I’m a dreamer, in many senses of the word. I think about doing stuff a lot more than I actually accomplish stuff. I also dream wildly at night, and, more often than not, I remember it. I’m not generally a lucid dreamer, though on occasion I’ve had dreams so realistic they’ve influenced my day. Once, in high school, I went to class ready to show off a new ring I’d gotten. Opened my mouth almost before I realized it had been a dream. I can still picture the ring in my head, gold with green enamel leaves circling my finger much like the Roman laurel wreaths seen on coins and statues and historically (in)accurate movies.
Last night, though, I had a dream that was so complicated, I can’t even make sense of it in my mind. I have neither a strong concept of the progression of the dream, the chronological order. Even if I did, that wouldn’t really help link such random events together.
My dreams have a number of repeating themes. I am often in college, or at least at a college. I don’t know that I would list college as the best time of my life, because there was definitely stress involved that was unpleasant. But I suppose I could look back upon it and say it was more idyllic and somewhat more productive than my life now. (I often say I would rather not be younger than I am. It would not be any easier the second time around, even knowing what I know now.)
So, at some point, I was in college. There was some sort of experiment going on down at the lake. I was watching, very near the water, on a sort of retaining wall like the ones on artificial canals. There was a boat in front of me on the water, and an enclosed bit of water behind me to my right. It must have been a slip. People were fishing there, but suddenly a huge fish caught my eye swimming very near the surface of the water. I watched it circle around in front of me as if it couldn’t swim away. It was a shark, one with a gigantic mouth (but not the rows of teeth like a great white). I realized it was on the line of the fisherpeople behind me. I stood and backed away from the edge of the water. They slowly reeled it in (well, likely much more quickly than a shark would actually be reeled in).
I went back up to one of the main campus buildings. It had a wall full of windows in the front, a huge entranceway with marble stairs, and the feel of a museum or a theater. I went up only a couple of stairs and through a door on the right. There was a hallway there that twisted quite a bit, but I knew where I was going. I saw a couple of other students waiting to go into class. I detoured to the bathroom.
Bathrooms, quite reasonably, are another theme recurring in my dreams. I could write a book just about strange bathrooms, both in real life and in my dreams. Maybe make a game out of it: is this one real, or just a figment of my imagination.
The bathroom was labyrinthine, with several rooms, changing alcoves, long lines of stalls, locker rooms, a bowling alley. Yep, went to the bowling alley. To marry a demon. And I was no longer me, I was Poppy Z. Brite. Wearing a gothy bustier and a dark tulle skirt and with a bloody human heart stuffed down the bodice for safekeeping.
And I just don’t quite know what to say about that.
Many elements of my dreams I can tie to things that happened the day before, or at least recently. Saw a Facebook post about one of my friends Wii bowling. Thus, bowling alley. It’s October and I’m definitely in a Halloween mood, thus the demon, outfit, heart (I hope). I check Poppy Z. Brite’s blog regularly, and I did before bed last night. I haven’t watched Beetlejuice in a while, either, but I suppose I still remember it.
But, really, brain, did I need to remember all of these things? Dreaming is linked to making new memories, but there are plenty of things I don’t mind forgetting. Is it really important to walk down a bowling lane, with a human heart in my hands as my bouquet, just so I’m not surprised when I reread the post about Wii bowling?
The only bonus, sometimes, is my brain generating useful images for my writing that my conscious brain would never fabricate. Without that dream last night, I would never have known the press of a heart muscle against the outside of my ribs, under a tight-laced bustier. And while not knowing that feeling is probably quite sane, creatively I find it very interesting.
And it brings up questions. Why might someone marry a demon? Why the human heart and where did it come from? Is it a sort of offering, a dowry? Who the hell would perform the ceremony? Could you claim married on your income taxes? Would you have to move to Hell? Into an infernal tower on the shores of Lake Cocytus? And this gives me ideas that I could write about.
I swear, I’m a completely normal person.