When it comes to the dream life, I don’t remember anything at all. It’s never really been a part of my routine like it is for other people. When I sleep, I don’t move and I don’t wake until it’s morning. I’ve slept through hurricanes before.
I always think it would be a curse to be one of those people who always remembers what their unconscious stirs up every night. My mom used to have a recurring chase sequence in her dreams that drove her crazy for over a decade. I have a lot of friends like that too and I feel somewhat sorry for them. One of my friends seems to always dream about killing people in a really graphic fashion, which unsettles her quite a bit. When I sleep, I like having that absolute oblivion. I don’t want cracks of light and colors creeping in. Or murders and dismembered body parts, for that matter. I want to forget and I want sleep-death.
On the other hand, it could make for good storywriting. A lot of writers and artists have worked dreams directly into their style and aesthetics, and I really love when that happens. I love the effects surrealism can have, despite the fact that I wouldn’t know anything about it on this more personal level. I like how things suddenly become more figurative and how worlds have the potential to run parallel or bleed together.
In high school, we had to keep a dream journal for my creative writing class. I ended up having to make everything up simply because I could never remember my dreams. Sometimes, there were scraps or residual images, but never enough to assemble a story from. One of the stories I tried to turn into a dream was of an ancient temple (everything was grainy or sepia-toned, no colors) that I was desperately trying to navigate. It was like a labyrinth and I was completely lost, running and running until a flood eventually carried me away to the exit. Or maybe it wasn’t an exit and I actually drowned instead. That was the moment when I was supposed to wake up.
I wonder if it is possible to navigate that temple for myself again while asleep. I’ve heard of lucid dreaming and the possibility of taking control of the plot yourself, but I wouldn’t know anything about it. It seems like an art completely lost on me. I also read a study once that somehow found a positive correlation between daydreaming (thinking creatively and critically) a lot during the day and sleeping well (and dreamless) at night. So, I suppose, it broke people down into daydreamers and nightdreamers, travellers of the conscious and the unconscious.
Maybe I’m just one of those insufferable daydreamers whose waking life is enough like a dream–or navigated like a dream–that nightdreaming is seen as irrelevant or stale by comparison. Maybe the borders are too strongly sealed off and it can’t bleed through (sorry, Mr. Murakami) and my unconscious knows its place. It knows how I suddenly wouldn’t be the pilot (or the author) anymore and I’ll lose my grip quickly. But then again, most of my time seems to be spent on thinking about things like labyrinths and floods anyway.