The Ellis Critique
Dreamed 2008/12/10 by Wayan
I'm reading Havelock Ellis's "The World of Dreams." For a famous sexologist he's amazingly dull. And wrong: he claims color is rare in dreams and lucid dreams are impossible--all those reports are just mistaken. Yeah, right.
Skeptical of Freud's elaborate dream-theories, Ellis looks for simple things: indigestion, cold feet. But he also thinks puns and idea-associations shape a dream's structure, and the bewildered dreamer then strains to put a normal face on these chimeras. Example: Hell Hall. Yet the hell/hall pun doesn't explain that dream's mood or theme or point. His other examples seem reductionist too; I keep thinking "Come on, that dream's a clever staging of an idea with a real message for the dreamer; why do you dismiss it as mechanical?"
Well, now I know what Ellis thinks of dreams, and what I think of what Ellis thinks of dreams. But what do my dreams think?
1: Frost can Cut
I'm in my mom's neighborhood, but the house is different. My dad's alive again, here with my mom. I get up early morning to find frost edging the leaves in white, and a light snow is falling. My dad warns "Careful if you have to work outside; those edges can be so sharp they'll cut your hands."
2: Gilt re-wounds my Sole
Need to pee. Get up and head for the bathroom. Feel my way in the dark--no need for light. I've lived here a long time in this maze of little rooms with wood-panel walls. My bedroom's on the ground floor. I'm not even sure there is an upper floor, though most houses here have two or more, and a six-floor apartment towers looms just southeast. Pee, then slip into the kitchen (south end of the hall), drink a cup of water, head back toward bed. Near my door, someone calls my name down a long hall to the right. My friend Mike's voice. Oh, right, he & his wife Nic live here too. I don't answer. I just want to sleep. Deal with whatever it is in the morning...
Slip into my room. My bed's just a pad on the carpeted floor. Leaning on my pillow is a big brown paper bag from my housemate Lily, full of Christmas ornaments. I'm annoyed because it's dusty--been in the garage for years--and the shag rug is already hard on my allergies. I need a real bed, I think, not a pad on the rug.
Lift the bag off the bed... and it spills! Tiny shiny ornaments swarm over my bed. No, they're beads on my bed really--they lack holes or hooks--just perfect spheres a centimeter wide, in lurid metallic colors. Even smaller gilt stars and glitter. Sharp. Ow! Stepped on one.
Clean up, grumbling. Foot surprisingly sore. Those stars aren't needle-sharp, what's wrong? I sit and check my sole. The ball of my foot has a healing scabbed-over wound--but the gilt star tore a third of the scab loose! Still bloody and raw beneath. Damn. If it hadn't torn, in a day or two it'd just be a scar. Now, who know's how long? A setback for my sole.
3: Lioness Eats Drumstick!
There's a lioness in my bedroom. Not my waking-world bedroom, nor the previous bedroom--now it's a big living room with a long sofa. She's friendly and relaxed, but I'm unsure if the lioness is wild or tame, so I'm cautious about petting her. She has a strange urge to eat a drumstick. No, not the kind you think, the kind that'd make sense--the musical kind, a round stick nearly half a meter long and over a centimeter thick. The strange thing about this pun is that I'm deaf to it in the dream because I think of the thing--despite its size and knob--as a CHOPstick!
She gnaws and gnaws and finally swallows it. Bad idea. Soon clearly feels distress. Moans. And her fur looks wrong--dry and scruffy, as if she has longer-standing problems. Vitamin A shortage, not enough fat?
I pet her, barely touching her fur, and "I'm sorry." But I can't call the vet, it's 3 AM. And the truth is I may lock her out of my bedroom so I feel safe and get some sleep so I can take her to the vet in the morning--if she lives that long. I can't pull out that chopstick. I mean drumstick.
So anxious I wake! A little sweaty, puffy, hot, achy: an attack of my mystery virus (or whatever it is). Just lie there sick a while, hoping I'll fall back asleep. 3:30 AM. I give up, get up, get water, aspirin. Write dreams. Still takes a long time before I can get back to sleep.
4: Bus Crash--Not!
Some kind of bus accident outside? I hear yelling and when I look out, a bus is skewed across the mouth of our street, blocking our driveway, nosed up against the stop sign. Yet there's no evidence any vehicles collided. Must have swerved to miss, and hit the sign.
Two guys are yelling and wrestling--whatever happened, a lotta blame goin' on! Smaller trucks have stopped--and an earthmover or backhoe. A big mess blocking traffic...
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