Category Archives: Strange Dreams

Dream Watch: There’s A Pattern Forming Here…

Following an obnoxious kid around a shopping mall, trying to get permission from him so Randy Newman could write a song about him. And Newman was following me around to make sure I got the job done. Why didn’t he just do it himself? Or more to the point, since when does Randy Newman (or any songwriter, for that matter) need permission to write a song about anyone?

But then here I am, trying to make sense of a dream.

Dream Watch: In A Rush

Last night’s assignment found me teaching a class about Rush – the band, not the Limbaugh. I had in my head how I was going to teach it, but was unsure of my qualifications since all I have are a couple of hits compilations.

Turns out it didn’t matter. The class was held in the basement of my church (there isn’t one in real life). Most of the students were members of my congregation. And the guy who was the best man in my wedding showed up.

The basement was cluttered, crowded and dark. I suggested moving because I thought some folks in the congregation might get mad if I played a Rush song inside a church building (and I dreaded having to explain the pentagram on the cover of 2112 – and isn’t there a naked guy on one of their other covers? I don’t know. Why was I teaching this class anyway?).

Turns out it didn’t matter. My students got mad because I was talking about moving the class. So I started the lecture, explaining why I wasn’t qualified to teach the class because I only had a couple of compilation albums…

Dream Log #2: Look That Up in Your Funk and Wagnall’s #2

I must be subconsciously thinking a lot about words of late, because I literally dreamed up another one:

fictoscopy. fict-AW-skopee or FIC-o-SKOP-ee, noun. A medical procedure featured in a novel, film or on TV that does not exist in real life. Usage: The heroine is diagnosed with Ali MacGraw’s Disease, and her only chance of survival is a risky fictoscopy.

Dream Log #1: Look That Up in Your Funk and Wagnalls

So I’m currently reading Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And Rock ‘N Roll Generation Saved Hollywood, which recounts the adventures of the likes of Coppola, Spielberg, Lucas, Altman, DePalma, Polanski, and a host of others, and how they changed Hollywood – first by making “films” instead of movies, and then, in the case of Spielberg and Lucas, by creating blockbuster films, and the now-ingrained blockbuster mentality now prevalent in the majors. And there’s been one recurring theme that has been in a lot of these people’s films, and that’s why, two nights ago, I dreamed what I did.

I forgot what the dream was. But I remembered the last thing I thought before I woke up. When I did, I told what I had dreamed to my wife, who was already awake, and she wrote it down.

And that is how I got this:

Nixtion. NIK-shun noun 1: The belief that a story can be made better by drawing parallels with, or turning it into an allegory for, the Nixon Administration. 2: A work that uses said parallels and/or allegory. Usage: The Spielberg films Jaws and Close Encounters both deal with secrets that have been kept from the public by a corrupt government, making them classic pieces of nixtion.

Now you know why I have dark circles under my eyes every morning.

Gorefest, or, How Green Was My Answer

I’m posting this at the left-handed behest of a friend of mine. It’s a dream I had, but it was no doubt triggered by a dream he had about me, in which I was married to Nicole Kidman1. He told me that Ms. Kidman was much nicer than he expected, and I told him of course she was – she was married to me after having had Tom Cruise, after all.

Anyway, no doubt filled with confidence because of my celebrity marriage, I somehow got up on the stage at the Al Gore Awareness Concert Live Earth and interrupted Mr. Gore while he was speechifying. I told him I wanted to ask him my Three Questions that I want every Global Warming Alarmist to answer.

To my surprise, he agreed. But as I asked the first question, he started dodging the answers, which only made me think of more questions. So the end result was like Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition sketch2: “Okay, now I have SIX questions.”

Incidentally, I really do have Three Questions for the Alarmists to answer. They are:

1) If man and modern technology are causing Global Warming, then what caused the temperature rise through the 14th century that made England warm enough to cultivate grapes?

2) If man and modern technology are causing the Earth to warm up, what is causing Mars to warm up at roughly the same rate?

3) If man-made Global Warming is scientifically verifiable, why are growing numbers of its supporters calling for censure or punishment for their peers who are skeptical of our guilt ( e.g., the Weather Channel exec who wants to revoke the AMS Certification of doubters, or RFK Jr.’s statement that skepics are traitors)?

In the dream they were funnier. So were Gore’s answers.

Listening: “Torch” – Soft Cell (Memorabilia – The Singles)

  1. I certainly do get around in other people’s dreams. Early in our marriage, my wife dreamed that I ran off with Elizabeth Taylor. Not to mention the one I had about Meg Ryan.
  2. Quite possibly the funniest piece of sketch comedy ever written. I laugh every time I see it. For another piece of Python genius that always gets me, here’s their World Hide and Seek Championship sketch. And here’s a bit of brilliance from SCTV that you literally will not see on TV due to music licensing issues.

You Don’t Want to Be Inside My Head, It’s Dark and Full of Spiders

Twenty-nine pages into putting the changes into the second draft of A Father Christmas sees the length down by two pages thus far. As I got into it and saw how the cuts were affecting the length, I was hoping the manuscript would be shortened by 1 page for every 10, which would cut the potential length by 15 minutes. I’m running a little short at this point, but I think it’ll come along.

Last night I dreamed that I invited some friends over from church because we were going to wait out the coming of the zombies. We were lackadaisically getting our survival gear in place, and I took out my Glock and started to load it. I told one of the guys from church, “This baby is great. It saved my life when this happened last year.” And at that point in the dream, I could remember what had happened the year before, and how the gun had indeed saved my life.

