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Annabel Rose

Dreamed 2006/12/14, by Emily Joy

I'm walking in a strange place of rolling hills and wrought-iron fences and flagstone walkways, an old-fashioned park so vast I cannot see any of the border fences. This park is famous for being a hang-out spot for celebrities, especially actors, who wander the grounds impersonating other celebrities. I see Viggo Mortensen impersonating Sean Connery, and under a nearby tree Barbara Streisand is strumming a guitar and singing Blowing in the Wind a la Joan Baez.

Then I encounter Charlie Chaplin impersonating Edgar Allen Poe--or is it the other way around? Either way, this crumpled, black-and-white man sticks out like a sore thumb, drawing stares. He stops to talk to me; we're old friends. Ghostly, chalk-white girl in black frock and striped stockings stands on a green grave; headstones behind.

He's on his way to the cemetery. "I have a date with dear Annabel," he tells me. "Perhaps you should tag along; you may find this interesting."

In the heart of the cemetery, Annabel hovers over her grave, glowering at us. She's a ghost! An angry ghost. She clutches at Poe and whines, "I love you." But her energy is completely insincere and malignant.

Poe says, "You're overlooking one thing..."

Annabel interrupts and repeats, "I love you," and I feel her forming a vortex of words. She's trying to suck him into the grave with her!

Poe knows. He says again, "You've missed the point. I cannot love you."

The ghost swells, her white face becoming quite ugly. "WHAT! WHY?" she screams.

Poe replies soberly, "Because you're dead. You're not here. You're not even yourself."

Suddenly it dawns on the ghost. She whimpers, and, like a signal breaking up, she dissolves into static and fades away.

I let out the breath I'd been holding. That energy was strong! "Wow, Edgar," I say weakly. He tenderly places a pale purple rose on Annabel's headstone, and recites a eulogy. We exit the cemetery by a different path, coming out on cliffs above the sea. Poe turns dark and brooding. I leave him to dwell on his Annabel Lee, wander away over the dark hills, and wake up.

NOTES IN THE MORNING

So is Annabel my body and Poe my mind? Acting for the best, even if it hurts--that's how I've approached sex. I suppress fear and discomfort and try to endure because I want so much to know why people say it's so good. While Annabel grows angry and dissatisfied...

Or is it the other way around, is she my mind? Saying "I love you" to my body and not really meaning it, reaching for a goal that might even hurt...

Or are they both my mind? I was standing there in my day-body, watching. Apparently, my body is a spectator; chances are she doesn't know what we're doing any more than the rest of us. So really, this isn't a conflict between mind and body, but between mind and...mind. Ghostly, chalk-white girl in black frock and striped stockings stands on a green grave; headstones behind.

Poe dwells on Annabel.
Annabel casts a nasty spell.
Break the spell, quell Annabel...

And then what? What am I missing here?

--Emily

EDITOR'S WILD GUESS

It all sounds quite positive to me, and simpler than you're making it out to be. You ASKED your dream why your mind won't let your body come. And your dream told you. Annabel's your old model of love and sex, and she's dead, dead, dead. She was artificial, gothic, tragic, obsessive. Tense! Ow! No wonder body had nooooo fun! Drama'd to death!

Luckily, your brain won't go along. It won't play the old games any more. They're dead, it's over.

Rather than minutely analyze the problem, or the dream, all you have to do is leave the graveyard and go somewhere non-gothic, non-tragic, uncomplicated. Avoid drama, (that's Annabel's turf. I mean burial plot). Just do things that feel good. Mindless exercise. Or mindless laziness. Scratching. Farting. I don't know. The small stuff. Renewal after a death isn't immediate. It starts with a fallow time, then mere seedlings. Some of the loveliest, sexiest dreams I've ever had came after I just lay around and did massage on myself and stretched and lay in the sun. Simple? No. It's hard. For a Poe. It's easier to be dark, brilliant, intense... and Goth yourself to death.

It takes willpower to be a Raven and say "Nevermore." But if Poe in your dream can say it, stick to his hard-headed truths, so can you. He's your brain, right? You did it in your dream. Now you just have to do it by day. Day by day by day. It's a long-term project, I admit. I'm terrible at it myself. Always slipping.

Beats being dead. And dramatic. Ugh, what a combo.

--Chris Wayan



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