Dreaming

Darling (A4 mixed media and collage 2017)

I dread people telling me their dreams. I never quite know how to react: of course they’re surreal and strange, they’re dreams – not reality.

So let me tell you about one of mine…

I hardly ever remember my dreams unless I wake up in mid flow laughing or in a state of utter terror. A couple of nights ago I was putting the finishing touches to the picture above when I realised that its subject could in fact be a ghost or a corpse. With that thought I went to bed, read a few pages of Stacy Schiff’s book on the Salem witches and awoke a few hours later, disoriented by the following dream which I’ve tried to convey in the chopped-up way that I remembered it:

Where would the path have led us if we’d followed it to the very end?

You, holding my hand as the sun rises over the tree tops, the start of a new day that I sensed we wouldn’t see through to its conclusion.

Paper, a pencil, just a few lines before the effort became too great.

A book face down on the floor. A telephone ringing somewhere deep inside the house. And the corners of the room are still dark as soot from smoking candles.

What was the point of all those words, I wonder, if so many of them weren’t true? Your hair spread over the pillow, notes of blue and grey amongst the brown.

We’d always assumed I’d be the first to leave.

Birds sing like it’s any other day. A door slams. A car drives down the hill.

I was pleased to wake at that point. Even now I’m not sure what was part of the dream and what rushed in to fill the gaps when I awoke.

Later, in the morning sunlight the picture seemed less sinister: a pale-skinned woman thinking of past loves, travels and her childhood, nothing more unsettling than that.

A last, lighter word on dreams. A 12 year old British comedian called Grace the Child won an award for the following joke at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015: “People say to me, you’re young, live your dream! But I don’t want to be naked in an examination I haven’t revised for…”

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21 thoughts on “Dreaming

  1. The Neighbour had a dream yesterday that I had moved. Not far. Just up the road. But according to her just up the road was still too far. That was a kind dream, kind thought and kinder still of her to relate it to me. I told her that next time she dreamed of me moving anywhere, just up the road or otherwise, to make the move where the sun shines. A lot! We laughed….she’d be coming with. Dreams have a way of taking us places. Mind-Full or not. They are journeys in short-breaks. I see a full-on, Faced With Contemplation. Eyes wide open. Actually.
    Actually wonderful, Michael.

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  2. LOL at Grace the Child’s joke! That’s a good one. Your art is both haunting and chic at the same time…how did you do that? 🙂 As for dream interpretations, my scientific view is that it’s all bunk. Dreams are weird because they’re dreams, like you said! 😀

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    • This was originally a painting that I didn’t like so I painted over it with white acrylic, draw the outline of the face and hair with a stick dipped in ink, used brown ink for the hair spread with the edge of a credit card, and then added the collaged pieces. It was a joy to make!

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      • I was told as a child that if you spoke your dream out loud, it would not come back. I don’t know if it is true (although I can tell you a very bad dream I had about our spider plant strangling me did not return when I repeated it to quite a few people, who were all just fascinated, certainly…) Anyway, my husband is very patient. Lucky for me. I liked this lady’s portrait and I hope more come to you like this.

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  3. Thank you Michael. Food for thought as usual but this one especially poignant. Would contribute more thoughts to share but got to catch a plane!

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  4. You know I love your art but I do so savor your words. This phrase jumped out at me for sure “what was part of the dream and what rushed in to fill the gaps when I awoke.” I had never thought that I filled in gaps of my dreams with my waking life. I will have to be more aware.

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    • Thanks, LuAnne. I have no scientific backing for this, but I believe that when you wake your mind starts to try and make sense of your dreams if you wake mid-story, so to speak. So by the time you’re fully ‘there’ what one dreams and what one interprets start to merge. Thanks as always for your kind support – it’s much appreciated.

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