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Graphic story collection, 2006, by Chris Wayan

This isn't quite a graphic novel, but a novel-sized collection of psychic, erotic, shamanic and just plain crazy dreams that I'm finishing up right about now.

Here's a sketch of the cover, showing me drawing dreams, IN a dream. No, it's not fantasy. It's memory. I have been a sphinx in dreams.

The motto for the series is simply:

"I've always lived other lives, while this me sleeps. Other bodies. Other times. Other worlds.
I draw my lives."
Wayan, the artist, as a sphinx
And that's exactly what Dreamtales is. It collects dreams I drew from the mid-1990s through the early 2000s, that weren't easily presentable on the Web (the shaded pencil graphics are far too detailed, and the layouts are too flowing to cut up easily into screen-size panels). But I've posted many of the dream-texts with at least sample illustrations:

Here's the introduction:

My Other Lives

These tales are dreams. Not dream-inspired, or based on dreams. Real dreams. Just... a different kind of dream. Why do people assume we all dream the same way? We don't.

In my earliest clear memory, I was a horse, galloping with my herdmates across a red desert toward a wild fluted castle of eroded stone. At Shiprock's foot was a roofless, abandoned hogan. We went inside, spooked, but curious. It was strange, in the sheltered, windless octagon, looking up at the warm blue sky. Suddenly I woke, to find myself in a strange body: I was a young human child!

I stayed human in the daylight, but went back to being a horse every night. Gradually, the dreams branched out, and I grew up in many other bodies, other times, even other worlds.

I quickly learned to hide my out-of-body (and telepathic and clairvoyant and predictive) dreams. America's an oneirophobic culture. Even sleep is suspect here.


Dreams are real. My other lives are just as solid, coherent, and clear as your waking world. The vague choppy experiences you call dreams sound to me like bad TV reception... or the surf-zone between land and sea. If you just keep going out through the roar of static--all the foam and chaos--you reach a vast stable realm dotted with other lands as solid as your own. But most folks turn back, due to alarm clocks (thank capitalism) or fears that dreams are spooky and crazy (thank the witch hunts).

My clear recall and tendency to dream deep may be partly a genetic quirk, like perfect pitch (maybe music and dreaming are even related: both my sisters dream as I do, and we're all musicians, too). But partly it's circumstance--my life's safe and rather quiet, and I have the time to cultivate dreams. When I do get tired and stressed from too much busyness, I lose touch and get surf-zone dreams myself. Dreamwork costs--I can't stay up late, can't work morning shifts. Dreams bear hard messages. Writing and drawing eat time and energy. Dreamwork's an indulgence some can't afford.

But learning to read takes time too--does that make literacy an elitist indulgence? The art of dreaming's worth making time for. Or so I hope to prove!

More than that--I hope this sketchbook of my own dream-travels will inspire you to swim out beyond the shallows where Freud dabbled… into deep dream country.

--Chris Wayan--

Tentative table of contents (click to enlarge):
Table of contents for 'Dreamtales'. The artist (Wayan) as a mermaid surrounded by huge bubbles with the names of dreams and page numbers
The dreams are all drawn; it's just a matter of packaging: covers, binding, pagination, etc, then sending a PDF version to or someplace similar. If you've self-published this way and have warnings or recommendations, I'd love to know...

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