RHYS: Do you dream? Well, of course they say that everyone does. But do you remember your dreams? My husband doesn't and swears he doesn't dream. But I've always had particularly vivid dreams--some scary and some spectacular as in the days when I dreamed I was flying.
In the old days dreams were seen as portends--remember good old Joseph and the seven fat cows and seven thin cows?
It was only recently with Freud and the advent of modern psychology that it was realized that dreams are a portal to the subconscious mind. I took a course on dream psychology when I was at university and I was absolutely hooked. Of course Freud saw all dream symbols as related to sex but more modern thought has found that there are universal dream symbols all over the world. Appearing naked in public, being in a runaway vehicle, being chased by a monster are common to all humans. Also symbols like the house. If you dream you are in a house, that house often represents you and how you view yourself. If it's a palace, you think well of yourself. If it has dark rooms you don't want to go into, there are parts of yourself you are afraid to reveal.
Of course we also have dreams where the mind is in freefall and images are just random and silly but in the earlier part of the night we will have our significant dreams. If they are recurring, it's good to analyze them. Some are obvious like my recurring dream of having to pack too many suitcases in a rush or miss my flight. I've been in a car that runs backward down a hill. I've been standing in the wings ready to go onstage and realize I don't know my lines. All famliar?
If you can't make out what the dream is telling you, write it down or tell it to someone else. Usually you will use language that explains the dream. Example: an English friend told me she has this recurring dream about being in Marks and Spencer's (the department store) and wanting to buy things but it's almost closing time and the racks are almost empty. I told her that was easy to solve by the words she chose. She had told me she wanted to go to art college but her father wouldn't let her. Now she was considering going back to art school. But had she left it too late? It clue was that she was in a place where you get MARKS (the English word for grades) Fun, huh?
This fascination with dreams led to my new Molly book, THE EDGE OF DREAMS, that came out last week. The story hinges on Freud's recently published Interpretation of Dreams being able to help solve a baffling crime with a young girl who survived a fire, remembers nothing, but is plagued by vivid nightmares. If they unlock the symbols in her dream they will know what happened.
So fellow reds and readers do you have recurring dreams? Have you be able to unlock their meaning?
HALLIE EPHRON: Oh Rhys, that is completely fascinating. What a splendid premise.
I dream that I'm packing and I can't possibly get everything packed in time and get to the bus station or train station or airport. No mystery what that's about. Anxiety. I also have yard sale dreams. Those I love. No idea what they mean.
RHYS: I have the same packing dream, Hallie. But yard sale? Could that mean that you're doubting the value of what you have to offer? Are your books good enough or perhaps a hidden gem? Or could it be that your husband LOVES yard sales so the topic comes up frequently?
LUCY BURDETTE: I can't wait to read this Freud book, Rhys. As a psychologist, I KNOW that dreams are important. I can recall many moments (as both a patient and a therapist) when a dream unlocked the door to understanding and clearing away a knotty problem.
The most frequently recurring dream I have these days is expecting guests and spending what seems like hours trying to figure out where they could all possibly stay. I don't suppose that has to do with living in Key West during a winter that was awful for so many others?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I used to have the ready to go on stage and don't know lines dream. Then one night, in the dream, I said -"This is a DREAM. So I'm not worried. And anyway, I DO know the lines. Well enough, at least." Never had it again.
I do still dream I can't get somewhere, and can't figure out why. Last night I dreamed there were lots of spiders and we had to wear plastic suits to protect ourselves. (Lucy, Rhys, anything?)
My favorite is my house dream. I have it all the time. I'm in my own house, but it's not my current house, or any real house, but it's absolutely mine, and there's a door in the back of my closet (not to Narnia) which I ALWAYS forget about. I go through it, and there's a whole room of beautiful wonderful stuff, all in narrow mahogany drawers, like map drawers. Scarves, and shawls, velvets, and paisley wools, and pearls, all beautiful wonderful things. I think--why do I always forget this is here? And I am so happy! Sometimes, in the morning, I groggily think I should go look for it. It is incredibly real.
But then, so were the spiders.
(And I am reading your wonderful book right now!)
RHYS: Not sure about the spiders. I think we all have our monster/creepy things dreams but you're obviously good at protecting yourself with the plastic suit. I'd just have run away screaming. But the house....you are quite content with the person you are. Fulfilled. Excellent.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I have the house dream, too, Hank, and if I recall aright, Lucy told us that meant a sense of many possibilities. Either that, or we want to move... I often have dreams where I'm about to get information I need from someone, or from a book, and then I wake up and am incredibly frustrated that I can't recall what the answer was.
RHYS: I was taught that the house means our perception of ourselves.
JULIA: You know who has interesting dreams? Ross. He has these action-adventure dreams that sound, when he recounts them, like a Bruce Willis movie. I'll hear him making noises and twitching, and wake him to discover I just saved him from a pit of crocodiles he had to cross to rescue his captured platoon. Not even lying. It's too bad he has no facility for fiction - clearly he has the imagination to be another Clive Cussler.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I have house dreams, too! I will be in a house that is nothing like anywhere I've ever lived or any house I've seen, but I know it's MY house. I'm always going into new rooms and finding new things. These dreams are so vivid that I feel shocked when I wake up and it's not real. I would suspect that my subconscious is telling me I have interesting and unexpected things left to discover--tailor-made for a writer:-)
Julia, Rick has the same kind of action/adventure dreams. He said they almost never contain anyone he knows, and that it's like watching a movie. Wonder if it's a male/female thing?
RHYS: So please share your interesting dreams with us--recurring dreams, dreams you've been able to interpret and dreams you've never managed to figure out. I'm going to give a copy of THE EDGE OF DREAMS to the most interesting comment of the day!