I think dreams are a bit of a cheat for novelists, although I’ve availed myself of the technique at least once (By a Spider’s Thread). My own dreams are so obvious in their meanings that they bore me. For example, many of them center on impossible trips, where I simply cannot get where I’m going. Last night, for example, I dreamed that was I staying in a New York hotel, probably at Lexington and 50th, or thereabouts. I needed to change and make it across town for an important meeting at 5 p.m., then had another meeting at 6 p.m. The trick was, I couldn’t seem to get to my hotel room. Doors disappeared, elevator banks didn’t seem to go to my floor. At one point, I was stuck outside in a bright pink bathrobe and a pair of shoes that seemed to weigh thirty pounds apiece. Then Manhattan fell away, and I was suddenly in some soulless hotel complex in the middle of nowhere, and I could no longer find the front door to the hotel itself; I kept ending up at Starbucks. A kind older woman volunteered to drive me to the hotel, but refused to make the left turn into the parking lot. When I woke up, my elderly chauffeur was driving me farther and farther away from my destination. I have some variation of the “journey” dream almost every week. It’s not very restful.
But two nights ago, I had an atypical journey dream. I was riding a bike to the harbor, anxious to catch a water taxi. As I approached the long pier, I speeded up. I knew some of the people in line — not well, they were co-workers who I thought always vaguely disapproved of me. At some point, it became clear to me that I was going too fast. I could hit the brakes, but I probably would still skid off the pier. So I pedaled even faster, sailing off the edge of the pier and into the water, which felt clean and pure. (Something the harbor water definitely is not.) In fact, I seemed to float on the water, utterly exhilirated, laughing so hard that those on the pier seemed to assume I had done this crazy thing on purpose.
Ah, but then the dream degenerated into another version of the journey dream, in which there was a river I needed to cross and I couldn’t find a bridge.
Recurring dreams, lovely dreams, vivid nightmares, no dreams? Share them please.