There was also a bit toward the end of the dream when I realized I didn’t have enough ammo to get through the night, and there was a part where a zombie got into the house, and when I aimed the gun at him, he said, “Hmmm, nice gun,” and I thought, “Ah, they’re intelligent this year.” But that’s kind of moot.

What’s really strange is having a dream that is so detailed, that I actually have memories of the dream’s back story.

It’s rather strange when that happens. This wasn’t the first time, but I remember the first. I dreamed that I’d been caught shoplifting and I was worried sick because it was my third offense, and I knew I was going to go to prison for it. And I could remember the other two times I got caught shoplifting. It was so vivid that when I woke up, I had to go into the bathroom and splash my face with cold water so I could wake up and remember that I’ve never done that sort of thing.

So this morning I told all of this to my wife, including the bit about the shoplifting dream, and she said, “I’m glad I don’t live in your head.”

Yeah. Sometimes it’s no picnic for me, either.

Listening:
Moving liquid
Yes, you are just as water
You flow around all that comes in your way
Don’t think it over
It always takes you over
And sets your spirit dancing

(via iTunes shuffle play)

Dreams and Nightmares

An Elder’s meeting spend going over the blueprints for our new building kept me away from the keyboard last night, but hey – that was part of the deal when I signed on with God.

So no writing to report, but instead something interesting. Be warned, though – the content that follows has a high gross-out factor. It’s also pretty creepy.

I have vivid, interesting dreams. Some are downright bizarre – I’m a lucid dreamer, and so if I start having a nightmare, I can wake myself up (except for one memorable dream when I told the bad guy, “You’re not doing that to me because this is a dream and I’m waking up.” He said, “Like hell you are,” and had two goons grab me and shoot me full of sodium pentothol). Thus, it’s been decades since I had a true nightmare.

But that doesn’t preclude really strange happenings. Many years ago I had a dream where I was looking in the bathroom mirror and there was what looked like a pimple on my face. So I squeezed it and this blob hits the mirror. I looked at it, and it was a mass of little creatures like tiny brine shrimp (or Sea Monkeys, to those of you who sent in for offers from comic books once upon a time).

I filed that dream with the sodium pentothol episode and another dream I had (a doctor who was about to examine me cut himself with a scalpel, and this fluorescent blue liquid came gushing out as his skin shriveled down like a deflated balloon) with the intent of using them in a novel about a person who becomes unable to distinguish between dreams and reality. In fact, this project is a strong contender now in my notion to blog my next novel.

Anyway, there’s a running theme there about bodily invasion, but I’m wondering now if it’s too late to write this novel.

Case in point: this news story that I wish was fiction. Instead, it’s like something from a David Cronenberg movie – the enemy is inside of us and is desperately fighting to get out. It’s called Morgellon’s disease, and there’s even a foundation out there that’s dedicated to studying it.

If there’s a lesson anywhere in this, it’s that this is a hazard faced by writers of speculative fiction, whether you’re writing bleeding edge thrillers or far-flung treatises set centuries in the future. There’s always the risk that what you write is going to catch up with you.

I think this has less to do with the whole Art imitates Life imitates Art debate and more with history and/or technology catching up with our imaginations (cf. Jules Verne). One of my favorite SF novels is George Alec Effinger’s great When Gravity Fails. It came out in the early 80’s, and you know what my two favorite parts of the novel were? 1) The Muslim-dominated future he postulated, and 2) the fact that the main character had a telephone that he’d just stuck in his pocket and carry wherever he went. We don’t have the former, although it strikes some as a worrisome possibility, and the latter is, as it was in the novel, an every day occurrence.

Some SF reader blogs out there have pointed out how there’s a lot of research involving computer interfacing being done with animal brains, and a couple have kindly pointed out that I did in 1987 in The Company Man (where computers used dog brains – whether literal or algorithmic was left up to the reader – as processing power). But that’s not as close to the edge as what happened with A Death of Honor.

(Longtime readers, forgive me as I repeat it one more time: 1) My Soviet-dominated future was rendered moot by the fall of the Berlin wall (but you know what – it was a fair trade). 2) While the book was in the process of being published, scientists announced a new disease they’d discovered called AIDS – so before it even came out, Honor was unfairly considered (and criticized in some circles) for being a reactionary novel.)

Still, we keep dreaming. Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2010 during the time that the Cold War was starting to whip into a frenzy of nuclear fear. It was his hope that the joint U.S./Russian venture into space would be something positive, and if he sent enough positive energy out, maybe it would happen.

On the other hand, I know writers who superstitiously feed us their nightmare scenarios in the hopes that, since they’ve been aired in fiction form, they won’t dare become a reality (although Morgan Robertson’s novel The Wreck of the Titan, written in 1889, didn’t keep the Titanic from sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic – and this story had both parallels and discrepancies).

I’m not advocating that creative work can save the world – I’ll leave believing that to the rock stars. In the work of the imagination, we’re bound to have hits and misses – we still don’t have our flying cars or zeppelin travel, although the latter may soon be a reality. Remember, too, that Honor had as many prescient misses as hits. It’s just really, really strange when the hits smack the target so close to center.

In the meantime, we keep presenting our visions to the world. And let the world do the job of sorting out whether they’re dreams or nightmares.

Listening:
it’s a grey and yellow dress
so beautiful the bees
they followed you through the mall
to the clearing in the wilderness
and you lay down and I picked you up
and I said you must never leave
your beautiful hands like knitting needles
and I said – it’s Jane it’s me
she said – when you go that’s when you go
lighten up and pass the cup
fifty bucks and that’s all you got?
yeah I love you I love you a lot
(via iPod Shuffle)