On Dreams

Essay 46

Remember your lockdown dreams? We were said to produce great fables stuck inside dialled-down cities, after all the germ-killers were gone on the websites and we found the stores were ransacked; we counted the toilet paper, clapped for nurse-heroes at eight... Then the nights came without much comfort, you startled to bygone children in ruined homes, or flew or fought or were scared tucked deep into sleep, or fled or failed, and it felt real. I’d been proud to be a grownup who almost never dreams, and then in quarantine those film reels started to roll.

There was one exception in my adult life, back when I worked on writing: each time I would create fiction, and spend hours bent over some text, a trapdoor - that’s what I called it - would start flinging open. And I’d dream and dream every night then, there was a commotion in that hired mind, as if compared to my fake stories even dreams felt sure.

These days I no longer write fiction, I grabbed my life and began creating with it, real actions and real relations, a place, an income, a cause. And so apart from the darkest pandemic months I would never dream at all again, a commotion-free rest fed a blank hidden screen; what good are dreams if we can build what is fact, why disturb what’s reality’s reel?

But then something happened during this summer of opening and immunity and travel: now I wake to find to my slight shock that I’m dreaming tale after tale, the past and the present blend into sagas, of flying or rejection, or pleasure or strange surprise, there are faces again and words spoken, that have never been or at least not quite like that, a Greek choir we all lend rooms to, coming forth to rise from somewhere sure in me.

Is it the fiction-minting mind that is thus working overtime, or a new maker I never knew? Who is this creator whom no fact can appease, no matter the wins, no matter the ease, what is this hard head we own made of that can roam the very Globe at will, but that will always recurse and reball on its own sphere for some more discoveries?

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