, ie – recorded (and later written down often). This is not exclusive to me, either.


But back to color. Last night, I had 2 dreams, 1 of which involved 2 ex-girlfriends, a friend of an ex-girlfriend (a third ex-girlfriend, who was absent from the dream), and a friend of mine, who happened to date that friend of the missing ex-girlfriend for a time. I was supposed to spend the day with one ex-girlfriend, but she got mad at me and left as another one appeared, bringing along the other two people. I asked if they would let me join them, I had food and drink provided here in this handy set of pure BLUE coolers. We carried them, climbed under a bridge of some sort, and that was it. The color blue, according to one interpretation, means: spirituality, art, culture, philosophy. (Another color guide suggests that blue means inner peace and contentment. This guide obviously does not know me.) The blue was neither light nor dark, so those more specific interpretations do not apply. Am I carrying my art, culture and spirituality with me, am I asking others to carry it? When one rejects it, need I simply move on to another, who WILL help me carry it. Also the notion that other persons in life are not simply romantic interests, but also friends, even friends-of-friends. If the coolers are me, and if there were 4 of them (one for each person) and there are 4 categories that BLUE means, then is it suggesting that each cooler is a separate idea, or are the ideas mixed in with each other? Turn it positive, perhaps it is saying that there are many different interpersonal relationships that help carry us through life, not simply the romantic. I have not even touched on the bridge, or the idea of “life as a picnic,” and nor do they seem integral to the dream.


(And now you see the manor in which I begin to break down my dreams.) 

Stay tuned for Part 2, in which I address the far less hopeful 2nd dream

It Has Come to This

February 2019
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