I don’t dream. I can go for months or years, even, without being aware that I have dreamed. Once in a while I might be startled awake while dreaming, but after I have gone back to sleep I don’t remember the dream. I haven’t woken up in the morning remembering a dream for years, until this week.
Funnily enough, that experience coincided with an online meeting with my therapist that same morning. We were wrapping up our conversation when she mentioned dreaming. I can’t remember what she was talking about, and I am ashamed to say that I interrupted her. Her reference triggered a memory of my dream, and I explained that although I haven’t remembered a dream in years, I had a dream the previous night. So, of course, she asked about it.
After I had given her a summary, she asked me to write it out and then to draw the images I saw. Her suggestion is a tie-in to my reference to a former life experience in which I was able to draw and paint. I went to art college for a couple of years when I was about eighteen or nineteen, and this fact came up in the course of our discussion. Anyway, being a wise and lovely therapist, she asked me not only to write about my dream, but also to draw or paint about it. I have a lot of anxiety about the drawing/painting part because my skills were always limited and I haven’t done much drawing or painting since my youth. The writing part is easy for me. I can do that. But the creative visual artist in me has been neglected over the years. Maybe stunted. Maybe avoided. I’m not sure.
Today I decided that I should get on this task right away or else I would push it into the neverneverland of future potential projects. I started by writing out the memory of the dream:
I am sitting in a dark restaurant at a round black table with my back to the door. I might be with J (and M?), but I’m not sure. (It looks a lot like the interior of Tony’s Pizza Palace in Edmonton). I am looking at myself from behind J’s back. He is wearing a black coat.
I get a call from my dentist saying he can see me but I have to get to his clinic right away. So, I apologize to J and leave in a rush. It is night time outside. I start hurrying towards the dentist’s clinic but I am in New Orleans and don’t know my way around. The fact that my dentist is in Edmonton is not relevant in my dream.
I am a younger me. Probably about 50. I am dressed for an academic conference; blazer, skirt, pantyhose, etc.
After rushing around for a while, I realize I am lost. I am standing in one of the popular streets that is full of restaurants and bars and there are lots of people partying in the street. They all appear to be wearing black or are in shadow somehow, or maybe it is simply nighttime.
I need to call someone to let them know I am lost but I realize I left my purse at the restaurant and it has my phone inside. I can’t even get a cab, either, because I don’t have my wallet. I want to call K to come and get me, but I can’t because I don’t have my phone. The fact that he is in Canada seems irrelevant at the time.
I want to let the dentist know I will be late, but I can’t do that either because I don’t have my phone
I think about asking a police officer, but I don’t know what they can do to help since I can’t remember the name of the restaurant where I left my purse. I know it is one word, a name beginning with M, but that’s all. Then I am talking to two police officers and one of them (a woman?) keeps suggesting possible names but none of them is the right one.
So, I walk into a bar to see if anyone there can help me. There are large round pendant lights all around the bar. The bartender looks towards me as I walk up to the bar.
That is the dream. As I was writing this out it occurred to me that there are some real life experiences that are relevant so I made some notes:
Notes: I have a dental appointment tomorrow.
I went to an academic conference in New Orleans many years ago. I went with colleagues to a popular street near to the hotel. I went to the conference with J because my presentation was inspired by him.
I checked my file and the paper was called “Controlled Transgression in ‘I Kissed a Girl’” at a conference in April 2009.
This is my sketch of the first part of the dream. It is very tentative and preliminary, but it gives you some idea of the image.
I’ll try to draw more (and better!) images of the street in New Orleans and the bar with the lights, but for now this is what I have. If you have thoughts about what all this means, please pass them along. If you think dreams are meaningless, that’s OK too. I just thought I’d throw this out to give us all something to think about besides viruses and politicians.