I took a three hour nap today. It wouldn’t have been so long, had that dream not kept going. I woke up every hour, but as my eyes opened, the dream would go away, so I went back to sleep and, unlike other times, the dream picked up where it left off.
I have a lot of friends who keep dream journals. I have always been attracted to the idea, but not out of any interest in the “mystic” meanings behind my dreams. There is an unusual cultural undercurrent that is obsessed with dreams right now. Historically, dreams have been prized for their potential meanings. But these days, it seems that people prize dreams for their potential experiences. As to why things happen the way they do in dreams, I have no idea, but I am sure there are psychologists who blah blah about it. Anyway.
The dream, unfortunately, is mostly gone right now and the intensity of the images is certainly not there, but unlike other times, I mostly remember what it was about. It was about this woman who worked in an upper room of some kind of hospital. She would sew and knit and deal with strings all day. Her room had perpetual sunlight streaming through the windows–but I never saw the outside. She would make these creatures with the string, these creatures that she seemed to bring to life before they were made. I theorized about why she did this, but there was so much cruelty around her, that I suspect it was just to be cruel. When she made the creatures before they were made, they would scream and feel the pain of every stitch.
All of the creatures were different, but I remember one kind, one called an “apochee” (I knew, because she stitched their names on their sides). I remember them wailing on the stitching beds, but as soon as they were done being made, they were fine and would walk around normally. To say that it was normal is pretty relative; the things had no faces or arms or legs as far as I could tell, they just seemed like long throw pillows.
There was an entire city–or maybe nation–that revolved around this woman. It was all left unexplained and I do not remember leaving the “station.” I remember trying to, running down a white hallway as if it was a hospital for the mentally insane, but these doctors or guards came and began trying to unstitch me. I screamed and tousled my way out of their arms and ran back to her. Even though the people that worked for her were intensely cruel, she was safe. I hid behind her and she told me to calm myself. So I did and the doctors or guards walked away as if their job stopped mattering.
That is what I remember of her and her creatures, but there were two other images. As dreams tend to go, they were somehow connected. I must also say that this one is more disturbing than the first. If you want to skip it, it is just the next paragraph. I’ll be brief.
It was in the middle of a landscape like a painting, underneath a stone bridge. And a man stood under the arch of the bridge, looking up. A cavern opened up to the sky and he began levitating into it. As he moved up, there would be certain obstructions in the way–a giant wax hand, an over-sized rolling pin, a mask–but they would move out of the way like there was no gravity. As he came to the end of the cavern, there was a giant baby head with white chomping teeth. And the baby was all smiling and fresh (and, I must say, very un-baby-like) and there was some sweet mother’s voice coming someplace, telling the baby to drink from the bottle and that it was okay. So as if the man was a bottle, the baby put the man’s head into its mouth and bit down. A very unusual form of decapitation.
Sharing the dream is making me realize a potential theory: things are disturbing when the form does not match the content. The form of the delicate landscape painting and the voice of the sweet mother (and a baby, which is the poster-child for innocence) does not match the content of what is basically an unnecessarily-complicated guillotine.
Another note: I wonder how many of Kafka’s stories were inspired by dreams. All of the images felt very Kafkaesque (did I really just use that?) and maybe a little like Lewis Carroll.
I still have no idea what dreams are all about. But hey, they’re fun.