Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

Reoccurring Dreams

Man, dreams were great when I was younger. They were insane and fun and had great atmosphere. Most of my dreams as an adult are alternately about boring things or nightmares about things happening to other people I am responsible for. Which are not fun.

As a kid I had a number of reoccurring dreams. I mean, I assume I did. The thing about reoccurring dreams is…are they really reoccurring? When you’re in the dream and you’re like, ah, yes, I have been here/done this before, have you really? Or is that just another layer to the dream?

For example, when I was in early elementary school, we lived in a tri-level house out in the woods. Lovely place. We had seven acres of land, so I spent most of my time outside, exploring rocks and trees and imagining stories of my own creation.

The basement, however, was dark, lined with dark wood paneling and having a single wall of windows on one end. The light end was great (except for the time I fell off the shelf and broke my arm). The dark end was dark and featureless (and had an actual dark room, which we just…didn’t use for anything).

At the time I had a series of dreams involving the dark end of the basement. In the dream, I’d go down the stairs, but instead of there being nothing, there was kind of an…evil carnival. What exactly was there changed from time to time, but it was definitely something I dreamed various times. (There was an alligator once, and another time some scruffy little boy stole my favorite stuffed animal.)

My reoccurring dreams are always linked by place. It’s the place that’s reoccurring, and the events may or may not be linked from dream to dream. Oftentimes what’s changed in the place is directly related to how long it’s been since I’ve dreamed that particular dream.

I had reoccurring dreams a lot as a child, as I mentioned above. But, all of sudden, I’m having them again as an adult. I mean, I’m dreaming those same places from when I was younger, not having new reoccurring dreams.

I had one last week, though I don’t remember what specifically it was anymore. And I had one last night.

Let me back up. As a kid, my grandparents’ house was one of my favorite places. It was where I saw and played with my cousins. It’s where we spent a lot of time when my parents were divorcing, where I first got to touch and learn how to use a computer (and play games), where I spent hours up the crabapple or jumping off the wall or lazing about in the hot tub. My grandfather had a mining consulting business in the basement, with pictures of huge equipment and coal cores (which I touched only once and then learned my lesson) and this giant printer–and my grandfather was my very favorite person, may he rest in peace.

So it makes sense that I had a dream grandparents’ house that I would visit. The dream one was huge, several stories tall, with a tower, and a rideable miniature railroad, and a pool, and part that looked like a castle inside and out, and museum exhibits, and a place to host haunted houses, and mini golf. A giant library. Huge rooms for me and my cousins to stay in. And there was a separate building in the back, which was the “original” house (whatever that means in dream world), smaller and more modest but still not at all related to the real-world house.

I dreamed of this version throughout my childhood, but I don’t think I have since my grandfather died (19 years ago). Or I might have once afterwards–I have a vague memory of something being wrong with the tower and it having to be anchored to the hill behind it–but no matter what, it’s been a while.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself there last night, surrounded by my family (including my uncle, dead these eight years). The house, if anything, had become grander and bigger in the years since. But there was an undertone of disuse and decay throughout. There was a burst pipe that no one had bothered to repair for several years. Portions of it (such as the castle and the pool) were open to the public.

But the general feeling was that we, the family, had to give the place up, that it was empty and falling apart, and that we’d lost control and there was nothing to be done.

Not the most optimistic of dreams, but also not that surprising. After my grandfather died, family get-togethers were never really the same. That’s to be expected, I think, and perhaps explains why the reoccurring dreams stopped.

And last summer, my grandmother decided to move out of that house I loved so much from my childhood and sell it. So maybe this was just that–a last dream farewell to someplace that meant a lot to me, but that is now (and to be honest, has been, at least emotionally) no longer available.

A little slow on the uptake–the house sold months ago–but a farewell nevertheless, and a thinly-veiled metaphor of how family changes as you age and people leave your life while new people enter it.

Man, it is a cool house, though. Maybe I’ll dream of it again sometime, in better times.

Dream Structure

I don’t know if we’ve talked about this before, Squiders, but I dream in stories. It’s very odd.

(The main plotline for Shards came directly from a dream, actually.)

Not all the time, certainly, but quite often, especially if I’m aware that I’m dreaming. As such, a lot of times I am not directly involved in the events of my dreams myself, but function more as an outside observer, like I’m watching a movie. And if I am lucid dreaming, I can change plotlines to make more “sense” (as much as anything makes sense in a dream).

(Have you ever had those dreams, where you’re stuck on a problem, and you spend your whole night dreaming about a solution for said problem, and then when you wake up you discover that your brilliant solution makes no sense in the real world? That drives me crazy.)

Sunday night, however, my dreams threw in another twist.

They gave me a prologue before the dream’s main plot began.

I mean–what. Just…what the heck, brain.

I mean, I have no idea how dreams work, but it seems extremely optimistic to think that my brain had the entire dream planned out enough where it could put together an accurate prologue–and it did end up working. Though I don’t know how much of that may have been because the dream changed to reference the prologue.

(To be perfectly honest, I could have done without this dream and its storyline altogether, because it was creepy and I didn’t need to spend all night on that, thank you.)

Does anyone else dream in stories? If so, have you ever adapted a dream!story into something real (a novel, short story, game, drawing)?

Converting Dreams to Stories

Last night, I had a nightmare. It was kind of a strange half-asleep, half-awake one, where there was this malicious entity staring at my husband and me while we slept from the shelves in our bedroom, and I tried to scream and couldn’t…

We don’t actually have shelves in our bedroom. Thanks, subconscious mind, now I kind of want some.

When I don’t wake up from a nightmare – or any dream, actually, where I’ve become aware of being in a dream, my brain tries to make it into a story. It will add additional characters, try out some sort of arc, and, while I am dreaming, it will seem like a great story, and I will wake up thrilled.

The problem comes when I start to try and organize it to write it down.

There’s some sort of logic disconnect between your subconscious and conscious mind, and what seems complete while asleep will become insubstantial when you try to pin it down. Details slip through your fingers, and you find more holes and missing details than you thought you would, and the whole process is very disconcerting, because you  felt like you had a complete, engaging story and it turns out that you only have a few vague impressions.

And if you do manage to get a full story out of it in the end, a lot of times it doesn’t resemble the dream story at all. I, at least, have trouble matching the feeling of a fleshed out, sense-making story to the etherealness of the dream.

Squiders, how about you? Does your brain make lovely stories for you that fall apart upon waking? Do you find it easy or hard to convert them into a real story?