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Roll It!

Dreamed before 1983 by C.W. Truesdale

We are sitting in the front row of the balcony of a huge, old-fashioned movie theatre. The movie is about to begin--perhaps the frilly new version of "The Great Gatsby" or a costume porn job in full color.

Comfortable as they are, there is something very disconcerting about our seats. In fact, we are sitting in the front buckets of a long open yellow Dusenberg touring car. I have no idea how on earth they got it up there. R is licking a big round cherry-flavored sucker and fantasizing again about being a nightclub torch singer or a glamorous movie star with big boobs like Dolly Parton.

Just then, someone shouts from way back in the dark recesses of the theatre: "Roll it!" and my foot slips off the brake.


On the surface, this is no more than an old-fashioned catastrophic "falling" dream, or what I term a "vortex dream," though it has strong humorous and erotic undertones. It is also one of dozens of theatrical dreams I've recorded in recent years...

R is present in many of them and is, in this one, acting very much in character, since a sense of theatre permeated nearly everything she did. Perhaps because she knew so well how to mirror herself in other people, she had that rare gift of being able to see herself and yet be wholly involved in whatever she was doing. Her appetite for life and for acting out her fantasies was insatiable, but her performances were always convincing, often hilarious, and quite genuine. To her, life was simply theatre. And from her, I first really learned the difference between being judgmental and being aware; between external authority and inner power; and between control and adventure. Her presence in a dream like this one turns catastrophe into comedy, the foot slipping off the brakes into a different kind of falling, or letting go.

The pun elements are so strong here that they very nearly turn this dream into parody. The most obvious one (in the phrase "Roll it!") was so amusing inside the dream that the downward rushing, vortex-like catastrophe that often occurs in such dreams (especially among children) gets cut off, even though the less obvious (but very complex) secondary pun-word, "sucker," does seem to anticipate the vortex--if I think about it and put aside the other meanings inherent in the image of the woman licking the cherry-flavored sucker. Since this is clearly an ex post facto dream (occuring two or three years after the relationship had been terminated), the woman is probably "suckering" the man in two senses of that word: he has probably been a fool for allowing himself to be "sucked into" an amorous relationship that only God or the Last Puritan could resist. But she also may be "succoring" or "nourishing" him by letting him rediscover the whole range of his experience and personality, including the "little sucker" he was as a child. These opposing meanings are, of course, reflected in the balancing of terror and delight throughout the dream.

SOURCE: Dreamworks: an Interdisciplinary Quarterly (v.3, no.2, summer 1983, p.97; one of four "Vortex Dreams")

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