Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dreams. I need 'em.

I guess we could call it a contest, but I ain't buying no prizes or nuthin. How does 'sincere gratitude' sound for a prize?

Anyway. I'm working on a story now that has five big scenes set in the realm of dreams. But like I told my good friend Vivi, I don't want to write cheesy, 'Hollywood'-type dream sequences that don't resemble anything any normal person would dream -- I'm looking for common elements, common themes: things that will make a reader say, "Oh yeah, I've had dreams like that."

Having a monster chase you and only being able to run in slow motion, showing up for work and realizing you forgot to wear pants, having your teeth inconveniently drop out in the middle of a conversation -- things like that. I've already done a good bit of research, but I'd like to hear from normal folks too. Especially writers -- because I've noticed they tend to have pretty colorful ones.

If you'd like to help a brother out, you can leave short dream descriptions in my comments, or, if they're more personal somehow, you can email them to veen.ray@gmail.com. And wilder IS better. I want my dream scenes to have familiar elements, but I also want them to be creative, original and breath-taking. So anything you have to contribute would be greatly appreciated. My intention is to use them for inspiration, but who knows? I just might steal them outright -- I can be a jerk that way.

To kick this thing off, I'll share one of my recent ones:

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I was some kind of desk cop, working in an office with two other desk cops. This creepy, wacked-out, weirdo came in and started being belligerent and insulting, like he wanted to get arrested -- even going so far as to poke us and deliberately jostle us as we worked. Because he seemed to want to be arrested, we were reluctant to do so -- until he shoved me.

I got mad and told him that if he did that one more time, I'd take him into custody, and of course, he did it again. So me and my desk cop buddies hopped up and tried to arrest him. He started to fight back, but he was grinning and hollering and laughing like it was the most fun he ever had. In my dream, I got the icky sense that this was part of some kind of sick fetish for him.

Anyway. Once we had him on the ground and restrained, he let out this explosive burst of diarrhea that he'd apparently been holding for this exact moment. It soaked his pants, and pooled beneath him, and in my dream -- I could actually smell it!

It made me choke and gag, and I stumbled away making some sort of 'hurp' sound while the guy and my cop buddies laughed at me.

So go ahead. Psychoanalyze. Just be sure to leave a little something in exchange.

16 comments:

Mary Paddock said...

I don't often recall my dreams. They are usually muddled and confusing (this is probably because of the weird hours I keep). The only ones I generally remember are the ones who wake me up. This one is no exception and it is jammed full of archetypes.

A few years ago I dreamed I came home to find a group of teenage girls stealing from me. For some reason, I was helpless to stop them--it was like there was no fight in me--only a "lost" sad feeling. They ridiculed me and left me in tears as they collected more of my things--some jewelry, which meant nothing to me, a silver mirror ( I don't have one), and a matching silver picture frame (which I also don't own). I wanted those last two items back badly, but I didn't really know why. They got in a car wearing my jewelry and drove off laughing. I was terribly upset and ran after them as their car disappeared around a curve in a cloud of dust.

A short time later another car appeared on the horizon (a really nice, blue sedan of some sort). The person driving was an online friend (someone I've never met but have conversed with by phone and email frequently over the last six or seven years. Like me, he writes and I think he's been the first beta reader for every book I've written). He produced both my treasures, handing me the mirror first, and then the silver frame and, I think the jewelry, but I'm not sure. He assured me that the girls wouldn't be back--ever. At that point, I looked at the frame and in it was a picture of Gary and the boys. The friend waved off my thanks and drove away while I stood there staring at the picture. I woke up crying.

I won't bother to tell you what I learned from this dream, but I will tell you that it was powerful.

Mary Paddock said...

As for your dream, it seems to touch on a pretty common fear of not being "enough"--not being able to handle the important decisions or responsibilities that come with being a "real man". All the other guys were able to handle the umm--explosion--and you couldn't. I don't believe for a second that you're like this, by the way. Considering you're a surgical tech (nurse?) I'm sure you're far more capable of handling messes than most men.

Funny how often our subconscious goes unhesitatingly for the jugular tho!

Big Plain V said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Plain V said...

Thanks Mary -- Really good stuff. Isn't it funny how in our dreams we can have such strong feelings for something that doesn't even exist in real life?

As for being a surgical technologist, I can ANY amount of blood and guts and gore and broken, jagged bones. But I'm kind of well-known for having an aversion to poo.

It's why I'm not a nurse.

Weston Elliott said...

Okay, somewhere in there must be someone desperately looking for a restroom and only able to find a toilet, with no stall around it, sitting right in the middle of a crowded mall!! hasn't everyone had at least one of those, then woke up ready to explode?

There's always the falling, and the flying ones that are supposed to mean something when you dream them.

My personal favorite is a dream in which I move into a house then find a narrow hidden passage behind the regular staircase. It takes some getting into because it is oddly placed, but leads to an upstairs room. I've had that dream several times, and what is in the upstairs room always changes, but if I ever walk into that house, I'll know it in an instant! And I'm not sure if I'll look for the hidden staircase, or run the other way!

Keri Mikulski said...

Interesting dream.. :)

I've been dreaming a ton lately. I'll think of a good one and email you..

In the meantime, I always tend to have tornado dreams. :)

Madison said...

I once had a dream that I was being chased by a skeleton. Funniest thing you've ever seen! I also had a dream that one of my eyeballs fell out into my cinnamon roll and I tried to hide it from my dad by throwing the eye away in the trash (yeah, that was smart, I know). I also had a dream where I was training to take down this big evil dude (so you KNOW I used that for a story, but here's the part I didn't use) but part of my training was learning how to dance the musical CATS.

