Dreamed 2001/6/13 by Chris Wayan
Here's a whole night of strange dreamlets. It's my only dream record for mid-2001, when I was so busy building the World Dream Bank that for the first time in decades I didn't keep a journal. "Mentor" survived by a fluke: it was so vivid I scrawled the dream on an envelope in pencil, jammed it between two pages of a book, thinking I'd type it up later that day. I found it five years later! It was faint and telegraphic, full of abbreviations, so this transcription is rougher than most.
I present it to show that brief written records don't necessarily mean poor recall--or dull dreams. They contradict the prevalent view that dreamnesia is purely biochemical. There are cultural, psychological, and practical reasons people actively forget their dreams even as they're waking up. Building the Dreambank, I got so busy I lost touch with my dreams (like a real American! I felt so adult!) My recall dropped to zero; was this biochemistry? But the moment I made an effort, started scribbling on an envelope, I recalled six dreams in a night! While a couple of these (3 and 4) are probably scenes from one REM period, it's near-certain that these six records represent multiple REM sessions, yet from the handwriting I'm certain that I wrote it all down at once--half asleep in early morning. That means several of these dream-traces survived not just till the next nonREM period, but all night!
So don't tell me dreamnesia is chemical--or inevitable! The water was there; I'd just ignored the well.
I set for my therapist's office, but my car doesn't start. Call and say I'll be late. Have car towed to the mechanic, ride along, with my bike in the towtruck's bed. Bike from the garage over to Shelley's office; it's only a mile or so. Five minutes.
Shelley say she sees a pattern in my family: we never get promoted in jobs, because we offend our bosses. Blunt, undiplomatic, if we see injustice we just have to scream about it. Noble, but not lucrative!
She's right, I am unsubtle; but I'm afraid my unemployability (and in America, it takes a certain ability to stay unemployed) is deeper than that. My intuition says no to all the roads to work that I've seen. Either I'm meant to starve, or I have to find some non-job way to make a living. Art? Music? Writing?
Spend the evening working on the Dreambank. Like every evening... for months now. Obsessed.
DREAM 1: HEADLESS CORPSE, SHAPESHIFTING MENTOR
A huge stone castle. Looks medieval, but this is the future, not the past! Silent and empty, but I sense watchers as I enter the keep. Explore... and in what seems to be the throne room or main dining hall, find a headless body.
A huge hawk flies in an open window and circles the hall. Lands on a table. Preens, fluffs up, and... keeps growing.
Wow! For a long time, I've been looking forward to meeting this master of shapeshifting--but the time and place kept needing to be rescheduled, until I just gave up trying to arrange it. Now fate's brought us together!
I feel shy. All I can say is "Oh. I didn't recognize you." S/he guffaws. "What's the joke?" I ask.
S/he: "You can't IMAGINE how often I hear that!" S/he looks around, takes in the corpse on the throneroom floor. "Though not usually in THIS context."
Oh. Yeah, I guess a shapeshifter would hear that a lot. "Sorry. Stupid of me."
"We'll see, won't we? Listen to this! Your first lesson." And s/he explains a complex issue. Inside a minute, I'm dizzy and straining to grasp the complexity of it--and fail. Just too hard. This has happened several times in recent dreams. Damn. Maybe I'm just a washed-up dreamer.
S/he says "Don't be discouraged. You're doing well. Look at the LAST student." Waves at the headless meat on the stone floor. "Blew HIS mind!" s/he snickers. Then sobers. "No, sorry, just teasing. This isn't a failed shaman. It's a message for you. I'm afraid it means plague and war." S/he's quite matter of fact about it, with the sympathetic tone of an adult who knows a child will be heartbroken over news that grownups would take in stride; for it's just the way of the world.
Notes in the Morning
DREAM 2: THE DRAGON'S TEETH
I'm in a little concrete bunker on a ledge above the sea, on one of the Dragon's Teeth--green cliff-walled islets in a reefy tropical sea. Lush jungle, ferns, little waterfalls down the cliffs. Hikers on the trails. But the paths are dangerously narrow, overhung, rail-less, eroded and slippery in the wet. Stray off the path and you fall to your death!
Notes in the Morning
DREAM 3: SEX WITH THE ART OF WAR
My friend Yirko talks in the next room with two sisters--twins in fact. Or are they just two of a larger set of clones? Now they pass by the open door--wow, they're hot! No surprise; I knew they work as models.
I'd like to go out and join them but I can't--I'm all tied up. Literally: I'm hooked up to electrodes, naked on the couch, being sexually stimulated by a digital smartbook! It's using electrical readings from my cock for feedback and sending impulses back... It's not techno-masturbation, but a sort of sexual therapy or retraining.
You'd expect the book to be either psychology or smut, but it's neither: "The Art of War", Sun-tzu's classic on strategy! So that makes this... strategic masturbation?
I'm not sure whose strategy. Is this strange sexual situation MY initiative... or the BOOK'S? It's smart enough to decide on its own to do this. Looks creepy, a bit vampiric, or like I'm a cow attached to a milking machine. But I think it means well--some weird form of training.
And WHATEVER's going on here, it'll take a while before I can disengage the electrodes--or should.
Notes in the Morning
DREAM 4: CHARMING SAN MATEO
I'm at a film festival in San Mateo, the suburb where I grew up, 40 km south of San Francisco. Behind me, in the movie-theater audience, a woman calls San Mateo "a charming town." Now the twin models from the previous dream get up and introduce tonight's film...
Notes in the Morning
DREAM 5: DAD TOSSED MY ART SUPPLIES
A girl asks me about some books and cards and art supplies. I'd give them to her, but my dad tossed them out--without even asking me!
DREAM 6: CYTHEREAN TREES
I'm on Venus, after terraforming. Treeish things on ridges. A local denies that they're alive, but it's obvious they are... why are we even debating this? The only question is whether they're not just alive but sentient.
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