If dreams are a window to the soul, why do my dreams not make any damn sense?
Recently, a family friend who read the blurb of Y Negative said to me, “your dreams must be fascinating.” I didn’t really know what to say. I’ve been told this before (and probably will again) but the truth is that my dreams are completely mundane or nonsensical, and this has always been a tiny source of consternation for me.
I’ve heard of authors who are inspired by their dreams, or figure out plot problems due to their dreams. I’ve heard of authors who have conversations with their characters in their dreams.
That’s not me.
I’ve heard of people who fulfill fantasies in their dreams. I’ve heard of people who live in TV show or movie worlds in their dreams. I’ve heard of people who have horrible nightmares.
That’s definitely not me.
My dreams are usually me bumbling through regular scenery trying to achieve a regular goal (like meeting someone somewhere, or slightly more interesting, put out a small fire) and almost always failing, usually to only mild annoyance.
I mean, like, what?
Where’s the alien worlds I spent countless hours daydreaming about when I was a teenager? The aliens I painstakingly designed? The dozens of people in my half dozen novels that mean the world to me? Where is the magic? Where is the excitement?
What is wrong with me?
Maybe there isn’t anything wrong with me. I’ve conjectured that my sleeping dreams are so mediocre because my waking dreams (my waking imagination) is extremely robust. Maybe I’ve spent so much time thinking about these things while I’m awake that my subconscious has nothing else to unpack while I sleep.
Or maybe my imagination isn’t as robust as I think it is.
Whatever the reason for my sleeping brain’s ineptitude, I cherish the rare interesting dreams. Like the one about time travel, where I had to keep trying to save a friend a la “Edge of Tomorrow” trying over and over again to get it right. Or any one where I’m a guy. Or the one, almost a decade ago, the one time I actually did get to talk to one of my main characters. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I remember his face, and I remember hugging him. That dream was in third person, my mind’s eye a camera floating at an appropriate angle.
One time. Just one time.
It’s okay, I’ll just have to keep daydreaming.
One thing I’ve noticed about my mundane dreams is that they’re always a few years behind my waking life. In the years after college, I still dreamed about going to class. In the years that followed, the settings of my dreams would be a few apartments behind. My first child didn’t appear in a dream until he was two, and when he did, he was a baby. Why have I never noticed that things aren’t quite right? Dream logic, I guess.
Are any of you in similar boats as me? Will my dreams always be boring and unmemorable? Obviously, it could be worse. But I hope it’s not a reflection of who I really am inside…