I've also had random floods without rain, being best friends with famous people I will never meet, seen Spock laugh out loud behind Captain Kirk's back, and even had Darth Vader land in my backyard and Luke leaves me to face him because said future Jedi is too scared. Where was Luke hiding, you ask? In the bathtube! (And yes, for those who are curious, he was clothed).

So, yeah, weird dreams, I got 'em. If you need any help or want to see if I can provide anything more, V, you can e-mail at hood.madison@gmail.com.

Pink Ink said...

I recently dreamt that my husband and I rescued a 4 year old girl. And then there was a court hearing where I could tell we were getting custody of her. But we left the hearing early, and I felt like a jerk when someone told me we "got" the girl.

And we didn't even stay on at the hearing.

(My husband had, for years, wanted to adopt kids after our youngest, but I was resistant to the idea. So I don't know where this came from.)

Kelly said...

Keri, I have tornado dreams too!
Other frequent dreams include that I'm in school and can't find my locker, or forget my combination for the locker. Then I'm late to class. Or I miss the bus going home.
I also dream that I bring the wrong color uniform to wear at my baskeball game.
I'll have to think back to some of my crazier dreams and message you.
Here's a music playlist for when you write:
These Dreams by Heart
Dream On by Aerosmith
Dream Weaver by Gary Wright
Dream Police by Cheap Trick
Sweet Dreams (are Made of THis) by Eurythmics or Marilyn Manson
Dreams by Fleetwood Mac
Dream Warriors by Dokken
:)

Tracey said...

I have some pretty wild dreams. Of course none come to mind right now.LOL I did dream once that I was having a chat with a young Elizabeth Taylor who was sitting on my bed and dressed in her Cleopatra costume. Shortly after my mother passed away I dreamed that I was at a party and she was there walking around offering the guests pretzels from a large bowl. We kind of had this secret look between us like we both knew she wasn't supposed to be there (because she is dead). The cool thing was everyone in the dream was in black and white, but my mother seemed to be superimposed on the scene and was coloured in various shades of purple (her lips were an especially vibrant royal purple).

Sarah J Clark said...

Once, I had a dream the most quiet, shy guy at work committed suicide in the restroom. That was bizarre.

I have a lot of dreams about water. Rivers, oceans. Swimming.

My afternoon nap today produced a dream in which I was really, really, really, really, really thirsty.

If I come up with a more detailed description of any of my dreams, I'll FB ya.

Good luck!

Lisa said...

Hi Ray,
My most memorable dream was about 7 years or so after the passing of my infant daughter. I had never dreamed of her before and I haven't since.

I was taken gently by the elbow by an unknown man and led to an elevator. The man didn't speak. The elevator doors closed and we were quickly thrust upwards in frightening speeds. When the doors opened, I was brought to a room that had a large indoor pool. Behind the pool was a wall of windows and the sun was pouring through.

My eyes quickly went to a young girl with long blonde hair and a long white old fashioned type nightgown. I recognized her immediately as being my daughter. She waved and smiled at me then dove into the water. She swam the length of the pool underwater and when she came to the edge she popped up and said,"Hi mom! Do you think you could get me a swim suit?" That seemed like a reasonable request so I agreed. She smiled and said thank you, went under water again and swam away. The man who escorted me to the pool room tugged at my elbow again and led me back to the elevator. The doors closed and I quickly started falling back down. And with most falling dreams, the dreamer wakes up quickly and so did I.

I often dream vividly. Some dreams make more sense than others. I hope this helps! Good luck with your research!

Lisa said...

Oh I should add that the pool was crowded with many, many other children.

After The Blackbird Sings said...

Last night I dreamed me and this chick were in a car with a baby, only she wouldn't let me strap in the car seat before she took off driving. There was a cop following us and I was trying to subtly get the car seat in place.

Once, I killed a gas station attentent because I didn't have the money for a bag of doritos. I later got raped by a creepy couple I hitched a ride with.

Sometimes I'm swimming in a river where people are fishing, and I'm trying to get the fish off their lines.

Once, I think my brother and I were burying bodies at the beach.

shortensweet said...

I have CRAZY dreams. I'd love to share some of them with you, but I'm going to charge you if you use them :)

If you're doing research and writing a book with dreams, I'm sure you've already done this, but tried to tie the symbolic meaning of the story line to dream.

For example, I had a dream 2 nights ago where there was going to be a tornado and I was looking for shelter. So I looked online and saw that if you dreamt of a tornado that meant your life was in turmoil (right on man) and if you were seeking shelter from it, then it would pass quickly.

So, just a thought.

Miss you guys.

HUBBYMAN said...

I HAVEN'T HAD THIS DREAM IN MANY YEARS -- BUT I HAD THE SAME DREAM SEVERAL TIMES OVER MANY YEARS' TIME: I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BACK SEAT OF A CAR WHICH IS FILLED TO CAPACITY WITH KIDS MY OWN AGE (LATE TEENS, I THINK). THEY ARE ALL LAUGHING AND NOT PAYING ANY ATTENTION. "I HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS." (IT WAS _YEARS_ BEFORE STAR WARS) I WAS WORRIED THAT WE WERE GOING TO GET IN AN ACCIDENT. THE DRIVER WENT DOWN THIS BIG HILL AND PARKED AT THE BOTTOM. I WAS TRYING TO URGE HIM TO MOVE THE CAR OFF THE ROADWAY AND AWAY FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE HILL. I HEARD AN ENGINE ROAR & LOOKED OUT THE BACK WINDOW IN TIME TO SEE A CAR COME FLYING OVER THE HILL AND ABOUT TO LAND ON US.

I DON'T EVER RECALL THE IMPACT. I MUST HAVE HAD THAT DREAM 3 OR 4 TIMES SPACED SEVERAL YEARS APART -- BUT HAVEN'T HAD IT IN A FEW DECADES. WHEW!!